Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the buss. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not–you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.

Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.

But the bus was barreling down out street, so I ran.

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

Post apocalyptic situation with a bunch of kids in a superstore trying to survive? I’m totally about this. I love reading these kinds of stories because it’s interesting to see the different kind of reactions that people give off to such a chaotic and traumatic time (even if it makes me so, so irritated).

This book… Did it for me. For the most part. I liked the variety of people in this from the high schoolers to the little elementary school children. They all had their own personalities and it didn’t seem like just faces in the crowd. You think, there’s only fourteen of them what can go wrong? Well, it’s very easy to do that with characters in a book, show, movie, etc etc. Even in plays it’s considered a bigger cast if there’s 14 characters. So I really enjoyed that the characters had their own faults but also their strengths.

The main character Dean is very interesting. In hindsight he really doesn’t have anything that makes him so special. His brother, Alex, is a tech wiz, Jake is a quarterback, Brayden a jock, Niko is a Boy Scout (which ends up being very convenient as he saves their lives more than once), and Josie is just very good with children. Dean? He writes. The format you read from is his journal that he writes about the events. He writes and he cooks. Badly. Even a little kid cooks incredibly better than he does. Now it sounds like I’m ragging on our protag, but he has something that works. Dean is a very good narrator. I didn’t realize how…average he was until I started writing this. Objectively, he’s not very talented for survival of the fittest, but he writes the story so well you kind of forget.

Of course Dean’s brother Alex and classmate Niko kind of become the ultimate team during this novel. With Alex’s technological knowledge and Niko’s “always be prepared” knowledge, they save the entire group a lot of grief. They know what to do, how to do it, and how to get it done. The only problem? Well, everyone else. Of course in such a high tension environment, not everyone is going to get chummy with each other. Even though survival should be the top priority for everyone, humans tend to get very, very selfish and self centered with survival. This shows primarily in a character that–to no end–irritated me. Sahalia.

Sahalia is what my boyfriend would describe as an” edgy edgy teen”. She’s thirteen, wants to be an adult, and is going to dress as provocatively as possible to show it. I’m not going into my personal stance on her clothing choices since that can get in a long winded discussion (tl;dr I’m up for wearing whatever you want, but there’s a difference between dressing in clothes that make you look confident and dressing in clothes because you feel that it’ll show people how mature you are).  Sahalia refuses to listen to reason, dresses like an “adult”, and very much has the “you’re not the boss of me attitude”. I’m not sure if this is obvious, but people like this (not just children) infuriate me. Needless to say, the writing did a good job of me wanting to step away from the book every once in a while. There’s something that happens near the end of the book that seems to me a plot device for us to feel some kind of sympathy towards her. I don’t really agree with this, because it’s kind of an unsavory cliche of using that particular thing as a plot device.

One of my biggest gripes is that the end of the book seems a bit rushed. A lot of the days seem really long since they’re stuck in a superstore and most of the things they need to do is survive, but a solution comes around and it’s so quickly decided whether or not to go for it. Not only that, but there’s some debating that seems to have resolved a lot quicker than others and then the door closes, quite literally.

Which left me with a “I don’t know how I feel about this book now” feeling.

Final Thoughts: A good fast read, but kind of a rushed “meh” ending. I still want to continue on the series to see how it pans out, though.

Rating: 3.5/5

Title: Monument 14
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Published: May 28, 2013 by Square Fish
Pages: 294
Goodreads (As I’m writing this Goodreads is down)
Buy it: Barnes and Noble | Thrift Books | Book Depository | Book Outlet


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