TITLE: Monument 14
AUTHOR: Emmy Laybourne
PUBLICATION DATE: June 5th 2012
Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. 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 hurdle 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 our street, so I ran.
Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.
In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.
I hate starting my review with "I had a problem with this book". But I can't help it, so I will say it: I had a problem with this book. Part of me loved it and part of me hated it.
I've read an uncorrected proof, so I shouldn't judge the writing. Well, I will do it anyway, because there were typos, grammar errors, missing/additional words and even tense changes. Normally I wouldn't have even noticed it, but tense changes tickle me the wrong way so much. I hope all the errors and mistakes will be edited out in the final version, because the book loses its appeal because of that!
Now onto the story. Because of the writing (errors aside) I had a hard time getting used to narration for a while. I think it took me about... half of the book? To finally feel our main hero. The POV is in the first person - the boy named Dean - but he's such an outsider it feels as if it was 3rd person. I don't think the book would lose much if it was like that.
That being said, I loved the characters. They were a bit stereotypical, at least the big kids: book nerd, outsider, tech genius, jock, bad boy, beautiful girl, slutty girl. But they were doing things that prevented from pigeonholing them into one category or another, thanks to the addition of small kids - six primary school kids, who they had to take care of. On top of that, the dialogues were great, especially these with the small ones. And I must admit I went a little soft every time little Max and his cowlick hair was mentioned. ;)
The action was... kind of non-existent. There was an apocalypse going on outside the mart, but the kids were locked safely inside, so we didn't get to see much of it. I didn't mind it that much, though. We got to see the relations between the characters, and observe how they managed to build a small community within their group. I must admit it was quite fascinating to watch.
What I didn't like... some plot devices were random, as well as the characters' choices. I didn't really understand some of the choices the author made for this book. From the reviews I've seen so far I gathered the book is pretty bloody, a lot of characters die, etc. I was surprised to discover it was not the case; instead of that we got cursing (while the "f" word was censored, others weren't!), violence, drugs and teen pregnancy (!!!). The last one got me completely lost, because it was so random!
The premise was all kinds of awesome. I just don't think the book lived up to it.