REVIEW Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14
by Emmy Laybourne
Feiwel & Friends
June 5, 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 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 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 wasn't sure about this one at first.  To be honest, it took me a couple of chapters to figure out if the narrator was a guy or a girl (Note: it's a guy. His name is Dean.  There, I just saved you a whole lot of concentration that you should be putting towards other parts of the book) but once I got past that part, Monument 14 was a really exciting read.

The book opens as Dean and his brother are running for their respective school buses.  In that moment, that's all that matters, making it to school on time.  They have no idea that the world around them is about to end, and that their lives are about to be changed forever.

Without warning giant hailstones begin falling from the sky.  Dean's bus is destroyed and most of its passengers are killed in the chaos, and before they know it, a group of survivors including Dean's brother Alex, his little neighbors, a kid that only speaks Spanish, the bully from Dean's school, the popular jock, and the girl Dean has been pining for forever end up taking shelter in the local superstore under the care of the bus-driver.  The bus-driver tells them two things: One, she's going to get help and will be back soon.  Two: the jock is in charge until she gets back.

Only she doesn't come back, and soon the group is locked inside the superstore.

And THEN all hell breaks loose.

This was an exciting, page-turning read.  I couldn't wait to see what happened next and I sped through this book like my life depended on it.

Sometimes I wanted to throttle the characters--because little kids can be ANNOYING and big kids aren't much better--but I loved the way the author has brought about the end of the world.  Choices have to be made.  Life has to be protected, and sometimes you can't even trust yourself.

Great read and a great new voice.  Can't wait for more!


P.S. Feel free to judge me for taking about a million years to figure out exactly why this book is called "Monument 14".  I was in the middle of telling my brother I didn't know why that was the title when I figured it out. If you've read it and haven't figured it out yet...*solidarity fistbump*


  1. This one sounds like one for me--I do so enjoy trapped kids/teens!

    1. Then you'll definitely want to check this one out.

      Thanks so much for your comment!

  2. Monument 14 is a little slow, first person view novel. But for whatever reason I found myself strangely captivated. I wanted to keep reading. I wanted to see what happened next. The pace was a steady constant. Every turn was a round of new problems and seemed to come from left and right. But at the same time Dean (the primary character) explains everything in pretty good detail which slows everything down a bit. It's a strange mix.

    The ending was a little anticlimactic. I suppose it really didn't need too much more. The climax of the story built at a nice and steady upward pace, but once that climax hit, the story just stopped. For those that didn't like the movie, The Road, you may end with the same feeling about Monument 14. I never read The Road so I can only compare to the movie.

  3. This one has really intrigued me and I definitely plan to pick it up eventually. Always great to see another positive review! Such an interesting concept.

  4. I have this, but haven't gotten to it yet. Your review makes me think I might wait because I get so frustrated when series books cut off without at least some satisfaction... Great review!

    grace (Alaska Bear Hunting)


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