Publishing Info: June 5, 2012 by Macmillan
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 23, 2014
Related Posts: Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2), Dress Your Marines in White (Monument 14 #0.5), Savage Drift (Monument 14 #3), Sweet
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.
What an exciting book! MONUMENT 14 was jam packed full of adventure as these 14 brave kids battle one obstacle right after the other. I thought I was going to be overwhelmed with the fact that there were fourteen main characters, but I think I sorted them out pretty well. Once you really go to know the characters and their individual personalities, it was pretty easy to keep them all straight. I think the only problem I had was with the little kids every once in a while, but in way, I kind of feel like that’s how the older kids would see them. I know personally when I’m thrown together with a lot of people anywhere (in the real world as well as a book), it takes me some time to sort people out until I really get to know them, so I actually feel like that was right on par. As the book progresses, you really start to see each personality shine and even through flaws and annoying habits, I really started to like each character individually.
Despite the fact that most YA novels that are increasingly popular are from the girl’s perspective, I thought it was really well written by Emmy Laybourne to tell his from Dean’s point of view. I know she mentioned on the Fierce Reads tour in our Q&A session that she really wanted the social status and pecking order in the boys’ group to really be a prominent part of the book, and I definitely saw that. I really does play a big part as to how the guys interact with each other and you can really see who the noble ones are and even though they seem to be getting pegged lower, how much more mature they are than the “popular” boys.
I actually think my favorite character was Niko (he’s the natural leader and Boy Scout). Even though Dean’s the narrator and we really get to delve into his personality and inner monologue, I liked Niko’s quiet side and how little by little we get to know more about him. Finally the popular kids come around from making fun of him for being a Boy Scout (and hey, I’ve know some Eagle Scouts and they are not dorky at all!), but then turns out his skills and knowledge are way more useful than anybody really anticipated.
I don’t think I was really too into the romance of Dean and Astrid, but in all fairness, they really were kept apart most of the story. Even when they were together, there were still other popular guys that Dean had to sort of fight off (or avoid conflict from) before he’d even be able to talk to Astrid (who is also a year his senior, so double intimidating). I do like how it developed though and it looks like we’ll get to know more about them in future books!
There was one thing that kind of threw me off the whole book which I know is a sensitive subject in the YA world: swearing. Since these books are for young adults, where do you draw the line at swearing? Many of the swears were shortened or self-sensored, which as an adult reading it, I would have preferred they just been used. Even teens swear (I actually swore a lot in high school… Oops) so I guess it’s a finding a good balance of how much to really put in there since all ages of young adults will be reading the book. For some reason it was a bit distracting for me because even at that age, talking to another teen, I’d definitely just come out and swear. Also, there were a few sexual references/sexual activity as well as drug use and drinking which hey, that happens too, but I figured if you could refer to that, why hold back on curse words? Just my opinion, and like I said, always a sensitive topic, so it really is up to the author and how they feel about the subjects and who they want to gear the book to.
It was really fun to see Emmy on the Fierce Reads tour and hear more about the book straight from her as well! I liked the idea of how she came up with the concept and she was really fun to listen to. Definitely glad I picked up her book! It was a thrill to read and I can’t wait to read more.
I had so much fun reading this! I really enjoyed the character development and we all know I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories. I can’t wait to read what happens next!