Tag Archives: Monument 14

Savage Drift (Monument 14 #3) – Emmy Laybourne

Savage Drift (Monument 14 #3) – Emmy LaybourneTitle: Savage Drift (Monument 14 #3) by Emmy Laybourne
Publishing Info: May 6, 2014 by Macmillan
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 12, 2014
Related Posts: Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1), Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2), Dress Your Marines in White (Monument 14 #0.5), Sweet

    It's over. Dean, Alex, and the other survivors of the Monument 14 have escaped the disaster zone and made it to the safety of a Canadian refugee camp. Some of the kids have been reunited with their families, and everyone is making tentative plans for the future. And then, Niko learns that his lost love, Josie, has survived!Or is it? For Josie, separated from the group and presumed dead, life has gone from bad to worse. Trapped in a terrible prison camp with other exposed O’s and traumatized by her experiences, she has given up all hope of rescue. Meanwhile, scared by the government’s unusual interest in her pregnancy, Astrid—along with her two protectors, Dean and Jake—joins Niko on his desperate quest to be reunited with Josie. In Monument 14: Savage Drift, the stunningly fierce conclusion to the Monument 14 trilogy, author Emmy Laybourne ups the stakes even higher for a group of kids who have continually survived the unthinkable. Can they do so one last time?

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I’m so excited to finish the MONUMENT 14 trilogy! The Fierce Reads event where Emmy Laybourne was promoting the very first book was my first book event/author appearance ever and MONUMENT 14: SKY ON FIRE was my book of choice on my way back from BEA last year, so the trilogy holds a bit of a special place in my heart!

One thing I’ve always loved in the series was how Emmy doesn’t shy away from writing the really action-packed, in-your-face scenes. She does tone down on the swearing (hey, we have to keep it PG-13 somehow, right?) but the action, the gore, the reality of what is happening in the book is never really glossed over. Things don’t get TOO violent, but the reader really gets to experiences things as the characters are – right there in the thick of it.

I really appreciated the dual POVs! We saw dual POVs between Dean and Alex in SKY ON FIRE but MONUMENT 14: SAVAGE DRIFT features Dean as the male lead still and Josie as the other view point. The last we knew of her, she had sacrificed herself to protect the lives of the other kids and presumed dead so it was really interesting to not only get a female POV but also one that’s taking place on the complete opposite side of the country and so distant from the main group of kids.

The one thing I think I was missing throughout the trilogy was maybe a bit more character development and relationship development. I really enjoyed reading about each of the characters but there were so many and there was so much going on that I really would have liked to see them interact a bit more so I could get to know a bit more about them. I was just lacking a little bit of connection to each one and I actually ended up connecting to Josie the most in this book, I think because her character was so far removed from everyone else that we knew that I really got to see how she handled herself on her own.

The ending was just what I always wanted it to be. Everything wrapped up so nicely and there were even little bonuses I didn’t see coming. It was a great apocalyptic and action-packed trilogy that I think many different ages could enjoy, male or female. I’m so glad I invested my time in this series and I feel a little twinge of satisfaction having finished it! I really enjoyed Emmy’s books and plan on picking up more of her works in the future!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

Monument 14: Savage Drift by Emmy Laybourne

HOW INTERESTING. Haha, sorry guys! Read it pretty much from cover to cover on a plane so I didn’t get to update this one!

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Dean // Character Obsessions: Survival, Astrid, reuniting the group, the farm. 
I liked Dean but I still don’t feel like I KNOW him. He was still fairly quiet in the final book although he really starts coming into his own and making his voice heard. I think he was just kind of a middle person for me… Not really a leader but not really a follower. He sort of blended in. By the end of the trilogy, I just really wanted him to stand out more to me.
Josie // Character Obsessions: Control, survival, Niko, trust.
I loved her POV in this book! She actually did stand out to me which was great. She is one tough cookie! I can’t imagine ever being in that situation and she really held her own, even fighting many times for what she wanted and what she needed. I also loved that she had a great mix of strong and then more tender moments. Definitely a nice, well-rounded character in this book.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Disaster scenarios. I’m not always into the disaster situation scene but I really loved how this one wasn’t a natural disaster! I caused some, sure, but this was something that went way deeper than that. The greed of man.
Left Me Wanting More: Character connection. They were some really great characters but I was juuust missing that personal connection to them and really getting to know their histories.

Addiction Rating
Read it

I think this trilogy is a bit underrated. Although I wish I had gotten to know the characters a bit more, I really enjoyed it overall and I think it was solid as far as momentum, plot, and action go!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE SAVAGE DRIFT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

       The Rule of Three   Unremembered

Novella Mini-Review: Dress Your Marines in White (Monument 14 #0.5) – Emmy Laybourne

Novella Mini-Review: Dress Your Marines in White (Monument 14 #0.5) – Emmy LaybourneTitle: Dress Your Marines in White (Monument 14 #0.5) by Emmy Laybourne
Publishing Info: May 22, 2012 by Macmillan
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: May 7, 2014
Related Posts: Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1), Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2), Savage Drift (Monument 14 #3), Sweet

It was just a test report. Like one of many, many he’d written up in the past. Except this time, several of the test subjects are dead…”At first, Dr. James Cutlass had thought his new job at NORAD was thrilling and full of opportunities, but that was before the demonstration… “Dress Your Marines in White” is the story of the terrifying choices surrounding a chemical weapons demonstration gone horribly wrong.

WHAT I LIKED

  • I loved seeing how this not only tied into the series time-wise but how it also connection to a specific character. Did I know that Brayden’s father was involved in the testing of these chemicals? Was this something I forgot or a neat surprise to tie in this novella even more? Either way, very cool!
  • The prequel aspect was awesome. I love seeing how things happened before they happened. I didn’t really know a lot about how these chemicals were invented and really they were even in existence.
  • The characters. Oooh, some of them just gave me chills. I really liked the mix of people involved and even just in a short story they really felt real!

These Tor shorts are usually that — short — but I always feel like I get a lot out of them! I love the way this added one more layer to this series and got the parents’ side of everything involved too. If you’re a fan of the Monument 14 series, you should definitely read this quick novella!

Monument 14: Savage Drift Blog Tour: Emmy Reviews the Fierce Reads Titles!

Monutment14 BlogTourBanner[1]

Welcome to the blog tour for
MONUMENT 14: SAVAGE DRIFT by EMMY LAYBOURNE

I’m so excited to be on the blog tour for Emmy Laybourne’s final book in the Monument 14 trilogy, Savage Drift! I’ve been a pretty big fan of the series ever since I first saw Emmy on the Fierce Reads tour back in 2012 (my first author event ever!) so the series definitely holds a special place in my heart. I owe a really big thanks to Macmillan and team Fierce Reads for having me be a part of the tour!

Now if you’re not familiar with the books, here’s a bit more about them! I had so much fun with them so if you’re not as familiar with the series yet, hopefully you will be after this!

Title: Monument 14
Author:
Emmy Laybourne
Publication Info: 
June 5th 2012 by Feiwel & Friends
Links: Amazon // B&N // Goodreads 
My Review: Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1) – Emmy Laybourne 

   “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.
” — From Goodreads

Title: Monument 14: Sky On Fire
Author:
Emmy Laybourne
Publication Info: 
May 28th 2013 by Feiwel & Friends
Links: Amazon // B&N // Goodreads
My Review: Monument 14: Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2) – Emmy Laybourne

  “Trapped in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, including a monster hailstorm and terrifying chemical weapons spill, brothers Dean and Alex learned how to survive and worked together with twelve other kids to build a refuge from the chaos. But then strangers appeared, destroying their fragile peace, and bringing both fresh disaster and a glimmer of hope.
Knowing that the chemical weapons saturating the air outside will turn him into a bloodthirsty rage monster, Dean decides to stay in the safety of the store with Astrid and some of the younger kids. But their sanctuary has already been breached once. . . .
Meanwhile, Alex, determined to find their parents, heads out into the darkness and devastation with Niko and some others in a recently repaired school bus. If they can get to Denver International Airport, they might be evacuated to safety. But the outside world is even worse than they expected. . . .
” — From Goodreads

Without further ado, let’s get into the SUPER fun part of the blog tour! Emmy Laybourne herself has complied a vlog for the tour and she’s reviewing some of the Fierce Reads titles! Check out what she has to say below!

Emmy Discusses the new Fierce Reads titles

A big, big, BIG thanks to Emmy for that awesome video and for being on my blog today and another big thank you to Macmillan for having me on the blog tour!

Want to learn more about MONUMENT 14 and author EMMY LAYBOURNE?
Connect with Emmy below!

Emmy’s Website // Twitter // Facebook

GIVEAWAY!

Because Macmillan and the Fierce Reads team is so awesome, I am able to host this giveaway for the ENTIRE Monument 14 trilogy! I really, REALLY enjoy Emmy’s books and I feel like this series is entirely too underrated so I’m so excited to give all three books away to one lucky winner so they can start the series as well! The giveaway will be open for one week and one lucky US/Canada resident will be able to win all three books! Good luck and enter via Rafflecopter below!!! (And don’t forget to thank Macmillan + Fierce Reads for this awesome giveaway! They’re seriously amazing.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2) – Emmy Laybourne

Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2) – Emmy LaybourneTitle: Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2) by Emmy Laybourne
Publishing Info: May 28, 2013 by Macmillan
Genres: Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 2, 2014
Related Posts: Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1), Dress Your Marines in White (Monument 14 #0.5), Savage Drift (Monument 14 #3), Sweet

    Trapped in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, including a monster hailstorm and terrifying chemical weapons spill, brothers Dean and Alex learned how to survive and worked together with twelve other kids to build a refuge from the chaos. But then strangers appeared, destroying their fragile peace, and bringing both fresh disaster and a glimmer of hope. Knowing that the chemical weapons saturating the air outside will turn him into a bloodthirsty rage monster, Dean decides to stay in the safety of the store with Astrid and some of the younger kids. But their sanctuary has already been breached once... Meanwhile, Alex, determined to find their parents, heads out into the darkness and devastation with Niko and some others in a recently repaired school bus. If they can get to Denver International Airport, they might be evacuated to safety. But the outside world is even worse than they expected... Monument 14: Sky on Fire is the second installment Emmy Laybourne's thrilling series.

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I’ve been anxious to read SKY ON FIRE pretty much since I finished MONUMENT 14. I enjoyed MONUMENT 14 so much, but I won’t hesitate to say that I wasn’t 100% happy with the way it had ended. At first, I actually thought M14 was a stand alone so I was surprised to find out it was a series and the ending was not resolved BUT I was happy that when I started SKY ON FIRE, it totally kicked off in the right direction.

Firstly, we get two different point of views: One from our original main character Dean, who is still back at the store and then we get a second POV from his brother Alex who is out in world which is currently in chaos around him. Thinking on it, I don’t know who the second POV would be BUT Alex, but I’m glad both narrators were kept as male voices instead of alternating between male and female. I’m honestly starting to believe that switching back and forth between male & female voices within the same book is not one of my favorite things, but this was the first time I’d really seen two male voices in YA since I don’t read as many… “boy” books or even YA books with any male as the protagonist. It’s just so often female that the whole MONUMENT 14 series is kind of refreshing in that way. This may be me putting this stereotypically, but I liked that it was sort of a step back from the extreme emotional side of what I usually pick up on with female narrators and instead was more action-based and to-the-point versus lyrical or beautiful prose. These guys are not trying to impress anyone, but their point is made all the same!

So SKY ON FIRE is only 212 pages. It’s a quick read, but it’s jam-packed with action so I was constantly engrossed in one occurrence or another. That’s not to say that there are zero emotional moments. We see kids trying to get back to their families, touching moments when they help out one another, and of course the fear and sadness that goes along with the disasters and consequently panicking of others around them. Things get intense many, many times over. I actually really liked that the book was short and to the point, just like these two brothers are. I think the action was well done in just over 200 pages and things weren’t drawn out just to get a higher word count. It’s refreshing to read a shorter book every once in a while and SKY ON FIRE fits perfectly just the way it is.

** This is where the spoilers come in if you haven’t read book one yet! If you want to avoid spoilers for book one, skip on down to the Character section! **

So let’s talk about plot. This is where I dock some points. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not docking any major points here, but I’ve never really been a fan of the way the Dean/Astrid romance develops. I just think the fact that Astrid is pregnant is just kind of unnecessary considering everyone may die from toxins or people who have turned psycho from toxins. I also wasn’t a fan of it because I feel like these books can easily extend down to a lower age to include some middle grade readers, but the relationship and occasional sexual content (although mostly mild) in the books just doesn’t seem to fit. To me, it chops the story up into a totally different frame of mind and it just doesn’t seem to go with the overall plot and feel of the story. I would have MUCH preferred if it was Dean just getting to know the “girl of his dreams” a little better because of the disaster and then they end up together. The development of their “relationship” in the first two books just seemed like it happened really quickly for them as a couple and it just never felt on pace with the rest of the book. Maybe it’s because this series includes a number of younger kids as well? I think those “little kids” are bringing the age feel down for me so that content in the book just didn’t seem like it belonged.
On the flip side, I think Alex’s story was totally the way to go. Okay, so Alex is only thirteen whereas Dean is… I want to say seventeen? So Alex having a major romance in the books doesn’t quite fit. That’s why I liked that his scenes with girls in the story is just a hint of flirting here, a kind gesture there, and nothing diving into kissing and sex and love when there is just SO many other things going on in their lives right now. Meh. Just my opinion!
I DO like all of the action as far as survival scenes, fight scenes, and general destruction of Colorado. (Sorry, CO. I actually really do like you as a state!) It’s more of just the romantic aspect that kind of bothered me…

I really enjoyed SKY ON FIRE and was actually happy that this was a short book — Not because I wasn’t enjoying it (I totally did) but because everything was nice and concise. I still had a few hang ups, but nothing that took away from the book overall TOO majorly. I did feel like SKY ON FIRE was just a bit more intense with both the romance and the violence. It’s definitely turned up a notch! Another good book in the series and I’m anxious to see where we go from here!

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Dean: Hmmmm. What do I feel about Dean. I actually didn’t feel like he had a ton of depth. Whether that was a male character thing or just a character development thing, I’m not sure. He’s not supposed to be some deep, emotional guy but at the same time, I wanted to connect with him just a bit more. Despite the fact that half of this book is directly happening to him, I still felt like he was a bit removed from the story somehow.
Alex: I feel like Alex actually comes off as a lot more sensitive. Is the the age? Is is because he is more sensitive? Is it because his chapters are in the form of letters back to Dean? I’m really not sure. I just felt a distinct difference between the two brothers, but I’m not sure if that came off how it was intended.
Sahalia: Confession. I almost entirely forgot everything about Sahalia’s character after the first book and then struggled for just a little bit to remember who she was in SKY ON FIRE. That memory came back pretty quickly, but that also made me think… She was actually one of the characters who really stood out for me in this book. I feel like she went through a lot (obviously), did a lot of growing up, and was one character who really started to make some changes and grow up. She kind of became one of my favorites!

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Read it!

I think I liked book one more, but I really enjoyed that SKY ON FIRE was actually short and to the point. I zipped through and also really enjoyed the split POVs!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE SKY ON FIRE

     The Scorch Trials      Struck

Discussion: From Appropriate to Taboo: Where to draw the line in YA

In the spirit of Banned Books Week (and the fact that my Top Ten Tuesday was horribly boring this week), I decided to stir the pot a bit with a discussion post. Here I want to ask the age old question: How far is too far when it comes to young adult novels?

You know what I’m talking about – the sex, the drugs, the drinking, the swearing. They all play a major part in our lives, obviously for some more than others, and despite the controversy, also in the lives of teenagers. I often wonder if I were to write a book, how would I feel on including these controversial subjects? Would I sensor myself in order to reach a wider audience and younger teens? Would I have a tell-it-like-it-is attitude and keep my novel gritty and heavy? Obviously this is going to vary from author to author and the reception of this will vary from reader to reader. Technically, there is no right or wrong answer on exactly what is appropriate for young adult readers and what is not, and I’m more so talking about the inclusion of these elements in general, not quite the severity of them (I think the majority of us can agree that graphic sex scenes, rampant cursing, and very heavy drug use is generally inappropriate for teen novels. This is meant as an interesting and fun discussion so please understand what I mean when I’m talking about what’s “appropriate” to include in YA).

Swearing: 
I don’t know about you guys, but I swore like a sailor as a teen (I guess I still do. Oops). A lot of times there are ways to avoid using curse words to make a book a little less harsh in language and a little more friendly to the younger teens (I’m not a parent, but I would venture to guess the parents would be happier about this too). The best example I have right now for this Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I’m in the middle of the audiobook (gotta love Wil Wheaton’s narration…) and I’m actually quite surprised at not only the frequency but the selection of curse words throughout the book. Now it doesn’t bother me in the least – if anything, it enhances the story for me a bit because it makes it seem more real. With plenty of surprising moments, bouts of frustration and anger, etc, swearing not only seems appropriate but naturally how I would react in these situations too. I can easily see where people would say it’s too much an unnecessary. For my tastes, it really works with the story. Another thing to think about here is that the main character Wade is also eighteen. It’s not like this is a book where the main characters are on the younger side of adolescence. If they were thirteen, fourteen, fifteen year-olds, I’d actually say the cursing would be a bit excessive for what I’d like to read from that age group. Obviously this is all my personal opinion, but for me, it fits. The more I think about it, the more I’m starting to see that it really depends on the age range of the characters and the age range of the target audience that seems to be swaying me in either direction. Another example that comes to mind is Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne. Emmy has quite a different approach to swearing in her book: if ever it’s a “harsher” curse word, she actually censored the characters herself. Sometimes it was just “Screw you” or “you’re such a jerk” instead of the more crass language. A lot of the time, that actually took away from the story for me because it felt so unnatural. If I was that angered to the point of insulting someone and yelling, let’s face it. I’m not gonna use the word “jerk”. When the actual swear words were used, it was the bare bones of the swear and letting us fill in the rest of the letters to figure it out. From this method, I would guess that the target audience for Monument 14 may be a younger one and this would be a way to stretch the audience down to younger teens, even pre-teens considering we have characters that range from around 5 years old to 18; but then comes my issue with that balance. Throughout the book, we also have teen drinking (and a lot of it by the “cool” kids), nudity, sex, and violence (although the violence isn’t severe). So then I was left with the question, how subjective are one of these “taboos” to another? Personally I thought it was pointless to censor the swearing if we’re also reading about underage drinking, sex, and teenage fantasies. I thought those ranked a bit more severe on the taboo scale, but of course, that’s just another opinion. Which leads us to….

Sex:
Sex in high school was kind of a non-issue for me. I didn’t really have any relationships that lasted in high school so I was never really in that situation and I never had to think about it. I guess if I had to say how I felt about it back then, it was towards the negative side because I heard the negative stories: the wild parties, the teenage pregnancies, etc. So when I read YA books where the characters are sexually active or losing their virginity, I’m never quite sure what to make of it. Okay, here’s my confession: I was raised fairly conservatively and despite the mass amounts of movies and TV shows where sex is no big thing and everyone’s doing it in high school, it wasn’t like that for me. I grow a bit hesitant at the amount of young adult books I read with the same kind of situations. Is sex included because that’s the ultimate step to take as a teenager? That’s how you know the characters have finally committed to each other and fallen in love? I can see some books including it, but I’m afraid at just how many there are out there that all included a sex scene with their characters at 16, 17, or 18 years old. I don’t want to bring up books that may result in spoilers so I’ll try to use more familiar ones, like the Twilight series. I was crazy surprised that part of the main theme in Eclipse/Breaking Dawn is sex. Let’s be real: That’s the main reason Bella even marries Edward, right? Let’s get married so we can have sex? It didn’t seem like she really wanted to marry him otherwise (especially the way they portrayed it in the movie! I haven’t read the books in a while so that part is a little fuzzy). Am I right in saying that at least a little bit? And then Breaking Dawn happens and okay, so they’re married at this point, but the big moment finally happens and Bam! Immediate pregnancy. I guess that does really set up the plot for the rest of the book, but still. You just barely graduated high school, throwing away the college experience, begging to be a vampire just so you’re A) not older than your boyfriend by one year and B) so you can get it on. I don’t know. The more I think about it, the sillier it sounds. And don’t get me wrong – the Twilight series is still one of my favorites, but when I really stop to think about it, you can’t deny that sex shaped the entire second half of this series. Another series I loved but was still left with my jaw-dropped: The Chemical Garden by Lauren DeStefano. When I finished Wither, I was so excited to finish and really, really enjoyed the book, but at the same time, I was slightly appalled in a way. Whatever crazy mutation that this was that killed boys at 25 and girls at 20 (okay, what virus is really that specific and could really do that? – I overlooked it…) created a crazy teenage pregnancy break out. In order to keep the human race alive, there has to be teen pregnancy. Some of these girls are picked as young as they can so they can produce the most amount of babies for their teenage husbands, and poor little Cecily who is either 13 or 14 in Wither (I think maybe she turns 14 in the book?) is the first to get pregnant. And she’s excited for it. Wait, what? I mean, when I stop and think about it, I’m not sure how I ended up liking this book so much because how is that okay in any way? But again, this theme is something that shaped the entire plot of the whole series.
There are plenty of others of my favorites where the guy and the girl finally get together and then have sex. And sometimes, as much as I’ve loved the book, I just roll my eyes. Is sex always necessary to prove that this relationship is valid? For me, sometimes it’s the absence of sex that makes the book even better. I love the slow burn relationships and the sexual tension that pulls you along the whole story – and the characters don’t even have to hook up to make for a great ending – and sometimes I think that’s even better writing than having them jump in the sack together. Perfect example: I just finished Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and it instantly became one of my favorite books and one of my favorite literary relationships. No sexy times involved there (in the euphemistic sense…. because there were PLENTY of sexy moments between Anna and Etienne) and honestly, I think it was so great and perfect without the two of them hooking up.

Alcohol/Drugs: 
Another thing we can’t deny is part of the lives of teenagers is the presence of drugs and alcohol, although I’d say more often alcohol. I still frowned upon drugs pretty hard when I was in high school (again with the conservative upbringing), but I’d say by junior and senior year, the vast majority of kids were breaking into their parents liquor cabinets and having their older siblings buy them some booze. I’d say alcohol and some forms of drug use (I guess most commonly marijuana) are bound to slip their way into young adult fiction because they really are that present in so many people’s social circles. For me, I’d say their presence in YA books aren’t quite as controversial to me when it’s the “upperclassmen” (junior and senior aged high school kids) drinking and smoking pot. I think it’s fair to say that drug use more than marijuana isn’t commonly seen in YA lit (at least I can’t think of drug use like that in books that I’ve read – let me know if you have) due to the fact that once drugs like that are introduced into the story, I think the story immediately takes on a much more serious and controversial tone that aren’t necessarily relevant to the plot at hand. Alcohol, however, plays a much stronger role. It’s what makes the classic party scene and seems much less taboo to include. I was actually quite surprised to see such a strong presence of drugs and alcohol in one of my favorite books, Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins. The story goes that Anna is a nephilim of one of the Dukes (that is to say, a higher demon) and along with others that represent the Seven Deadly Sins, Anna’s father is the Duke of substance abuse. His job as a demon is to lure people into alcohol and drug abuse and Anna as the super-innocent Southern girl has never touched the stuff. So long story short, we see Anna get familiar with these substances, learn how to control them, and has the classic battle between good and evil and whether to lead these people astray or keep them clean. I actually found the plot line extremely interesting, but really, once we were talking about serious drugs and those drugs showed up on the scene (although not actively used by the characters), it still brought up a serious turn in the tone of the book for me. It was instantly transformed into something that was just a little bit darker and a little bit more for “maturer” audiences (for lack of a better word). In Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry, the pot usage by Noah and his tight group of friends didn’t really seem that off-putting. It’s a lot more common to see that show up, even among teenage crowds. Not to say I’m always in favor of its presence in YA novels, but I think it’s much more acceptable – in a way – than any other drugs. Then as far as alcohol goes, I think that’s a very real part of teenage life, like it or not. Where I think it really starts to get taboo is the age of the alcohol drinker. Like I had mentioned earlier, the norm for the kids that I knew at that age  was drinking at 17 and 18 years old. I think if the drinkers in the story are younger than 17 (for me at least) it starts to cross a line a little more and begins to raise red flags   the younger the drinkers get. I think I start to feel uncomfortable when the main characters are under 17 and drinking. I’m sure it has a lot to do with my personal experience so I’m interested to see what other people have to say about that!

This turned into quite the long winded post so I’ll start to wrap it up. All of these situations are clearly my personal opinions – and really, that’s what makes all of these situations so touchy. Everyone has their own personal experiences that shape their reading experiences as well. What’s taboo for one person is on the fence for another and is crossing the line for the next. It’s really all on the perception of the reader. I’m sure my opinion (as a 20-something) on these topics can vary extremely from someone who is a parent and has children who are reading the same books, as well as varying quite a bit from the actual teen. Mostly I’m really interested to hear what you guys think! I know a lot of us are adults reading YA novels because they’re fun, there are so many great ones being published, and they’re so enjoyable. So here are my questions for you:

How do you feel about these topics?
How controversial do you find them?
If you’re a parent, how do these themes affect how you feel towards the books?
Would you tell your kids not to read any books because of these themes?
Do any one of these elements turn you off from a book just because of their 
presence? 

Let me know anything I missed, any opinions you want to throw at me, and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!!

Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1) – Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1) – Emmy LaybourneTitle: Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1) by Emmy Laybourne
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.

bookreview1

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.

addiction_factor1READ IT!

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!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE MONUMENT 14

Tomorrow, When the War Began    Tomorrow, When the War Began

Top Ten Tuesday – June 19, 2012: Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR list

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR list.

Let me tell you, my TBR list is HUGE. But since we’re all pretty much obsessed with books here as bloggers, I’m sure the same goes for almost everyone! I’m really excited about this list though because I get to narrow it down and almost kind of make a goal list for myself. I’m sticking to ONLY books that I have in my possession right now. If I made up a list of books I want to read but don’t have yet, it would literally be hundreds of books! So here we go:

1. Struck by Jennifer Bosworth: I guess this one is cheating since I’m already two thirds done, but to be fair, it was already summer when I started it so I’m still counting it! She was one of the ladies I was fortunate enough to meet on the Fierce Reads tour and it made me all the more excited to read her book. Always extremely interested to hear what the author has to say about the book as well as the creative process behind the writing!

2. Midnight In Death (In Death #7.5) by JD Robb: The “In Death” series quickly became one of my favorites. This is an “in between the books” short story, but I’m determined to read them all in order! Should be a very quick read since it’s not a full novel, but I bet it’ll still be jam packed full of action.

3. Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne: Emmy was another one of the awesome ladies on the Fierce Reads tour and she was so much fun to hear from! I had seen some reviews around before I actually picked up her book and when I read about the Fierce Reads tour and I had an opportunity to meet her, I couldn’t pass it up! Very excited to read it.

4. Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner: When I read the Maze Trials last year (last year? I think… Regardless…) I wasn’t too sure about it when I started. Then there came a certain point where I was racing through to see how this book ended! Somehow I got hooked. I’ve been anticipating picking up the sequel to continue on in this story, but so far haven’t actually made it along to starting it, so hoping to do that this summer!

5. Shades of Grey (Shades of Grey #1) by Jasper Fforde: NO, this is not Fifty Shades of Grey (I refuse to read it). This Shades of Grey is a fantasy/dystopia/post-apocalyptic novel where the ability to see different spectrums of color determines your social standing. I came across this in my suggestions from GoodReads and thought it sounded really interesting! I just got the book from Book Mooch the other day and I’m pretty excited about reading it.

6. Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews: First off, summer is the in the title. So it only makes sense. It’s about three best friends who all went to Catholic grade school together and now find themselves at a crossroads in their 30s. Since I happen to have spent 10 years in Catholic grade school and I happen to have two best friends who I still talk to from that school, this book seemed like it was screaming at me to read it!

7. Glitch by Heather Anastasiu:  I have also seen reviews for this one around the blogisphere and when I saw I could request a copy for review on NetGalley, I was excited that they approved my request! Hoping to read this one within the next month or two, depending on how my book schedule goes.

8. Beauty to Die For by Kim Alexis: Another request from NetGalley – Should be a cute little cozy mystery written by former Supermodel Kim Alexis, and it looks like she uses a lot of her knowledge of the modeling world to create her characters. I always get nervous when celebrities write books, but so far so good. I just started a couple pages and haven’t had time to get much further yet.

9. Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot: This is coming out in July!!! This is book #4 in the Heather Wells series which has always been one of my favorite, so this is probably one of the rare times I’ll actually buy the book brand new.

10. A Killing in Antiques by Mary Moody: Another nice little cozy mystery that I think I’ll pick up soon. I got a whole bunch of cozies at the same time and I’m selecting this one as the next one to read.