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Monument 14 (Monument 14 Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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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 School Library Journal
Praise for Monument 14:
“A combination survival and apocalyptic story.” ―VOYA
“A real thriller.” ―Booklist
“Laybourne's debut ably turns what could have been yet another postapocalyptic YA novel into a tense, claustrophobic, and fast-paced thriller.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Intriguing beyond the survival elements.” ―Horn Book
“Readers will eagerly await the second volume. ” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Concise, clear, and riveting. A cliff-hanger ending leaves readers devastated but breathlessly awaiting the sequel. A stellar addition to any collection.” ―School Library Journal
"Laybourne's strong characterizations of the resourceful, optimistic children who make up this improvised family intensify the horror of the situation and make the almost cartoonish series of catastrophes frighteningly real." ―The New York Times Book Review--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B00779RMJY
- Publisher : Feiwel & Friends; 1st edition (June 5, 2012)
- Publication date : June 5, 2012
- Language : English
- File size : 2252 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 304 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #320,530 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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After the major conflict in the story happens (the hail storm), the main character and a group of children are trapped in what I pictured to be like a Wal-Mart. Up to that point, and I had no trouble with the plot or even the lack of character development. In those short chapters, there are so many characters shot at the reader that I stopped at chapter 13 and still don’t know who everyone truly is. There is a serious lack of developing a solid and interesting narrator, and there is a lack of character tags. Perhaps, not spitting out so many different characters out at once would have eased that issue some.
The story also seems to be more plot driven than character driven. The story seemed to have relied on that huge opening scene with the hail storm, but the story dropped down from there. After that opening conflict, what usually keeps me interested or keeps me reading is the narration, however, this narrator didn’t keep me hooked. The narrator himself is poorly developed and it seems like, for the sake of letting the reader know what is going on, the writer interrupts the narration to give these sort of “by the way this is what is happening” moments.
However, I managed to pull through the narration to get further into the story for the sake of seeing how the writer drew out the rest of the story. Unfortunately, I was taken further and further out of the story the more I read. Now, I get that this is not a true story and has a science fiction taste to it. However, some things in this story seemed unrealistic or unbelievable (and I am not referring to the actual devastating event that took place).
What I mean is that some of the dialog seemed forced and the writer seemed to want to so desperately have a pun that it just ruined her dialog. One example of this is the man outside the Greenway wanting to get in. We are told that further along that this man outside seemed to have been exhibiting the same type of “rage” that the main character went through. What makes this part unrealistic and somewhat contradictory in the story, in my opinion, is that when the narrator “rages” we are told that he has trouble getting his words out when he tries to communicate to his brother. As a matter of fact, the narrator doesn’t speak when he “rages.” We are only told his thought of how he wants to punch and beat someone. If the main character is unable to talk here, how is the “gate rattler” able to dish out full sentences? Also, apart from that seeming contradictory to the effects of the “raging.” The “Wolf and the three little pigs” reference by the “gate rattler” was one of the dialogs that I am referring to that seemed forced in order to put a pun in the story. In addition to that scene seeming unrealistic, the writer just drops the conflict with the gate rattler. We hear no more about him. It seems like the writer didn’t want to go into the trouble of explaining what happened to him. Instead, she has the main character begin to sing to get the children to leave the gate where the rattler is (another action that seemed unrealistic or forced). Somehow, the children are able to ignore that someone wants to kill them. In fact, everyone forgets that someone is outside wanting to kill them and they all leave and are asleep in the next chapter. This was an issue for me to simply overlook.
Other issues that kept me from continuing on with the story were that the characters don’t seem to give a damn about Astrid after she disappears and hides in the store. No one (up to the point where I stopped reading) ever decided, “Hey maybe we should form a search party and look for her.”
Instead, there was a Ceremony, an Election, and the cleaning of the store (all of which are far more important than someone missing/gone). I found Josie’s sudden jump back into reality unrealistic and forced as well. She suddenly is okay and decides to take control. Not only that, but after she does and gives her demands (a ceremony and an election) NO ONE repeals the idea. Not one person says, “That’s stupid. There’s people dying out there and you want to have a ceremony and an election.” Everyone agrees to it, considering we know the group for contradiction each other. Example – Batiste’s constant fights with Chloe. It felt like the writer did not want to trouble herself with children arguing about what to do anymore and just decided they would all just think the idea is a good one. Don’t get me wrong, with rightful justification or explanation as to why everyone agreed the two ideas would have seemed okay.
And, the last thing that sort of drew me out of this story was the fact that these kids were all experts (I’m exaggerating) at something. The way they suddenly realized that the story’s air conditioning could be letting in toxic chemicals surprised me. The way they were able to seal the air conditioning vents surprised me. The way an eight year old boy appeared to cook so much better than me surprised me. I simply didn’t find these “children” to be “children enough” if that makes sense, and that was what drew me away the most from continuing to read. Again, I made this purchase to get an idea for how to write myself to this type of audience or this type of genre, and it seems like there were ways in which this story could have been told that would have kept my attention better. This story may work for the audience that it is written for, but just didn’t work for me.
When a massive hailstorm derails a couple of school buses into the local superstore, the children are forced inside to take shelter from the forces of nature. The situation only becomes worse when a biological weapon is released into the air, sending the country into hysteria and the children into the seclusion of their newfound sanctuary, completely cut off from the outside world without communication. With no aid or adults in sight, the children must ban together if they want to survive the apocalypse, and find a way to reunite with their families.
I would describe Monument 14's plot as a mix between and a `reverse' twist on William Golding's classic `Lord of the Flies' with a hint of Stephen King. Now the book Lord of the Flies described a group of young children who find themselves stranded upon a deserted island with no rules or adults to temper them. With the absence of moral guidelines, the children lost any sense of order or dignity, thus degenerating into savages and turning on one another. Now by describing Monument 14 as a reverse rendition of Lord of the Flies, I'm referring to the circumstances which drive the plot and the central character crux of the story. Laybourne takes several children from vastly different social groups and forces them to cooperate in a dire situation secluded from their peers. With their families' whereabouts unknown and the added confinement of the superstore, the superficial barriers created by them slowly begin to crumble, turning a group of riley misfits into a unified family that must rely on one another if they ever hope to survive.
Where Laybourne truly proves herself as a strong writer is in the superb characterization of the individual children, particularly the lead character Dean. As a young man growing up and being forced into a larger than life situation, Dean has to struggle with his own insecurity and becoming the man he always wanted to be. Whether that means being the role model for his brilliant younger brother Alex, or impressing Astrid, the girl of his dreams. He's a character which in a lot of ways, I can identify with on a personal level to the point where I was able to project myself into the story, thus making the surreal nature of the story all the more immersive. It's made even more impressive coming from an author of the opposite gender, a case which often leads to characters feeling more like stereotypes than believable human beings. Even if some of the children are derived from cliche high school archetypes, though this is hardly the case.
While Dean is given the special attention of a first-person narration, the rest of the children and their interactions were a joy to read about. This is made possible because Laybourne is able to emulate the oblivious carefree nature of children. They drink, they get high, they party, and they fight. Even if the entire world as they know it is coming down around them, they'll still be trapped in their own little bubble of reality. The drama that unfolds surrounding these characters is so entertaining that it's easy to simply forget the cataclysmic events unfolding outside the superstore's walls and instead focus on the children's internal scuffles and nuances. It kept me up late at night just to find out what would happen next and to whom. I also loved the setting of the superstore; it's comparable to being inside an amusement park by yourself where everything is free. The various things to do and see within didn't only ensure the children's survival, it also added a great deal of variety to the book and its pacing.
Admittedly I was led to believe Monument 14 would be one of those dime-a-dozen books which would actually conclude without a sequel, a dying breed nowadays. At first I was originally a little bummed that I wouldn't be getting an immediate resolution to the book's events and characters, yet with a debut this impressive I'm all for more of Dean and the others.
Top reviews from other countries
This afternoon I made the mistake of reading the first chapter, it was a fatal mistake as the housework I was planning on doing fell swiftly to the wayside as I became absorbed in this strange new world.
The story is based in the town of Monument which is located in the American Rockies, the story really does kick in quickly as we meet our narrator Dean and his brother Alex as they start their journey to school via those iconic yellow school buses.
Alex, the youngest is on one bus and his older brother takes the other, their journey starts without incident until the hail starts. Hail stones of massive proportion that cave in the bus roof and cause chaos, the driver of the bus hauls ass to the nearest place of safety, the giant Greenway superstore.
The superstore car park quickly becomes a place of carnage as Dean's bus careers out of control on to its side with dire consequences for some of his fellow classmates, Dean can only watch in horror from his place in the upturned bus as he sees his brother's bus driven in to the front of the superstore.
He thinks this is it, he has had it but his time isn't up yet, he is pulled from the wreckage and launched in to the bus that went in to the front of the superstore, it has came back for them. Once he is in the store he sees his brother has made it along with 12 other kids ranging in ages from 5 to about 16/17 and not forgetting the teacher who was driving the bus, Mrs Wooly.
The moods are not the best, the younger ones want their parents, the older ones want answers, what the hell just happened? Well till they find out the are just going to have to make the best of a bad situation, bed down in the store and make use of its ample supplies.
It is a mega store and it has everything from pizza to Barbie's Dream House plus a handy tech department where they find an antiquated television still working and it is picking up CNN, they discover from this what has happened.
A volcano has erupted on the Canary Island of La Palma, the eruption has gone off with so much force that the western edge had exploded sending billions of tons of rocks and stuff in to the ocean. This has resulted in a mega tsunami which headed straight for the eastern seaboard of the United States, all those cities wiped out in an instant.
Our kids are devastated, well the ones old enough to understand what this means. They also discover that the weather was affected in the states hence the giant hail stones. On the plus side the weather has cleared outside, it couldn't get any worse could it?
Mrs Wooly decides that now will be a good time to go for help and leaves the oldest kid in charge, not long after she leaves the worse comes along. Military chemicals have leaked from nearby NORAD, crazy chemicals that affect everybody differently depending on their blood type.
For some it does nothing, for others it turns them psychotic and murderous. As long as the kids can stop the air from outside getting in they should be fine but it starts to get in the water with some drastic effects.
These 14 kids need to survive, this book explores the first twelve days of their lives stuck inside as they deal with getting to know each other. This of course involves bitching, lusting, drinking, getting high, major crazy shoplifting and some serious temper tantrums.
Of course they aren't the only survivors and when the inside wants to come in it isn't going to be a good thing.
Monument 14 is a fantastic read, the dystopian genre is overloaded with so many similar books it was nice to read something a little different. The group had so many different personalities in it and this made for a wonderful crazy dynamic plus I love the idea of being stuck in a superstore with all that food and drink (and books!!).
A great read!
There were parts of this which I loved, and other parts which weren’t so great. The concept is a brilliant one, I really enjoyed the mix of characters amongst the children and the dynamics between them were great.
However, there were aspects of the story which felt odd and unnecessary. Overall it felt like a fairly average YA dystopian. It’s unlikely I’ll continue with the series.
Trigger warnings: Child abuse, attempted rape