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Monument 14 Paperback – May 28, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Take your everyday apocalyptic story, put some high school and middle school students and kindergarteners together on a bus, hurtle them into a giant supermarket, sprinkle a contamination epidemic, and you get Laybourne's thriller (Feiwel & Friends, 2012). Sophomore outcast Dean narrates the ordeal as he struggles to look out for his brother, keep an eye on his crush, and keep order as major issues arise (contaminated air and water, murderers on the outside, lice). What makes this different from other doomsday titles is its ability to create a solid family amongst the different ages of characters that all look out for the youngest of survivors. Each of the discs begins and ends with an eerie instrumental piece, while Todd Haberkorn's careful narration shows limited emotion as the harrowing events unfold. A few sexual situations and carnage descriptions make this appropriate for slightly older teens. The audio ends abruptly with a cliff-hanger, hinting at a sequel. Fans of Susan Pfeffer's Life as We Knew It (Harcourt, 2006) or Ashfall (Tanglewood, 2011) by Mike Mullin will enjoy Laybourne's debut novel. Purchase where demand for dystopian fiction is high.-Amanda Schiavulli Finger Lakes Library System, NYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
"Frighteningly real... riveting." - The New York Times Book Review, Editor's choice
“...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
“...intriguing beyond the survival elements...” ―Horn Book
“...readers will eagerly await the second volume. ” ―Kirkus
“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
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Top Customer Reviews
As many of you know...I didn't start reading Young Adult fiction until I started this blog last year (no not even when I actually was a young adult did I read YA) and perhaps due to that fact I always go into a new YA book with a bit of trepidation. Will the voice be too young for me, will I be able to relate, will it just be too teen for me...? Some YA reads really do seem to appeal more exclusively to a younger audience and others are written in such a way that they transcend age barriers and have a much wider appeal. This is definitely one such book!
First of all I can find no fault at all with Emmy Laybourne's writing style...which is always the first thing I notice when picking up a book. Monument 14 flows beautifully, the dialogue sounds authentic and I absolutely loved Dean's voice. It was distinctly male (though written by a female) yet I had absolutely no difficulty getting drawn right into the story and connecting with him.
The pacing of the book is completely perfect, with the disasters occurring outside the superstore and within, providing the perfect framework for what to me was the real crux of the story: The kids. I loved that all of the horrific events going on kept the reader constantly on edge and wondering yet didn't detract from the great interpersonal relationships that developed and grew between the children and teens as the days passed and they were forced to call upon their own individual strengths as well as depend upon each other for their physical and emotional welfare.
All of the characters were incredibly well fleshed out and multi-dimensional...in other words: I believed.The relationship between the brothers Dean and Alex was a joy to experience in all it's complexity and that between the younger siblings Caroline and Henry was precious and sweet. The psuedo love triangle between Dean, Astrid, and Jake gave the book added substance without any untoward moments or excessive drama to take away from the real story.
Sahalia perfectly conveyed that awkward stage in between being a little kid and a big kid. Jake and Brayden showed that jocks can be so much more than just that. Baptiste...well he can come cook for me anytime....even though he'll probably need a step stool to reach the sink. Chloe bugged the heck out of me, Ulysses warmed my heart, and Max kept me laughing and raising my eyebrows simultaneously. The character of Josie constantly surprised and impressed me. And I must admit that Niko...well... Niko had me at "Guys, we have to cover the front gates...right now." [I think I may have fallen a little in love with Niko.] And I think the fact that I can so easily remember all fourteen names and personalities also speaks to the author's amazing character development.
I wholeheartedly recommend Monument 14 for lovers of Apocalyptic tales (I know the majority of readers and even Publishers Weekly classify this as Post-Apocalyptic or Dystopian but I beg to differ). I did not want to put this one down until I reached the conclusion and then I was left eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.
NOTE: I recieved a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
I’d been waiting to read this book for a while and I’m glad it didn’t disappoint me. What I liked most of this book was the Dean’s sincerity. Just because the world seems to be ending people don’t need to start acting like saints (I guess I’m evil). His feelings and desires kept on going Ah! Yes, in case you’re wonder who this Dean is, he is the main character.
Fourteen kids are trapped in a superstore (think Walmart, or Target) and they have to learn to trust and deal with each other in order to survive. They are mean and they don’t hold their tongues back. They are tired of taking care of the little ones and the bigger ones are not exactly fan of each other.
The book reminded a little bit of that movie The Mist but with kids. This book would make a really cool movie.
What I didn’t like: there wasn’t any explanation of the kind of world they were living in and why a couple of things were out of use. However this wasn’t bad to the point to stop me from enjoying and finishing the book. I guess Laybourne wanted to get directly to the action without wasting time explaining a world that we weren’t going to see much about, anyway.
Not so favorable reviews here and here.
However, the story is riveting and the characters are very believable! I really hope nothing like this disaster befalls us! The scary part is that it really could happen! It's a volcano eruption that starts a series of natural disasters that we have seen on a smaller scale already, so it is very believable! And plausible! Chillingly so!
Time to ready my disaster bag and include some good gas masks! And don't forget duct tape! Never forget the duct tape!