Book Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

12753231Title: Monument 14

Author: Emmy Laybourne

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 3,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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 liked the idea behind Monument 14. Six high schools, two eighth graders and six little kids are trapped inside a chain superstore, while outside the world tumbles from one disaster into another. From a deadly chemical cloud surrounding their city to all-out chemical warfare, the world seems on the verge of an apocalypse. The kids build a refuge for themselves inside the chain story, struggling to survive.

The action is relentless in this YA thriller. From start to end, we tumble from one action into another, and the suspense never drops. The book is claustrophobic, as the kids are stuck inside the store, and you feel how the walls close in on them. However, at the same time, the book lacks a certain depth it could’ve had, had the action slowed down, even for just a moment. This emotional distance makes it hard to connect with the characters, and even the main character sometimes acts in incromprehensible ways.

There were also a lot of characters to keep track of, and I felt like the novel would’ve worked better had there been less characters. It would feel even more claustrophobic, and if we had more time to focus on a limited number of characters, the reader might feel more emotionally involved with them.

All in all, an enjoyable read. If you like apocalypse / survival stories, then you should give Monument 14 a shot.

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