Published: June 5th, 2012
Publisher: Fiewel and Friends
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.
Monument 14 is an interesting concept, set in the near-future - some time after 2021. Still a very recognizable world, but with improvements on the internet - The Network. Of course, no-one ever thinks that the Network will go down, and that's where some of the problems lie.
14 kids end up in a 'superstore' - convenient? Yes, definitely, but the way they arrive there was completely plausible and did not seem contrived in any way. There is an incredible mix of kids of all types. No-one is perfect and they all react differently to the escalating crisis. Some handle it well, others - not so much.
A series of events occur after a natural disaster, and the kids are left to fend for themselves. An extra dimension is added when, depending on your blood-type, you will react differently to a toxin that is released in the air. Which would you rather have - paranoid delusions, bloody lesions, violent outbursts or sterility at a later date?
The kids' reactions to the crisis made for an interesting, tense and enjoyable read. With shades of Lord of the Flies, Gone, and a touch of The Mist, you're never quite sure what's going to happen next.
I enjoyed this one, and look forward to the follow-up, because yes - there is a cliff hanger ending, damn it!