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Monument 14

Monument 14

Written by Emmy Laybourne

Narrated by Todd Haberkorn


Monument 14

Written by Emmy Laybourne

Narrated by Todd Haberkorn

ratings:
4/5 (51 ratings)
Length:
6 hours
Released:
Oct 9, 2012
ISBN:
9781469250021
Format:
Audiobook

Description

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.

Released:
Oct 9, 2012
ISBN:
9781469250021
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Emmy Laybourne is a screenwriter, lyricist, and actress. She has acted in movies, television, and improv groups including Chicago City Limits. She lives in Chestnut Ridge, New York, with her husband and their two children. She is the author of the Monument 14 trilogy.


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What people think about Monument 14

4.0
51 ratings / 46 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    Originally posted here.

    One occasional perk (or onus) of being behind on my NetGalley reads is that I see people's reviews come out about particular titles on my pile. Although I don't read reviews for books in my tbr pile in full, I do glance at the rating and the intro and conclusion to the review. Having seen some meh reviews of Monument 14 from some bloggers I love, I was afraid this was going to be a tough read for me. Thankfully, I really enjoyed reading it all the way through.

    The opening scene of Monument 14 is seriously intense. It opens with Dean and Alex running for their respective buses. Normal morning of avoiding notice on the bus (yeah, I remember doing that). Then, BAM, hail the size of like cats and dogs is slamming down, and their bus is crashing. Then death and explosions and a bus driving through the glass doors of a grocery store. In a post-apocalyptic (even more than a dystopia), you need to be prepared for MASSIVE amounts of death. You definitely get it here.

    What went wrong in the world to cause all these crazies? Just about everything. A super volcano explodes and sets off a tsunami that takes out the east coast. All of this craziness means the environment has gone totally WHACK, so enter hailstorms and other craziness all over the country. In case that wasn't enough, the weather loosed chemicals the government probably shouldn't have created that do seriously creepy (and varying) shit to people who encounter them. Youch. I thought that was maybe a BIT much. Anyway, very The Day After Tomorrow.

    I really liked Dean as a narrator. Laybourne did a great job with him I thought. He definitely felt like a male character to me. He is smart, although not brilliant, and desperate to fit in. Being stuck in the Greenway with the kind of guys who pick on him and the popular senior he's been crushing on is a combination nightmare and dream.

    There's a sense of unreality to the kids in a store plot line. There's something vaguely romantic about it, right? Freed of adults and able to eat candy for dinner or ice cream for breakfast. The reason it happens over and over again in books is that it makes a really good setting. It's an isolated little universe, and the characters put there have to redefine themselves in the context of this new group, as seen in The Breakfast Club.

    Although they have their issues (drugs, overly-flirtatious thirteen year old girls, fistfights, lack of personal space, a couple bratty kids, etc.), these kids are remarkably resourceful, and do an amazing job setting up their own little community within the story. Most of their decisions were wise. They worked most things out, and I loved that they did so without coercion. They ran a better government than the real world. It was amazing that they did so well with so many little ones to take care of.

    The kids also have to struggle with trusting one another. Only a couple of them were actually real life friends. Now, the fourteen of them have to learn to at least tolerate one another. They also have to decide whether they can trust anyone else. Since they have so many resources, can they afford to let people in?

    I have to mention quickly two plot holes that irked me. First, why did the bus driver leave the kids in the grocery store alone?!?! I mean, I know why, but I was yelling at my computer when she did that. I mean, it was freaking hailing and she's all like 'Peace out!' Dude, if I were her, I would wait and try to check the radios or whatever in the store (like the kids were smart enough to do) without going outside. That just felt too much like it happened to move the plot along. The other thing that really annoyed me was that none of the kids mourned for any of their classmates that DIED IN FRONT OF THEM ON THE BUS. Really kids? Josie is in shock for a couple of days over her friend's death, but then never mentions her again. WTF is that?

    Also, having read this so far in advance, which is not my usual style, I've had the chance to read some other reviews on Monument 14. What bothered a lot of reviewers was the portrayal of women in the book. Looking back, I definitely agree that the three women of an age to be sexual are not portrayed well at all. They did seem like fairly believable characters, but it would be nice to see a more positive attitude towards females in the next book. I think the reason I wasn't up in arms about this was that the guys don't really come off so well, either. Most of the characters are varying degrees of not awesome people.

    Despite those issues, I freaking ate up all of the drama and disaster in here. Monument 14 is a fast, action-packed ride, and I will most definitely be reading more. Then ending suggests more crazy drama is in store, although I'm not really sure how I feel about where it's going. Most people loved the ending, but one of my least favorite plot points happened. Haha. It IS intense, though.
  • (4/5)
    Really good book!
  • (5/5)
    This was my most traumatizing, terrifying book-reading experience since I was much younger and stumbled upon The Tomorrow Code (which, like Monument 14, I will never forget). I do not handle apocalyptic fiction well, especially ones that center around natural and chemical disasters. They make me paranoid and anxious and overall I have a problem of disappearing into a book. My heart was pounding 50 pages in, and when I was preparing dinner tonight, I had a thought that only a character in the book would have and I scared myself badly. I know, pathetic, but even though I will have nightmares for the next week, I'm glad I read it. This was a fantastic book. The plot was creative; I felt like I was dealing with new concepts. The characters were wonderfully diverse and most of them were multifaceted. The little kids were realistic. Even through the horror, there were genuine moments of hilarity that I appreciated. Monument 14 is definitely a must-read, and I'm getting the sequel as soon as possible.
  • (5/5)
    This is one of the best books I've read in years. All three of the books in the series tell the continuing adventures of a group of schoolchildren caught in the middle of a chemical disaster. "Compounds" are spread throughout the town after a hailstorm. The compounds evoke different reactions from each blood group. The children in the book, 14 students in a town called Monument, have to deal with all sorts of trials and tribulations throughout the series in the hopes of making it to safety, and being able to see their families again. The series deals with heavy issues, and is remarkably written on top of it. A definite must-read trilogy.
  • (4/5)
    I was happier about this book until I looked for it on Goodreads and saw there were sequels. Argh! It actually works quite well, I think, as a stand-alone. And I am very, very leery of reading more and not liking those and thus ruining my experience.

    Because what I liked about this one was because it was a bunch of kids surviving a global disaster in a superstore. And I love that sort of thing. I can only imagine the next book doesn't involve the store, which makes it infinitely less interesting to me.

    It might've gotten 5 stars from me, except I am so sick of girls in these situations being at risk of rape. Are they _more_ at risk than usual? Really? It has to be in every book like this?

    Anyway.. I did like it. And now I want to live in a superstore.
  • (5/5)
    Monument 14 is a new favorite! I wasn't sure about the series since I had seen mixed reviews but I loved it. I listened to the audio CD version which is narrated by Todd Haberkorn. Haberkorn did an outstanding job bringing this story to life. He seemed to have a real feel for each of the characters and vocalized each person in a way that seemed perfectly suited for that individual. In addition to a great audio performance, Monument 14 has a gripping and action packed storyline. It is similar to other post apocalyptic stories in that a natural disaster wreaks havoc on the earth, changing the world as the inhabitants know it,but it also takes a closer look at group dynamics and how easily it can be for twisted individuals to take advantage in a precarious situation. I also thought the author had incredible insight into the minds of children and adolescents and how they behave in certain situations. The dialog was believable and well written which added to the books appeal. Monument 14 will appeal to fans of Quarantine and This World As We Know It. Don't delay check out this audio book today!
  • (3/5)
    Yet another YA apocalyptic tale of the world gone beserk. There seems to be a ton of these out there now. What sets this one apart is the range in age of the children left to fend for themselves and the fact that they have the "good fortune" to get stranded in a superstore like a Walmart. I knew students who will eat this up and be rushing out to get the sequel. Be warned there are a few scenes that make this an appropriate read for the "mature" YA reader, not a tween reader.
  • (5/5)
    (originally reviewed, along with No Safety in Numbers, on Book Sp(l)ot Reviews)Dean and his brother are on their way to school, riding the school bus with a handful of other kids when a massive - massive - hailstorm starts. With the hailstones - some the size of basketballs - destroying cars and crushing their bus, they're forced to take refuge in the nearby Greenway.The high schoolers - and the younger kids whose bus also went to the Greenway- don't think they'll be in the store for long . . . But as disasters strike the world outside, the Greenway seems the safest place. A chain big box store, it has food, medical supplies, blankets, everything they may need.But just how long will they have to stay? And what will be left of the world outside once they're able to leave?Perhaps wrongly so, I kept imagining Monument 14 as a sort of Where the Heart Is (the book by Billie Letts/movie where she lives in WalMart) meets 'The Mist.'* It was, actually, a bit like that. Without the happy Southern people and cute librarian and whatever I'm forgetting from 'The Mist,' but big, vague picture? Similar.Similar and awesome. Monument 14 was a June read that I wanted to read a lot, didn't win, had a screw-up about with the library, then finally got . . . and I loved it. It's a fast read but most of that is because it's hard to put down. (In terms of reading level, though it is an easier read, the content and story will absolutely appeal to older readers.)Told from the point of view of a male narrator, Dean, who is one of those trapped in the store, Monument 14 will hopefully be a great read for a wide audience. Whether you normally read things from the male pov or not, this one is really worth giving a try. Dean is not a hard narrator to connect with at all - male or female reader.We see a wide variety of characters in the Greenway - and see how they effect each other and how the isolation, caring for the younger kids, and dealing with each other minute after minute, hour after hour effects them.Similar to Life as We Knew It by Beth Pfeffer, the world outside their isolated environment is changing drastically and they're stuck inside, for safety. The wondering and the the tension are a great part of the story.The ending of Monument 14 kind of killed me - I do hope there's more . . .and I almost hope there's not.Pair them up:Monument 14 and No Safety in Numbers are great to read one after the other - or close together. One has a world where the outside is the danger and the inside is safe; one has a world where the outside i safe and the inside is the danger. In both, everyone needs to stay in but really wants out.Filled with great characters most of whom are together by circumstance, both books leave you wondering what will happen from one page to the next. There's tension and suspense in them both.If you like one, I highly believe you'll like the other.*don't try figuring my brain out
  • (4/5)
    A super storm hits a small town just as Dean and his brother are headed to high school. Their school bus is demolished, but by the quick thinking of another school bus driver, Dean, his brother and twelve other kids (1st grade through high school), find themselves holed up in a grocery store as the world falls apart outside.A familiar holed-up-someplace survival story, with in-fighting and cliques, this one also incorporates some creepy chemical warfare which causes blisters or rage, depending on a person's blood type. There is some creepy scariness when a couple of adults show up, and some of the older kids have (off screen, mostly) and talk about sex.Recommended for older teens.
  • (3/5)
    It was good. No zombies, but still good. The lack of zombies was (and always is) disappointing, although there was a situation somewhat similar to the "zombies" in the movie Zomblieland and 28 Days Later. Being that these people were not previously dead, they are not technically zombies. They just possess the same powers of reasoning one associates with zombies. Anyway, interesting premise. Why is trying to figure out the ins and outs of survival in an apocalyptic situation so bloody fascinating? On to the sequel!
  • (3/5)
    Interesting take off re: Post Apocalypse survival. My only question is the veracity of the type of weaponized hazards released from NORAD which appeared far too benign in their effects the kids experienced. Also, why would they be stored at NORAD in the first place ?

    All in all a good read especially for youngsters.
  • (4/5)
    3.5 Stars. I like the premise, but some of the events and characters didn't hold up completely for me. Overall not bad and I will probably read the next one.
  • (3/5)
    Love the story, but the writing is not wonderful.
  • (4/5)
    Six high school kids are trapped in a chain superstore, while outside a series of disasters occurs beginning with a hailstorm and ending with a chemical spill.
  • (4/5)
    There's a lot of post disaster books out there and what makes this one worth reading is the fact that these are just kids, trying to take care of each other, cut off from adults and the world. And the disaster seems pretty plausible...
  • (4/5)
    3.5

    When I first started reading this book it had a Lord of the Flies feel to it. I'm not a huge fan of that book, but glad I didn't let the feel of it in M14 dissuade me.

    Emmy does a great job of showing you what is happening. Her description of the scenery is great. You feel as if you are in the hail storm at the beginning of the book. You can feel the emotions of the kids as if they are your own. There is a ton of terror since nobody knows what is going on. Considering the age difference in these kids, they do a pretty good job of working together. Some parts of life suck for them, but for the most part they get a long, and each does their job. That's something I wouldn't have thought possible. You also never really understand how resilient children are. They can surprise you with how strong they are.

    There are soooo many great characters in this book. Dean is telling the story. We are seeing what happens in a journal of sorts. He's a writer, and loves books. (That makes him awesome in my book.) He does have his downfalls. He's pretty selfish at times, and sticks his foot in his mouth a lot. His brother Alex is a freaking genius. He's always able to come up with a solution to what problems they face. Niko annoyed the crap out of me. He is a brat. He can disagree with everyone, but if someone disagrees with him, he pouts and acts like a child. I understand the situation is stressful, but come on man. Max is probably my overall favorite. He's seen way too many things that his eyes shouldn't have. The great thing about him is when he talks about things he's witnessed, he doesn't really understand the events. He's definitely the funny guy in the book.

    The ending is what has me jonesing for the sequel. You feel all the emotions burst from your heart in the final pages. It leads up to what could be a great story line.

    While this book did have it's problems, I suggest checking it out. It's definitely worth it. I'm ready to read Sky On Fire now. :D
  • (4/5)
    I love the apocalyptic setting and the characters were great and diverse. It's dark and I enjoy that in a book but it had its light moments to. I would've like to have seen more of outside the store but I guess it adds to the mystery. 4/5 JP (12th grade) I chose this book because of the fact that it's about a disaster with people living through it. AG
  • (4/5)
    Sucked me in and spit me out and left me wanting/waiting/desperate for the sequel. Yes, it's Lord of the Flies in Target but, holy crap, that's minimizing the effect that this book has. So good.
  • (3/5)
    I chose Monument 14 to read despite my preference for my dystopians anti-oppressive government than natural disaster and looting variety. My reasoning is that after a viewing of the film "The Mist" I find myself scoping out the other customers in a shop or diners if we should find ourselves in a similar situation. Monument 14 did have a religious zealot, but fortunately, for the other characters not one like Mrs. Carmody. I live in Florida where weirdness abounds so I find myself in many places where I'd hate to be shut in with strangers.Monument 14 takes place in a Walmart-esque style hopping center. The 14 kids are shut-up in the store after a hail storm. Two school buses crash into the store from the high school and middle school. None of the small children die but many of the high school aged kids do. I kept expecting a "Lord of the Flies" situation after the one creepy Boy Scout Niko takes over leadership. All does not seem right with this kid. The kid Brayden also bugged me. Our narrator, Dean, won me over when he called Brayden an idiot for believing illegal actions done by the government are not illegal.The government made chemical compounds cause different behaviours from people based on blood type. I have O type blood so I'd be a raging monster in this world. Poor Dean has O type and almost attacks his brother.The weakest part of the novel is when two adults stop by the store because it was quite predictable. I was a deeply suspicious child when I was their age and can not imagine so many kids falling into the man Robbie's lap. He had warning flags all over him. I still wish the book had not set him up as a pedophile, however, because Niko was too power hungry and smug about needing control over the kids. There were too many scenes of what to eat for dinner but it felt realistic. All of the characters were fully realised and fleshed out. It was nice reading a book with so many personalities and depth. I'm interested to read the sequel to find out exactly what was going on between Niko and Dean's brother Alex. Alex shunned his brother the entire book over his blood type yet screams at him for choosing to stay behind in the store? I would have loved this book as a kid due to the locked in a store setting. My favourite movie as a kid was "Opportunity Knocks" starring Jennifer Connelly and Frank Whaley. This book hearkened back to that film more than the Zombie Apocalypse films "Hey, we can shop for free!"
  • (3/5)
    3 unless it's not a series. Then 2 - 2.5 just OK.

    The ending is not an OMG moment its a "..what..come on! You can do it..no? Well darn it" kind of moment. I am left with myself scratching my head. Enjoyed the fact it was not another PA YA distopia though!

    A sigh A bit predictable. Nothing extraordinary. Enjoyable yes but I wanted more exploration with Deans writing and Niko. I just don't feel like I KNOW the characters!

    More in-depth possibly coming to cabingoddess.com
  • (4/5)
    Made you think about what would happen if children were on their own after a disaster.
  • (4/5)
    While this story is more of a "what if..." it is definitely worth reading, if only for the comparisons to Lord of the Flies (a classic). Is it realistic these children reacted the way they did? Why? I honestly think LotF is more believable, but I enjoyed reading about all of the dystopian elements in this novel. Yes, one natural disaster after another [which I still did not understand, but okay], but the action in this book is ceaseless. The only thing is that there are so many characters they get stretched thin.
  • (4/5)
    I ended up really liking this book but what an ending!! Cant wait for book 2.
  • (4/5)
    Monument 14 takes place in small town Colorado where 14 kids, ranging in ages from 5 to 16-17 find themselves trapped in a Greenway store while the world falls apart around them. On a seemingly normal day, Dean and his tech-savvy little brother Alex race to catch their school bus. On the way to school, crushing oversize hail begins denting the roof of the bus, breaking the windows, and in an effort to get the kids to safety, the two school buses quickly go to the Greenway store, which seems to be like a super Walmart. Once inside, the bus driver goes to find help and the 14 kids find themselves alone in the store as the riot gates come down essentially trapping them inside, which may be a good thing since they soon find out that a series of natural, and not-so-natural disasters are tearing the US to pieces around them. The Greenway store might be the safest place to be, unless they fall apart themselves.

    The plot was pretty fast paced. It definitely kept me reading up into the wee hours of the night. The story had a sort of Lord of the Flies feel with the older kids having a power struggle about who would be in charge and how best to survive. I very much enjoyed the whole concept of the story while the execution sometimes left a little to be desired. Nonetheless, Monument 14 certainly kept me on the edge of my seat.

    The story is told from the perspective of Dean, a bookish teen who is chronicling the events as they unfold. The interaction between all of the characters was fascinating. There is one particular character, a 5 or 6 year old named Max who told some of the most outlandish stories about his life. While there were a few crushes and hookups among the older teens, there wasn't any real romance in this story, although it seemed to be heading in that direction.

    The writing sometimes fell a bit short for me. I felt like using the teenage Dean to narrate the story was a way to compensate for less than stellar writing. The story felt choppy in places and jumped around a bit and I would have liked to seen some more character development in the older teens. However, as you see by my 4 star rating, I truly enjoyed Monument 14 and I won't hesitate to pick up the next in the series. There was quite a cliffhanger ending and not much was resolved in this book, which is a pet peeve of mine and I considered only rating this 3 stars because of that. But I didn't simply because I really liked this book, despite its flaws.


  • (4/5)
    Monument 14 takes place in small town Colorado where 14 kids, ranging in ages from 5 to 16-17 find themselves trapped in a Greenway store while the world falls apart around them. On a seemingly normal day, Dean and his tech-savvy little brother Alex race to catch their school bus. On the way to school, crushing oversize hail begins denting the roof of the bus, breaking the windows, and in an effort to get the kids to safety, the two school buses quickly go to the Greenway store, which seems to be like a super Walmart. Once inside, the bus driver goes to find help and the 14 kids find themselves alone in the store as the riot gates come down essentially trapping them inside, which may be a good thing since they soon find out that a series of natural, and not-so-natural disasters are tearing the US to pieces around them. The Greenway store might be the safest place to be, unless they fall apart themselves.

    The plot was pretty fast paced. It definitely kept me reading up into the wee hours of the night. The story had a sort of Lord of the Flies feel with the older kids having a power struggle about who would be in charge and how best to survive. I very much enjoyed the whole concept of the story while the execution sometimes left a little to be desired. Nonetheless, Monument 14 certainly kept me on the edge of my seat.

    The story is told from the perspective of Dean, a bookish teen who is chronicling the events as they unfold. The interaction between all of the characters was fascinating. There is one particular character, a 5 or 6 year old named Max who told some of the most outlandish stories about his life. While there were a few crushes and hookups among the older teens, there wasn't any real romance in this story, although it seemed to be heading in that direction.

    The writing sometimes fell a bit short for me. I felt like using the teenage Dean to narrate the story was a way to compensate for less than stellar writing. The story felt choppy in places and jumped around a bit and I would have liked to seen some more character development in the older teens. However, as you see by my 4 star rating, I truly enjoyed Monument 14 and I won't hesitate to pick up the next in the series. There was quite a cliffhanger ending and not much was resolved in this book, which is a pet peeve of mine and I considered only rating this 3 stars because of that. But I didn't simply because I really liked this book, despite its flaws.


  • (5/5)
    Fast paced, action pack, and lovable characters. Couldn’t stop listening
  • (5/5)
    In medias res. That’s a fancy-pants Latin term for in the middle. Is it okay that I’m starting my book review that way—in the middle of a series? I’m thinking the answer is oh yeah because from the perspective I’m taking, it’s ooey, gooey, and delicious, like eating a luscious cinnamon roll from the center to the outside. Nothin’ but goodness, people.Let’s start with W-O-W. From the opening pages of book one, the story kept me on my toes. First of all, it was set somewhere different—Colorado—which doesn’t seem like an earth-shattering circumstance, but seriously, I’m tired of reading about all these fabulously gorgeous teens that frolic on the coast, be it Pacific or Atlantic. This is the hard-core West, my friends, and these peeps need that stoic western strength to make it through one epic thrill ride: hail storms, earthquakes, and chemical spills, oh my! The main character, Dean, journals the story for us from start to finish as he panics, protects, and of course, crushes on the beautiful swimming goddess that happens to get trapped in a superstore along with our goofy hero and twelve other school-age kids.And holey doughnuts, people! Rarely does a sequel--especially the middle child--live up to the hype and expectations created by the first novel. Monument 14: Sky on Fire, does that and so much more. As in BOOM! baby. And in this read, that is literal AND figurative.
  • (3/5)
    A little bit like Lord of the Flies meets The Breakfast Club meets The Mist, Monument 14 is about a group of children holed up in a superstore after a freak hailstorm causes a chemical leak from the nearby weapons manufacturing site, leading to contamination of the whole town. On the surface, this book seemed like it had a lot of potential. Books featuring kids in stressful, survival situations always seem more chilling and disturbing to me than books starring their adult counterparts. Children, after all, are the picture of ultimate innocence; in an ideal world we wish to protect them from all the troubles and anxieties of adulthood. Even most adults would be ill-prepared to handle a sudden disaster, so I can’t even imagine how much worse the burden of responsibility would be to a teenager. Without strong guidance and a lack of organization, it’s not surprising how quickly a group situation can devolve.The kids in this book range from ages 5 to 17, all stranded passengers from a couple of school buses that were wrecked by the severe storm. Naturally, a hierarchy of leadership develops, with the older teens taking care of the young’uns. The dynamics are made more interesting by the differences not only in the characters’ ages, but also in their personalities, backgrounds and upbringing. Unfortunately, this does mean that almost everyone is pigeonholed into rather predictable and clichéd stereotypes. Main protagonist and narrator Dean is the “booker”, a quiet and somewhat awkward late-bloomer who has long harbored a secret love for Astrid, the popular and perfect hot girl. Astrid however is the girlfriend of Jake, the football jock. Among the high-schoolers, there’s also the bully/bad boy Brayden, the solemn and live-by-the-book Boy Scout Niko, who happens to have a thing for the kind and motherly Josie. The roles are cast, and the stage is set for some serious teenage drama. The younger kids actually proved more intriguing and to have more well-rounded personalities. A couple of them genuinely surprised me, displaying a level of maturity and problem solving skills that even surpassed some of the teenagers’. In fact, I think one of the book’s main weaknesses is its gradual divergence from the “we’re all in this together” theme towards a greater emphasis on the relationships and soap-opera aspects of the older kids. The story was a lot more engaging at the beginning when the whole group dealt with the challenges of surviving together, addressing issues like mob mentality, who should be in charge, and how to explain the situation to the elementary children who are frightened and don’t understand why they can’t go home. Once the focus shifted to become more about “who’s crushing on whom”, the book became more typical and less special in my eyes. While I loved the premise, another strike against this book is the whole reason why Dean and the other kids are trapped in the superstore. The explanation given – that the chemical leak is a gas causing different reactions based on the exposed victim’s blood type – is a bit weak and unconvincing. Victims with O-type blood will become mindless violent savages, while another type would break out in boils and blisters, while yet another type would experience no outward signs but may suffer infertility and reproductive difficulties, etc. Leaving aside how such an absurd model of symptoms made me want to bash my head against the wall, the theory of the chemical disaster did not feel that well thought out. It felt like the author needed a reason to put the kids in this particular jam, and seized upon the first idea to come to mind without fleshing it out giving it more detail. Perhaps that’s why the book also threw in the extreme weather and a massive disaster on the east coast, just to make the situation bigger and severe than it is. As expected, Monument 14 also left off on a cliffhanger (these days, I’d be shocked if a YA novel didn’t). Still, it’s a strong start, with a great idea to work with, and just a tad wobbly on the execution. I haven’t decided if I want to continue with the series yet. Looks like it’ll be another short, quick read, so if the opportunity arises, I may take it.
  • (4/5)
    If you haven't read the prequel novella Dress Your Marines in White I strongly advise reading that first. It will give you a great deal more insight and understanding of the situation the characters find themselves facing. Goodreads Blurb: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.A chilling dystopian tale that could all to easily be our reality, or one very much like it. It begins on your typical American day in Monument, Colorado. Alex and Dean are running late to catch their respective buses to school. Ever since the fuel shortage everyone rides the bus to school, it has become the law.On this particular morning the busses are traveling one right in front of the other, just like usual. Alex gets on the bus carrying the elementary and middle-school kids, and his older brother Dean gets on the one carrying the high school kids. They haven't traveled too far when out of the blue they hear these funny noises, which suddenly get progressively louder. It turns out that massive hail is falling, putting huge dents in the bus, breaking glass, and in general wreaking havoc. The driver of the high schoolers careens out of control, crashing the bus on its side, so suddenly all the hail is hitting the kids. Meanwhile the driver of the other bus plows ahead, straight into the Greenways superstore. Thankfully she has a solid head on her shoulders, because after she offloads all her kids she backs the bus up all the way to the wrecked bus that has all the other kids still trapped on it. She manages to get all the survivors to safety, which is a small number because it had been early in the bus route when this happened, so the busses weren't even close to full.A total of fourteen kids in the Greenways, and one adult. Since none of the network systems are working - no phones, tablets, nothing - their one adult leaves them while she goes for help. After she leaves the kids begin settling in when suddenly the riot gates come crashing down, locking them in and everyone else out. Eventually they locate an old fashioned TV set and hear their worst fears come to life "Good citizens of the United States of America, we are in the midst of the greatest crisis our country has ever known." It appeared that the patriotic folks over at North American Aerospace Defense Command Department (NORAD) had created some kind of horrible chemical weapon, one which was accidentally released into the general population. The kids rush to cover the front gates to keep the chemicals from coming in. Just when they think they are safe they realize the AC is running and will soon be pumping the chemicals into their air supply. They hit the roof the manually shut down the AC and find one of the kids just sitting on the edge, watching a giant black cloud rising straight into the air. Before they can fix the AC and safely get back inside a few are exposed to the chemical compound. The results are disastrous and terrifying.The rest of the time they attempt to prepare for a long wait for rescue. They discover a camera system that overlooks the loading dock when they hear a woman begging to be let in. Before they can come to a decision something happens that takes the decision out of their hands. Eventually two men come asking to be let in to get supplies. From here things go from OK, given their situation, to disastrous. And they rapidly unravel, ending on a painful note that leaves you aching for the next book. As the first novella was so useful I am going to suggest that the novella that falls between this book and the second is probably well worth reading as well. But either way, once you've read this book you'll be hooked and coming back for more!
  • (3/5)
    I went on a crazy binge last year reading so much YA dystopian, that I decided to take a break from it for a bit. With that being said this was one of the first dystopian books i've picked up this year. Monument 14 was one of the books I heard and knew that I would eventually read, because the concept of the book sounded great. A bunch of kids stuck inside of a superstore, with chaos occuring right outside their walls??? YES PLEASE!!I had a few problems with the storyline, I found quite a bit of it to be super unrealistic, for example I don't think a teacher would leave a bunch of kids behind to go out into the unknown to find help, but that's simply my personal feeling. I did like the story, and it was a quick read, but was a bit lacking for me, I guess I wanted more action and more resolution, and I know this is a series, so it was most likely setting up the plot for book #2 but sometimes that leaves me feeling unfufilled at the end of the story. One thing I really did like about the story was that each reaction that occured because of the outbreak was due to your blood type, I thought that was a really unique concept and one that felt realistic. I definitely will be continuing on with this series, but with such tough competition in the world of YA dystopians, this one fell a little short for me. If you do like apocolyptic type books though, I would definitely say to give this one a try.