Thursday, May 10, 2012

Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

ISBN: 9780312569037 | Cover Price $16.99 | 305 pp.

Overall Rating: 7.5 out of 10 | Fast-paced YA Post-Apocalyptic Thriller

Overview: "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 hurdle 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

Review:  This book left me with mixed feelings.  On the plus side, any book I am reviewing 2 days after receiving was obviously a couldn't-put-it-down read.  In that respect, Ms. Laybourne gets top marks for this novel - the suspense was great, the pace excellent, the book pulled you in and called you back until you finished it.  
The characters, particularly the older students, seemed to be an accurate cross-section of what you'd find on a school bus (where the story begins) and their personalities, motives, and attitudes seemed solidly true-to-life.  There were a couple spots where I found a particular action - usually Astrid's - to be incongruous with the description of her character.  Maybe more information in the sequel will shed more light on her motives, maybe not.  The strong points of this novel are the non-stop action, the methodology of 14 children dealing with horrible disaster and the way they pull through it.  
The ending felt abrupt, almost a clifffhanger but not quite.  The second book is already in the hands of the editor and I get the feeling that the story will be primarily told by a different character and I was invested enough in Dean (the narrator of this story) to be annoyed with that idea.  
Summary: This was certainly a fun and exciting read and I would definitely recommend it.  The occasional inconsistencies only slightly detract from a good book with a great premise. 

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