Monday, September 3, 2012

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

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.

This was a fair first novel, I think. It didn't have the huge success of Thirteen Reasons Why, but I quite enjoyed it all the same. While the general premise (apocalypse-type disasters, et cetera) was nothing new, I've never seen it told from this specific point of view (think like a more civilized Lord of the Flies). Also, even though the book spent the majority of the time in one setting, it never really got boring. There were always new issues or events. A post-apocalyptic soap opera, ish. The main character wasn't super three-dimensional, nor were most of the characters, but I liked the events and plotlines enough to still be satisfied with the book. It had an interesting mix of events; some parts were mature, some parts were sweet, some parts were weird, and some parts were suspenseful. Like I said: soap opera. All in all, it was a good book that I would probably read again if I come across it in the distant future. So: if you like dramas and/or post-apocalypse stories, give this one a try. It might just surprise you. Anyway, it's on order at Kettleson, so keep an eye out for it.
P.S. (I'm really sorry this is late. My life's a cross between a marathon and a chinese fire drill right now).

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