Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Author: Emmy Laybourne
Series: Monument 14 #1
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Fiewel & Friends
Publication Date: June 5,2012
Genre: Apocalyptic, Disaster, Young Adult

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 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.


At the end of the world, Where would you like to be? Me, I'm going to the Greenway! When 14 kids get locked inside a superstore they have no clue that the world outside is quickly going to hell in a handbasket. Worst of all due to a chemical spill they can't even leave if they wanted. 14 kids, 1 superstore, no adults... What could go wrong??

Here's the thing, I loved Monument 14 it was fun, had great characters and the writing was pretty terrific. However, I felt the book was at times a bit to neat, safe even. Once inside nobody cared what happened to those outside. Sure kids missed parents and wondered what was happening but its not like they actively sought answers. Once everyone was safe, you'd think one of the big kids would explore the grounds looking for a security room or try every phone in the building. Yes the kids tablets didn't work but even in this modern age businesses still have land lines. Also, unless the people in the town knew the gates in the store were impenetrable you'd think more survivors would be trying to get inside. When it comes down to it, I just feel the kids had it a bit to easy considering the circumstances. The biggest threat they encountered came a bit to late and even then was underwhelming since it was a bit predictable where things were heading.

Now with that being said, I still think this was a pretty damn fantastic debut. The pluses definitely outweighed the minuses so to speak. My favorite aspect of Monument 14 was the great cast of characters. I could really sense the individuality amongst them all. When character a. was speaking and b. chimed in I had no problem telling them apart. I especially loved the little kids. The children all had such distinct personalities from Ulysses the lonely Latino boy nobody could understand, to Chloe the boss. I loved each and every one of them although I admit I did pick Max with his great stories possibly tall tales as my favorite. I really hope that kid makes it. Amongst the "big kids" I liked Josie and Dean the most but honestly their was not one badly written character in the lot. A few were underutilized I'm looking at you Astrid and Alex but badly written nope.

Speaking of the writing, Loved it!! Some of the best scenes in the whole book were just those children sitting around talking to each other. The scenes were engrossing, moved the plot along nicely and really set the tone of things to come. I also really enjoyed the build up to the cataclysmic event that happens at the beginning of the book. Monument 14 starts off very mundane and then wham hailstones from hell, not 1 but 2 bus crashes and the elimination of a boat load of extra characters leaving us with the 14 locked inside the store. The action packed beginning of Monument 14 is intense, horrific everything I'd expect or want in a Disaster book and then some. Well done Ms. Laybourne, well done indeed.

Overall I can't wait to read the next book in the series Sky On Fire. I highly recommend picking Monument 14 up and giving it a go. I doubt you'll be disappointed. Therefore, In the end, I will be rating Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne ★★★★. Fantastic world building, great characters, and a fast pace plot combine to make this one of the best Debuts I have read in quite some time!


  1. Agreed! I thought it was a solid read, but things should have been a bit more tense.

    1. Yup, I was telling my husband that it felt a bit like introductory Apocalyptic. Scary but safe, tense but lighthearted. Definitely written with younger readers in mind.


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