Who among us has not had the fantasy of being trapped in a superstore, able to use whatever product and item you want? Emmy Laybourne, debut author, explores this exact scenario in Monument 14 with much less pleasant circumstances than my fantasy. Y’all this book TOTALLY delivered what I wanted from it — an exciting story that took me out of a hot day and put me in a superstore of survival.
Dean’s day begins ordinarily enough. He and his younger brother Alex are almost late for the bus. On the way to school a giant hail storm strikes and dents car roofs and kills a lot of people. Among the dead is the driver of the bus as well as several of the passengers, other students. Luckily, Dean is able to escape onto the elementary bus with thirteen other kids. That bus driver, Mrs. Wooly ends up taking them to the Greenway superstore which is pretty much a Walmart.
The riot gates are up and the bus driver leaves the kids in charge while she goes to the hospital for help. What results is a gripping story of teamwork and survival that thankfully does not feel derivative of Lord Of The Flies. I mean, I liked Lord Of The Flies, but I already read that story and am down for a new one. What makes Emmy Laybourne’s debut different is that although it is a group of kids surviving together, they take care of each other. They work together. There’s no conch shell situation, thank goodness.
The characters of Monument 14 are each compelling on their own with memorable traits. Like one of the little kids, my favorite actually, Batiste, who is uber religious but awesome at cooking. As for Dean, the narrator, at times I thought he was a creeper with his crush on Astrid, one of the girl survivors. At other times, when Dean interacts with the elementary kids and cooks with them, he is rather endearing. I mean, Dean’s an interesting narrator. He’s not the leader of the group, but he also is not a total outcast or anything. He is sort of on the edges.
I should also mention one of the reasons I was on edge while reading. The setting of the store reminded me of Dawn Of The Dead, which you guys, scares the piss out of me and I kept waiting for zombies to show up like in the movie which I have never seen all the way through because I get so scared that I have to shut it off. I know, that’s ridiculous because there are actually no zombies in the summary or anything and I guess, okay in a slight STRETCHING way there are zombies, which is terrifying.
Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne is a book that I keep recommending to my friends. If survival is totally your kryptonite, you need to read this book. It is a fantastic, enthralling read that had my fingers turning the pages at maximum speed.
Disclosure: Received for review.
Other reviews of Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne:
YA Bibliophile – “I got caught up in the story and the pages seemed to fly by.”
Literary Exploration – “Fans of post-apocalyptic, dystopian, and survival stories will love this one!”
Hobbitsies – “basically apocalyptic genius”
Reut Reads – “The survival aspect of this book was really great”