Monument 14 Emmy Laybourne Book Review

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.

Monument 14 Emmy Laybourne Book Cover

Monument 14

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

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. For some reason when I heard of this book, I thought it wasn’t something I’d be interested in. I guess I figured it would be just like a lot of other YA dystopians. I didn’t even pay attention to what it was really about till I read your review. I have to admit that I am kind of interested in reading it now. I like that the protagonists are kids as opposed to teens and that they do look out for each other. I am curious about how bad of a natural disaster the world is outside the store. Thanks for your review!

    • Well, some of the protagonists are teens. There’s quite an age variety. And yes, they do watch out for each other which is rather wonderful and OMG if you are a disaster junkie, this book should appeal to you.

  2. Awesome review April! I too loved this book!

  3. Sounds interesting! I’m definitely NOT a Lord of the Flies can, so a story about kids surviving that isn’t reminiscent of it is one I’d be interested in! Thanks for the review! 😉

  4. So glad to hear you enjoyed Monument 41! Emmy is a doll and I am excited about reading her book. I’ve read some (what I thought were) overly-harsh reviews of Monument 41, but to each his/her own, I guess! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

  5. I have seen this book around a lot. I think I’ll have to pick up a copy soon because Lord of the Flies (minus the conch debacle) + Dawn of the Dead = a big yes for me!! 🙂

    So glad you enjoyed it! Great review!


  6. Great review, I love this book. My favorite little kid was Max because of all the stories that he would tell the others. The ending was so good and it really makes you want to know what happens next.

  7. I had read this book last week, it is an epic story about survival among 14 teenagers trapped in what is essentially a giant Target. Great characters, authentic dialogue, crazy, terrifying situation…. But honestly the best part of the book has been the ending!

  8. Ooh, a Dawn of the Dead overtone?!? Yes. I’m there (DotD scared the crap out of me, too!). I have this one on my shelf but its next move is into my hands.

  9. Oooh oooh oooh I want to read about this Survival Superstore! And about endearing characters that are also sort of creepers! Also, I may or may not have made it all the way through Dawn of the Dead so WOMAN don’t scare me like that.

    My fantasy of getting trapped in a store would be like…Häagen-Dazs. Does that count? Well, I guess it would be some store that had a Häagen-Dazs in it. And the Container Store. And a bookstore. Can someone write a survival book with those things in it? I have a feeling it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting.

  10. This book sounds like pure fun (despite the fact that it is an apocalyptic situation these kids are trapped in)! I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be stranded in a superstore (without the apocalypse happening, thank you very much), so that part of it already appeals to me!

  11. Onto my TBR it goes!

  12. Thank you fo da linky! Dean was just.. meh. I would almost have rathered he not be a developed character than be such a creeper.

  13. Monument 14 sounds really interesting. Zombies are okay and I do tend enjoy survival stories so this is definitely going on the TBR list. Great review.

  14. So it’s always been a dream of mine to be trapped in a superstore, and I think I credit the children’s book Corduroy with investing this dream. Doesn’t he wander around the department looking for his missing button so that he will finally be whole and that little girl will buy him? I really hope so, or else this comment will sound so dumb. But anyways, Corduroy made me want to get lost in a store because his adventures seemed so exciting to little girl me. And I didn’t really like Lord of the Flies that much (shame, I know) but I’m going to blame that on my not exciting English teacher at the time. You’ve made interested in this one. It sounds really different from everything else I’ve read recently & sometimes I need something different to totally shake things up.

    • CORDUROY! Omg I loved that book so much. And no, Hannah your comment does not sound dumb. I liked Lord of the Flies but I know a ton of people who hate it because of awful teachers.


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