Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Monument 14 #1

Monument 14

Rate this book
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.

When Dean raced out the door to catch the school bus, he didn’t realize it would be the last time he’d ever see his mom. After a freak hailstorm sends the bus crashing into a superstore, Dean and a group of students of all ages are left to fend for themselves.
They soon realize the hailstorm and the crash are the least of their worries. After seeing a series of environmental and chemical disasters ravage the outside world, they realize they’re trapped inside the store.
Unable to communicate with the ones they love, the group attempts to cobble together a new existence. As they struggle to survive, Dean and the others must decide which risk is greater: leaving… or staying.

Monument 14 is a post-apocalyptic YA novel that transcends age barriers.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published June 5, 2012

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Emmy Laybourne

25 books1,220 followers
EMMY LAYBOURNE is a Young Adult novelist best known for her Monument 14 series, an internationally best-selling trilogy that has been translated into 9 languages. Her standalone book Sweet won a Junior Library Guild Award, was a YALSA Quick Pick and got a Perfect Ten rating from VOYA. Her latest books, Berserker, and Ransacker tell the story of a family of Norwegian teens with ancient Viking powers and are currently being adapted for television.

Emmy is a former character actress, and is occasionally recognized from her role as Mary Katherine Gallagher’s best friend in the movie “Superstar.” She lives outside New York with her husband, two kids, faithful dog and a flock of seven nifty chickens. Visit her online at www.EmmyLaybourne.com.


Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
7,690 (32%)
4 stars
8,450 (35%)
3 stars
5,303 (22%)
2 stars
1,496 (6%)
1 star
604 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,129 reviews
May 31, 2014
It was possible that Sahalia hadn’t realized she was pretty much sticking her butt in our faces. And maybe she hadn’t known just how sheer that shirt would get.
But it seemed to me she wanted us to see her body.
She wanted to be wanted.
Just by the weakness of the storyline and the nonexistent/unexplained setting alone and the extremely feminine and unconvincingly male narrator, this book is pretty fucking bad and best described as a "clusterfuck." When you add in slut shaming of a 13-year old girl, who almost gets raped because her would-be-rapist thought she was asking for it, that's when I fucking see red. But it's ok when the entire group, which has been slut-shaming her for her provocative dress for the entire fucking book suddenly tell her "it's not your fault you were almost raped."

No, that's not forgivable. It doesn't justify drawing the poor girl as a character to be reviled for the entire fucking book. Fuck that shit.

There is so much female hate in this book. It is a survival scenario in which the competent females in the book are portrayed as maternal nurturers instead of people who can actually hold their own.
Josie was a natural.
Where Astrid had that kick-ass camp counselor thing, Josie was a mom. A sixteen-year-old, middle-aged mom.
The girls are meek. They do what they're told. It doesn't fucking matter if they're competent. A girl is going to be a babysitter while the boys take care of business.
“Alex, help Jake. Figure it out. Astrid, keep the little kids out of the way.”
“Don’t stick me with the kids,” she protested. “I’m just as strong as you guys are!”
“Just do what I say!” Niko hollered.
She did.
The girliest boy in the group, naturally, is relegated to the role of cook, no matter how atrocious he is at it. The leadership roles are taken over by those who happen to have an Y in their chromosome, no matter if they're jealous, drunk, high, or future rapists.

And then there's the slut shaming of the 13-year old girl, Sahalia.

Sahalia is a 13-going on 30-year old, who dresses like a "hooker."
She had on a giant pair of men’s overalls, cut off at the knee. Under them she was wearing very little. A lace bra and matching lace panties. You could see the bra through them because the sides of overalls are totally open. You could also see the lace cutting over her hip. You could almost see where it connected with the thong part in the back.
It doesn't matter if the entire world is collapsing.
Sahalia was wearing what I can best describe as a costume. A sexy carpenter costume. Maybe a sexy farmer.
Sahalia will always manage to find the skimpiest possible outfit to wear.
Now her behind is facing us, and they are short shorts she is wearing. So we can see … too much. We can see skin under the leg of her shorts. The creamy skin of her inner, inner thigh.
It was like a Sports Illustrated bikini-issue spread.
Sahalia has an attitude. She doesn't like authority until a guy yells at her and tells her what to do.
“I can carry a stupid sledgehammer,” she sassed.
“Well, go get it then!” Niko yelled.
She hurried to the hatch.
Other girls slut shame her because to them, Sahalia is a little slut who dresses the way she does so she can attract male attention.
“Enough!” Josie said. “We get it, okay? You’re sexy and you want to have sex with these guys. We get it. But, honey, it’s not going to happen because you are thirteen. Thir. Teen. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“I’m fourteen in less than an month,” Sahalia answered.
“Go and put some clothes on,” Josie commanded her, pushing her out of the aisle.
So it's just the final fucking straw that Sahalia almost gets raped, and her would-be rapist tries to blame her for it.
“She’s crazy, that girl,” Robbie said. “She kept talking about how none of you think she’s a grown-up but how she is, and she wanted to prove it to you, and honestly, I was trying to get her to put back her nightgown on when that other crazy girl came with the gun.”
In the end, Sahalia's group believes her and supports her, but that support feels entirely forced when the entire fucking book, they've been criticizing her behavior, her dress, her desperation, and her rampant flirtation.

Fuck that shit.

Now for the actual plot. It's fucking horrible. This book is a YA novel with characters straight out of a Middle Grade book, and that's actually an insult to Middle Grade books because of how fucking poorly-drawn, clichéd, and one-dimensional the characters are.

The Premise: Let's take all the fucking apocalyptic scenarios in the entire fucking world and throw them together. Hail the size of a bucket? Yep!
Hail in all different sizes from little to that-can’t-be-hail was pelting the street.
An earthquake? Sure! A foreshock, even!
And here’s the hilarious part—it was a FORESHOCK. Apparently, that’s what happens when you’re about to experience an 8.2. It’s an earthquake so big it sends messengers ahead.
A volcano?! Yeah! A superfuckingvolcano that would make Mt. Krakatoa tremble (no pun intended).
The western face of the entire island had exploded with the eruption of the volcano. Five hundred billion tons of rock and lava had avalanched into the ocean.
Five hundred billion tons! How the fuck did they measure that, I wonder?

A tsunami? You got it!
The explosion had created a “megatsunami.”
A wave a half a mile tall.
Moving at six hundred miles per hour.
A chemical mushroom cloud? Sure, why not!
We have breaking news. There are reports coming in of a leak. A chemical leak. Chemical warfare compounds.
And while we're at it, let's just throw in some pseudo-science paranormal shit, too.
“The compounds attack based on blood type. People with blood type A will develop severe blisters on all exposed skin. After prolonged exposure, the internal organs will begin to hemorrhage, leading to organ failure and death.”

“People who have type AB blood suffer from paranoid delusions and possible hallucinations.”

“There is confusion as to the effects on people with type B blood. It is possible they will suffer from long-term reproductive difficulties and sterility. But there is hope that people with type B blood suffer no consequences from exposure.”

“People with type O blood, which is the most common blood type, will become deranged and violent. Avoid these people at all costs. Containing them in a closet or basement is advised, if possible.”
What the fuck is this? That's just...not plausible at all. Blood types have played a minor role in disease, but it's mostly concerning diseases like malaria and dengue fever...it's not that far in the future. Concerning all the clusterfuck of disasters that have been thrown at us, this seems to be too much of a stretch.

The entire premise is pretty unbelievable, too. It's 2024. Some years in the future. I know we can't prevent volcanic explosions, or earthquakes, but wouldn't we have an inclination if such a massively disastrous event would be happening? In this book, it all happened out of the blue, and everyone is shocked. The background is completely unexplained, and for some reason the government runs the internet airwaves. We have enough trouble getting people to use Microsoft and Apple Cloud technologies, and enough trouble getting all the internet providers to participate. The idea of a state-run internet is completely absurd, so close to the present.

Super Wal-Mart: The kids are trapped in the book's equivalent of a Super Wal-Mart, which is a store in which you can buy baby diapers, drugs, clothing, guns, and tractor parts all in one store. It's massive. It's the size of a football stadium, and really, a bunch of kids can live there in years if electricity holds up. And that's the problem, the power seems to work. The store has everything, and the kids are just a bunch of stupid brats running around inside a store, arguing with each other, getting drunk, and holding largely pointless elections.
“Guys, I am the QB,” he said. “That means quarterback! The quarterback is the guy on the team who calls the shots and makes sure everyone plays their best. And I’m gonna be a great QB for this team. Us. That’s why you should elect me the leader!”
Lord of the Flies, this ain't. It's such a juvenile story, slapdashed together, without a sense of urgency and danger, despite the millions and billions of death happening outside.

There is hardly any mourning for the dead, hardly any thoughts to parents and siblings and dead loved ones, or maybe living loved ones who may be suffering. The narrator is only focused on the present, and the present involves romance and sex, the apocalypse is just a convenient event to get close to a crush.

The Characters: Oh, the fucking tropes. The main character is a guy, Dean, but nicknamed "Geraldine" by his bullies. I can see why they did, Dean is one of the most unconvinging male narrators I've ever read, I mean what kind of teenaged boy worries about a CNN reporter's makeup when she's reporting about a volcano destroying the world?
Her eye makeup was all smeared around her eyes and I wondered why nobody fixed her makeup. It was CNN, for God’s sake.
There's the jock, Jake. The All-American girl and object of desire, Astrid, bad-boy jock Brayden, boy-scout and survivalist, Niko.
They hunted for their own food and had no electricity and used wild mushrooms for toilet paper. That kind of thing. People called Niko “Brave Hunter Man
The whore, Saharia, the Sainted-Mary Josie, the dull as hell "good guy" main character, Dean, his all-book-smarts and no common sense little brother, Alex, and a bunch of the most unbelievable, annoying little grade school fuckers that I've ever met. I've never been a fan of children in survival scenarios, and this book is no exception.

There's the 7-year old evangelist, Batista, who never, ever stops preaching the word of God.
I had already overheard him reprimand Brayden for cursing (“Taking the Lord’s name in vain is a sin!”), tattle on Chloe for pushing Ulysses (“Shoving is a sin!”), and inform the other little kids that not saying grace before eating was a sin (“Before we eat, God wants us sinners to give thanks!”).
5-year old Chloe, who never fucking stops whining.
“Turn it to Tabi-Teens,” Chloe whined. “This is bo-ring!”
“Put it to Tabi-Teens!” Chloe demanded. “Or Traindawgs or something!”
And 5-year old Max, that fucking Max can recite passages from any fucking conversation he's overheard.
“My mom once took me in the ladies’ room,” Max volunteered. “And there was this lady in there crying and she had a ice cube and she was rubbing it on her eye and she said, ‘If Harry hits me one more time, I don’t know what I’ll do,’ and then this other lady came out of a stall and she said, ‘If Harry hits you one more time, you give him the end of this to suck on!’ And she puts a real, actual gun down on the sink. Made of metal, I am not even kidding. And then my momma turns to me and goes, ‘Tell your daddy to bring you to the men’s room.’”
The Romance:
“Oh man, getting laid is so awesome,” Jake said, scratching his head. “It’s just absolutely the best thing ever. Once you get it, all you can think of is getting it again. Sometimes I’m having sex and I’m worried about the next time I’m gonna have sex!”
“You’ll get there, in time, Dean. You’ll discover for yourself the beautiful, beautiful world of the hot little clam.”
This book reads like a Middle Grade novel, which is why it's so fucking weird when all the sexual content start popping up. There's the episode when Sahalia almost got raped. There's the incident where Astrid takes her top off for a boy. There's all the sexual discussions that would be laughable if it weren't so out of place. And then there's Dean's FEEEEEEEEEELINGS for Astrid. The perfect Astrid. His observations about her are so obsessive and feminine it's like nothing but Astrid exists. Apocalypse? Whatever. Astrid. Kids are freaking out because they were just involved in a bus accident? Astrid's hair!
Astrid looked beautiful talking to them, hearing about their favorite kinds of pizza, with the wind picking up the tendrils of her hair and bringing a flush to her cheeks.
He dreams about Astrid in his darkest moments.
What I wanted was Astrid. She looked so good to me I wanted to take her, in a dark and terrible way.
He stalked her and watches her while she undressed.
Astrid’s body was so beautiful my throat closed up.
So smooth and wonderful and soft. She looked so soft. A sculpture of some Greek goddess awoken from cold stone into warm pulsing life.

As I watched, Astrid slid the straps of her bra onto her shoulders and fitted the lacy cups around her breasts.
My whole body was on fire for Astrid.
She's hurt? Doesn't matter! Still beautiful!
And there she was. So beautiful, laid out on my knees. She had her eyes closed, and for a moment, I just looked at her. Dirty face. Lips drawn together, chapped and rosy. Eyes red rimmed. The rise of her cheekbones. Eyebrows and lashes golden honey–colored. Some brown, dried freckle-dots that could be blood on her jawline.
*gag* You expect me to LIKE a main character who stalks his crush, who watches her undressing without her knowledge, who gives little thought to anyone BUT the beauteous Astrid as the world explodes in flames?

Fuck this book.
Profile Image for karen.
3,979 reviews170k followers
March 4, 2020
this 4 is a 3.5, just so you know. because i trashed the last book i read from this publisher, i felt bad enough about it to round it up to a four. such is my guilt complex.

and this book is fun, it really is. so we have a massive hailstorm that destroys the school buses our protags are taking to school. one of the drivers manages to crash the bus into a megastore, and the surviving kids hole up inside to wait out the storm. the driver goes for help, and the kids barricade themselves inside. after managing to get a television set working inside the store, they learn what has happened: megatsunami. earthquakes. the failure of the Network. and then...chemical leak outta NORAD. all of this is bad news.

so, whaddya do? you fortify your barriers, and make sure nothing and no one can get in. the chemicals leaking react differently depending on blood type, but none of the effects are good, man. some are downright violent. so it becomes a story about how you use the things you would find in a superstore to protect and defend,to keep the bad air out, but also make a nice little cozy home for yourself while you wait out the apocalypse.

because the ages of the kids range from 5-17, there is a wide spectrum of ability and emotional maturity.and they form a sort of family, relying on the know-how of a few, and enduring the limitations of the many. it is sort of sweet, and sort of frustrating at the same time.

dean, our main man, becomes the mr. mom of the group, a role in which he feels ill-equipped and never wanted, but he ends up being really good at it, helping to organize the kiddies into cooking and cleaning activities, and soothing the more troubled cases. his brother is also trapped inside with him, and their relationship becomes tense, but is one of the best-written and most realistic parts.

this isn't really an action book. it is more like this is not a test, in that it is about the psychological effects of a horrific situation. it is more about the practical steps that need to be taken in this kind of circumstance. so take notes.

loooots of things happen. deaths, fights, pharmacy-looting, lice, marauders, visitors, love triangles, unexpected alliances... i thought it was a mostly-realistic take on what a group of kids would get up to in tight quarters without supervision, in a situation that seems hopeless.

and i 3.5 liked it.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,030 reviews1,045 followers
August 23, 2016
Maybe 3.5? I'm still not sure.^^

I’m not very good at Science so I’m not the best person to ascertain the plausibility of a natural disaster consisting of a volcano erupting causing mega-tsunamis inducing hailstorms and causing chemical damage to air which if inhaled by people will result to various ghastly effects depending on the person’s blood type. It sounds pretty exaggerated and maybe even ridiculous but I don’t know, the whole thing kind of worked perhaps because the concept paved way for the story of how 14 kids try to survive this apocalyptic setting (Monument, Colorado and thus Monument 14) when they got stuck at a superstore after the onslaught of the disasters. Sounds convenient, eh? I’m not complaining because there are really cute chubby kids so it’s a small relief that they ended up there.

The story is told by Dean, a high school junior and the certified “booker” or more familiarly, the geek of the group. I like his character development. He seems very real. It’s just there were many times he turned me off. There’s this one incident during which he turned me off big time. You’ll understand when you read this. He did say sorry for it and was genuinely regretful but still...

What mainly attached me to the story are the cute little kids. I liked how the older ones had to take care of/over the younger ones and I also liked how the plot sort of resembles that of This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers where you don’t really see what’s happening outside the setting but could still visualize the doomed world outside.

Halfway through though, drama tension increased and the story has become more about the older girls and boys in the group which of course had to focus on teenage angst and hormones and rated PG scenes. Argh...Why can’t we just leave these scenes to NA novels? Also, nasty stuff occured including inappropriate behavior from a 13 year old girl and equally inappropriate response from older and supposedly more mature boys.

The last two chapters did the trick though of winning my favor over and the reason I will still be reading the sequel. So don't vex, Dayvid, my friend. It's still a good read and I thank you for recommending this to me. Check out his review.
Profile Image for Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews).
1,695 reviews875 followers
May 21, 2012
Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!

Monument 14 seems to have a lot of things going for it: killing hailstorms, a bus explosion, death and abundant destruction... and all that's just within the three chapters of the novel. This sounds like an action-packed read and like a thrill-ride from that promising initiation to main character Dean's survival story somewhere in the vague future. And it is all that, right? Right? Well....kinda, for a while. Monument 14 unfortunately falls prey to the trap of becoming mired in high school melodrama and love-triangles instead of focusing on the more original and striking aspects of the novel (things like the megatsunamis [not just regular ones, but megatsunamis], the kids abandoned on their own in a poor man's Walmart), which not only bummed me out but brought down the overall enjoyment I took away from the book. This one is going to get a bit spoilery, so DO NOT READ ON if you don't want to read some plot twists in the novel.

The 5- 17 year old cast of characters here are largely defined by their age, and their respective attitudes. None of them is particular defined outside stereotypical roles (The Jock [Jake], The Bully/Jerk [Brayden], The Perfect Girl [Astrid], The Mom [Josie], The Troubled Teen [Sahalia], The Brain [Alex], so on and so forth...) or experiences a whole lot of growth. Dean, the main character and the sole POV for Monument 14, is supposed to be the type of guy that's quiet and awkward, bookish, not quite mature but working for it, and overall, a likeable and relatable guy. But for me, he wasn't. I was iffy on his "voice" from the start as it didn't feel authentically male to me, but gave him the benefit of the doubt enough to keep reading past the first few pages of holy-shit-killer-hail-oh-hey-there's-already-a-dead-kid. Several things added up to my overall dissatisfaction with Dean as the main character: though I didn't love him, it took time for my antipathy to set in. Now, young Dean has a crush on Astrid, a senior to his junior, and worships the ground she walks on. We get to hear about Dean's fervent love for a girl he doesn't really know often. It gets repeated ad nauseam. C'mon kid: the world as you know it is dead, surely you can ignore Astrid's perfect back for another twenty pages. Or until you've had a real conversation with her, jeez.

Another problem I had with the characters here in Monument 14 are their attitudes. Not necessarily the expected teenage 'tude, but the intelligence and self-awareness that takes years to acquire shown in 5, 8, and 13 year-olds. I had expected the older bunch of high schoolers to act wiser than their years in a survival story and definitely got that in spades (I don't buy that Niko's Scout Training was that comprehensive for all the skills/abiltiies he has. I'm not a Scout, but it's awfully convenient) but the younger kids were abnormally aware when the book needed them to be. I'm talking 5-year old twins correcting adults' traveling plans because "no one travels at night" - what child knows that? And there's Max, the way way wise-beyond-his-years elementary schooler who knows about guns and domestic violence, and also Batiste the 2nd grader obsessed with sin and taking the Lord's name in vain and creative chef. I'm not saying it's impossible for children to be and do these things, but all of them, together, so aware and smart? It strained my credulity for a book about a chemical leak that can attack people differently based on their blood type..

Once the kids are in the store and safe from the killer hail and exploding bus, Monument 14 gets way too invested in teenage bullshit drama. Yes, this is a young-adult novel so I was expecting some form of romance to worm its way into my nice post-apocalyptic survival novel filled with murder machines. What I wasn't expecting was how much of the book is caught up in lovelife machinations, whining, and just overall drama. Why should I care if Niko harbors a secret love for Josie but Josie is with bad-boy Brayden if none of them have been developed into real characters? Why do I care about Dean getting to be with Astrid when he spies on her having sex with her boyfriend? (Also: is naming a girl's boobs a "thing" nowadays with young people? I'm only 24 but I find that: laughable, stupid and the opposite of arousing..)

So much of this novel seemed distasteful (like Dean's spying), over-the-top (like Jake's journey from sobriety to druggie to recovered addict) or just plain silly (all the damn love-triangles) that what was awesome about it gets lost early on. Megatsunamis, people, think about the poor neglected megatsunamis. While I was interested in the life in the Greenway Superstore and the kid's self-government there, and recovery is a necessary part of any survival tale, I wanted more on what had forced them into the store and kept them there so long. With the chemicals affecting people with O-type blood with bloodlust and loss of all reason, this should have been a much more suspenseful and creepy tale. Three of the kids in the store have just that type and Hulk out into murder machines if exposed, but beyond one slight threat, the O-ffected (heh, puns) don't really factor into the novel at large. There's a teen offed in the first ten pages but the rest of the novel doesn't live up to that level of death - which as macabre as this sounds, I was disappointed by. In tragedies, people die. In cataclysms and natural disasters like on this scale, even some of the initial survivors would die. While the kids sadly don't devolve to Lord of the Flies status (there's only one real fight and it's pretty one-sided and deserved), I had hoped for a more cutthroat approach to the 'after' part of this.

The ending does redeem Monument 14 a bit because it went an entirely different direction than the previous 280 pages had seemingly lead to. The surprise alone helped his pull a higher rating that the one I had preemptively assigned to it. I actually liked the bait-and-switch and think it will lead to a hopefully better, less romantically-inclined sequel. With all that said, the best line of the book: "I can always spare a moment to delouse a friend."
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,366 followers
June 8, 2012
We should all know by now, being stuck in a mall - or a superstore in this case - never EVER ends well. We've all had fantasies as children, imagining the awesome possibilities. Well, it's not all it's cracked up to be! Horror movies tell the truth! So yes, I was super intrigued by the premise of Monument 14 where a bunch of kids get trapped in a superstore to tough out what seems to be the end of the world. I didn't like it as much as I'd hoped, but it's an overall enjoyable read.

One thing that really bothers me about a writing style is when an author constantly feels the need to remind me of facts that has happened: Repeating information to make sure I'm "getting it". This is what I first noticed in this novel. Recapitulations are common and only amounted to making me feel irritated. "because, remember [...]" is even used, in case I wasn't smart enough to have caught on - to something that was particularly major in this case. This is a qualm many readers may not notice or care about, but it's a pet peeve of mine.

Quote I've always loved:
"The audience is only as smart as you allow them to be."

Just saying.

The book starts with a bang. We get acquainted with Dean on a day like any other when it suddenly turns disastrous. Monster hail, a bus crash, injuries, deaths - a pretty exciting starting chapter. After this, however, be prepared for a lot of cooking, sleeping, cleaning; basically playing house. I've talked to others who say it's meant to be a more psychological story, one that concentrates on the pressures of living through such a traumatizing event - and it is, I agree, but I never felt it. Until close to the end, these kids aren't giving off a very distressed vibe. After the initial shock, they all seem comfortable and carefree. Playing with barbies, getting high, pigging out: Indulging themselves with everything a chain store has to offer. I wasn't necessarily bored, but it wasn't an emotionally powerful read up to that point. About 50 pages from the end is where it starts getting more serious with some intense developments and a bleak glimpse beyond the store. The sequel definitely has immense potential.

The lack of a distraught feeling could also be due to the fact that we don't get a whole lot of information about the outside situation. It starts with the monster hail, then we learn of dangerous chemicals in the air, plus several other natural disasters - including a megatsunami. This all sounds highly ominous and sinister, except... we don't know what we're dealing with. What happened? Is this simply going to go away after 6 months as the news says, with things going back to normal and some minor setbacks? I don't think the author successfully achieves to create the strong sense of alarm and dread that was intended. These events are scary - actually, deathly terrifying - in theory, but the lack of suspense throughout 90% of the book makes it feel like they're simply unpleasant inconveniences.

Dean, socially awkward, is a bit of an outsider. I enjoyed his character overall and he's a really good guy, but I didn't find there was a lot of character building. At the beginning I was caught off guard when I learned he was male. It's not made clear until a few pages in and the adjustment took a little bit; I kept forgetting and making him into a girl. I do enjoy male POVs so it wasn't a disappointment, but I didn't find it an especially convincing male perspective. Along with taking a while for his gender to stick, I felt he was very... ordinary. I think the fact that there's such a big cast plays a role in this. We've got quite a few kids to keep track of and I found most of them to be a lot more interesting, taking my attention away from the main character.

It does seem like I have a lot of negativity towards this novel, but all in all I did like it. These mentions don't cause enormous problems in the bigger picture so I was still able to enjoy the story enough to garner a 3-star. I do give final credit to the ending, though, which has definitely upped the ante, giving us quite a bit to look forward to in the sequel.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Reynje.
272 reviews962 followers
February 11, 2013
If you want to read about surviving a cataclysmic disaster – Ashfall does it better.

If you want to read about people turning mysteriously and insanely violent – Dark Inside does it better.

If you want to read about a disparate group of kids holed up Breakfast Club style– This is Not a Test does it better.

I still don’t know what Monument 14 set out to achieve. Was it to be a gripping and intense survival story? A nightmarish portrayal of government experimentation gone wrong and let loose on the unsuspecting population? A Lord of the Flies style examination of human nature and the conflict between individuality and the common good? Because Monument 14 does none of things exceptionally well, let alone successfully combine all three.

This is baffling because while the novel contains many of the necessary elements for a suspenseful, high-stakes plot, the result falls flat. After a brisk start, the story becomes tedious and trivial. And though it’s arguable that being stuck in a department store is bound to become tedious, I felt that some opportunities to write something truly compelling were wasted.

Monument 14 is related by Dean, unofficial scribe of the group, who begins to record events in a notebook (considered quaint in the undisclosed future the story is set in). Dean wants to be a writer, and is referred to as a “booker” by jocks Jake and Brayden. The writing itself is straightforward and concise. Dean (or Laybourne) prefers to tell rather than show, and there’s a short, sharp cadence to the narration.

The opening chapters of the novel adequately capture the shock and fear of the group in the aftermath of the mega-tsunami, as they begin to discover that the violent hail storm is the least of their worries. From there, however, things descend into petty power struggles, boredom and ransacking of the store shelves, which is far less interesting than it should be. Former boy-scout Niko tries to maintain order, Brayden and Jake get drunk and high, Josie becomes a surrogate mother to the smaller children, Dean lusts after Astrid from afar.

They try to deal with the issues of dwindling electricity, head lice and avoiding the contaminated air. These are all issues that might reasonably be faced by a group of teens and children in such a situation, but there was no real sense of urgency or threat. The reasons for staying inside (homicidal maniacs, unstable conditions, unleashed chemical (?) weaponry) were not really developed or part of the story enough to create adequate tension for the plot.

Still, I might have enjoyed this book more had it not been for the manner in which Laybourne chose to instigate the climax. Of all the ways events could have been set in motion, why that one? Why? This is a disaster situation. There’s no running water. There are crazy, violent people outside. There’s some kind of air-borne, blood-type based weapon attacking people. SO WHY THAT? Why trigger things with

Monument 14 really missed the mark for me. So much of the potential went to waste here, and I do believe there was potential. It’s beyond me why the real elements of threat weren’t more fully developed and used in the story, because leaving it until book two is far too late for me.
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,890 followers
May 8, 2013
Lately, I’ve been growing increasingly tired of all the apocalypse scenarios we’re being bombarded with. Getting me to read one without whining too hard is no small feat, my friends. But even though Monument 14 has been getting some very mixed reviews, I felt weirdly drawn to it from the start and surprisingly enough, ended up enjoying it. We’ll call this intuition, although dumb luck might be more accurate.

Emmy Laybourne’s version of the apocalypse is what makes Monument 14 work. None of it is too hard to imagine: the chemical disaster, weather gone mad, people affected according to their blood type, child predators using the opportunity to do their absolute worst. Really, this could all happen tomorrow! When Dean and Alex woke up that morning, they didn’t even dream that they wouldn’t be coming home that day, that there would be no home to come back to. Who could have predicted that they wouldn't be going to school at all, but that they would end up in a superstore with twelve other terrified kids and with raging weather outside.

In such claustrophobic environment, characters become extremely important. Worldbuilding itself, while convincing and terrifying, didn’t do much to show Laybourne’s skill. Characters, on the other hand, showed how great a writer she is, despite this being her debut. She did more than just flesh out Dean and Alex, she breathed life into all 14 of her characters equally. Each name came with a complete person with opinions, backgrounds, traumas, and more importantly, coping mechanisms. We get a clear picture of each of them, even though we only see them trough Dean’s eyes.

Each of these kids reacts differently and Laybourne is an excellent psychologists. Everything her characters did made perfect sense in those circumstances, and she showed rather excellently how people deal with grief and fear in so many different ways. Some kids fight to be in charge and organize the others to increase their chances of survival, while the others raid the pharmacy for prescription drugs. Some even attempt to do both. Adding the smaller kids into the mix was a risky, but extremely smart move. It was them, or the need to take care of them, that kept the older ones from losing it.

For the most part, our Dean is no hero. He is not one of the popular kids, he is not smart like his younger brother, he has no talent for sports and his people skills need work. But there was something about his sardonic voice I found very easy to identify with and while he kept doing stupid and embarrassing things, I couldn’t help but sympathize. His thoughts and comments were often unintentionally hilarious, which only made me like him even more.

The almost-cliffhanger Laybourne left us with didn’t bother me as much as these things usually do. There was at least some closure, not an ending, but a new beginning, a change in the circumstances that promises a brilliant and thrilling sequel.

Profile Image for Jo.
268 reviews946 followers
March 22, 2012
I have wanted to get my mitts on a good natural disaster book since I finished Mr Mullins’ Ashfall so when I saw Monument 14 on Netgalley I practically fell over myself to request it.
Kids? Living in Walmart? Bad things happening to them? MEGATSUNAMIS?!
Yes. Yes. Yes. And oh my goodness, YES.
But, ladies and gentlemen, I am officially disappointed and sad.

I thought this book was going to be how I imagine what would happen if The Breakfast Club found that they had survived an apocalypse [something I imagine more than I am willing to admit. Fan fiction is in right now, yes?] and I was so excited. Because, come on, how awesome would Molly Ringwald be in a disaster situation?
Let’s just think about that for a moment.


But no.
There was no Molly Ringwald. There was no peril. There were no megastunamis. There was no crazy old man who had been predicting that all of this was going to happen but who everyone ignored because he’s crazy. There was no president who was deciding who should go into the underground bunkers.
There wasn’t even a Jake Gyllenhaal cameo, for goodness’ sake!

There was mention of all this scary and brilliant stuff happening in the outside world like some kind of mean “Look what you could have been reading” kind of thing… but… no.
We got some kids running around doing not much and moaning about it. And then an ending where everything in the entire world happens in the space of about three pages.
But I don’t want to talk about the ending because I have so many “Whaaaat? Whyyyy?! What is your reasoning for doing that apart from the fact there is going to be a sequel?!” thoughts, it’s making me sad.
Also, there were still no megatsunamis.

I guess this book wasn’t a complete bust, which is why I’m probably so disappointed. Because if it had been all completely awful I would have just gotten over it and struck Ms Laybourne off my list of writers that I like to read but there were great moments in this that if they had just been expanded this book would have been excellent. I probably won’t continue with this series but I’ll still be keeping an eye on what else she writes.
Also, those little kids are the cutest kids in the entire world. So sweet.

I can’t help but wish I had stuck with Mrs Woolly. I bet she had adventures…and megatsunamis.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley.

You can read this review and lots of other exciting things on Wear the Old Coat.
Profile Image for Ben Alderson.
Author 18 books13.3k followers
February 15, 2014
I finished this book within less than 5 hours! Its a great read! Can not wait to read the next one :D
Profile Image for Anna (Literary Exploration).
223 reviews120 followers
February 24, 2016
Omggggggggggg what an ending!!!!!!!

More of my reviews can be found on my blog: Literary Exploration

Monument 14 is an epic story about survival among 14 teenagers trapped in what is essentially a giant Target. Somewhat reminiscent of Ashfall by Mike Mullin (yet less violent) Monument 14 examines the different roles people take in the midst of a natural disaster. I loved this story from start to finish, and I devoured it in one day. There are so many characters, but each one has his/her own personality and I found it easy to distinguish among them as well as grow to love a few. The most actions is definitely in the first 50 pages, as well as the last 50 pages, but every moment contained a tense situation that had me wondering how I would react. Monument 14 is a roller coaster of emotions that will have you gripping the edge of your seat until the last page.

While Dean isn't the most admirable character, he is definitely realistic. He's flawed, yes, but he learns to deal with his insecurities and make the tough decisions that are called. He isn't your typical heroic male protagonist which I think is what made me fall so hard for him. I saw parts of myself inside of him. That person who longs for their crush from afar, lets jealousies get the better of them, and even succumbs to peer pressure. That was Dean, as well as myself, and that's what really drew me to him. His brother Alex is also an amazing character; he's brilliant to the point where he manages to save them all on more than one occasion.

The story itself is fast paced and psychologically thrilling. While there isn't much action, the pyschological aspects really drew me in. I found myself wondering, "What role would I take on in this situation? Would I be the leader? The guy doing drugs in the sports section? The mother?" It really made me wonder how I would handle the situation myself, and I think any book that makes you think like that is a winner. The different obstacles the kids have to face are insane, from crazy survivors to an infectious gas, it's all so surreal... yet so realistic. That's the most frightening thing about a book like this: It can happen in real life!

Emmy Laybourne has created an frightening situation in which teenagers must pull out all of their survival skills as well as grow up fast. Their psychological well-being is tested, and some fold under the pressure while others rise to the occasion. Monument 14 will have you flipping pages as fast as possible, because you'll need to know how it's going to end. 14 teenagers trapped in what is essentially a mall sounds like a party, but is it? Fans of post-apocalyptic, dystopian, and survival stories will love this one!
Profile Image for Sara Grochowski.
1,142 reviews567 followers
June 21, 2015
Emmy Laybourne's Monument 14 blew me away. I devoured this debut novel and, when I finished, I found myself in a satisfied stupor wondering where the past few hours had gone.

I sometimes have difficulty connecting to male main characters, so, when I opened Monument 14 and discovered that the narrator was one of the boys trapped in the superstore, I paused for a moment. I was entirely too interested in the premise to ever put down the novel, but I wondered if Dean would detract from my reading experience... I very much wanted to put myself in the position of the main character and I didn't know if I could make myself think like a teenage boy. I can't guarantee that Dean's thinking and actions were entirely true to life, but he felt realistic enough to me that I never forgot the fact that he was a boy, but I could still understand his emotions and motivations. In the end, I grew to like Dean a lot and I was happy that he, rather than one of the girls trapped in the superstore, was the narrator.

One of the most interesting aspects of this novel was the presence of small children as well as teens. I think having small children trapped as well added another dimension and sense of urgency to the situation. I found the differences between the reactions of each age group really put things into perspective... for both the characters themselves and the reader. It's already crazy that these teens are trapped and had to learn to trust one another and work together, but then to throw in small children that are alternately panicked or wanting to play and do something fun... the situation was terrifyingly real.

The giant hailstorm, the chemical weapons spill, the bus crashes, and the other events that lead to the fourteen kids being trapped inside the superstore all seemed carefully thought out and contained just enough detail to create a realistic picture within the reader's mind. The entire novel felt very cinematic. I actually found myself matching characters from the novel to people I knew in real life. Each character felt so impossibly real that my mind needed a three-dimensional body to go along with the personality Laybourne created.

Monument 14 has landed a spot on my Best of 2012 list. I'm already anxious for the next installment, as the novel ended on a cliffhanger... I seriously get shivers just thinking about the intensity of the final scenes!
Profile Image for eleni.
95 reviews34 followers
April 18, 2017
Aaah the post apocalyptic survival genre might be one of my favourite genres ever. Monument 14 is the first installment in a trilogy about 14 kids aged 5 to 18 who end up in a Greenway after a volcano eruption that caused a megatsunami. Now, they have to come together in order to survive. Basically some very different people become friends and eventually family. I will never be tired of this trope. I really enjoyed Monument 14 and I will be reading the second book soon!
Profile Image for The Girl with the Sagittarius Tattoo.
2,130 reviews269 followers
February 27, 2023
Before writing this I had to check when Monument 14 was published - 2012. Huh, I thought it was older. I guess things have changed a lot in only a few years.

Six high schoolers, six kindergartners, and two middle schoolers were lucky enough to get stuck in a superstore just as the world ended. A supervolcano erupts, ejecting murderous boulders, spewing toxic ash, poisoning the water, and triggering nuclear winter. And I can't forget the megatsunami that wipes out civilization along the coasts.

I love a good Post-Apocalyptic Survival Thriller. If this book was about actually surviving, set outside the store even a little bit, it might've been good. Unfortunately, what I got was a book about teenagers keeping 6yos calm by feeding them ice cream.

This is YA, so it has stupid crushes. It also has an oversexualized 13yo black girl, and the Hispanic kindergartner speaks very broken English with a thick accent. A Hispanic man they allow into the store turns out to be a pedophile. The two jocks/bullies just want to drink all the alcohol they find and occasionally beat up the other high schoolers.

I found the stereotypes irritating. It definitely made this book feel dated, which goes to show how pervasive and effective the cultural shift has been. They don't really publish YA books anymore with non-white/straight characters who are not good people (unless they are the foe of the non-white/straight protagonist). And I can't believe I didn't see a single review that mentions this.

Edit: I needed look no further than Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies for a righteously punishing review of all the BS in this book. When I grow up, I want to be as badass as Khanh.

Oh well, it doesn't matter. I have zero interest in reading any more of this dumb series anyway. I almost DNF'd it, but made a poor choice instead.
Profile Image for Mrs. S.
223 reviews14 followers
November 1, 2012
The voice! The pacing! The ending! I really enjoyed Monument 14, and this is another one I think my students will get really into. It's a quick, engaging read about a group of kids and teenagers stuck inside some kind of superstore during a series of natural and chemical disasters. It reminded me of Michael Grant's Gone series and The Girl Who Owned A City by O. T. Nelson. I've seen some other reviewers who weren't so keen on the voice of the protagonist, Dean, but I thought it felt just right, age-wise. It was also frequently funny and even more frequently kind of heart-breaking, especially in a few key moments toward the end. I liked the inclusion of the little kids, who were a pretty accurate mix if my days of being a summer camp bus monitor are any indication, and I liked Dean's evolving feelings about them. And the ending just sits up and begs for a sequel, which I'm sure is underway. If you're a fan of survival stories, or if you've ever dreamed of living in a Target superstore, check this out when it hits shelves on June 5th.

**Disclosure: I received a free advance Kindle copy of this book through NetGalley.**
Profile Image for Annemarie.
249 reviews687 followers
August 8, 2017
After reading this book for the second time (three years after the first time), I'm changing my rating from 5 to 2 stars!
This time around, I had several problems with the story. The plot is great, it just isn't executed very well.

The older kids seem a bit too calm and collected right after the tragedy happens. There is an overall lack of emotion, it's hard to believe that two of the characters are brothers. When there are emotional or romantic moments, they come out of nowhere and seem over the top, because there is no build-up. There isn't any build-up to anything to be honest, so all dystopian aspects sound extremely unrealistic.
I also felt absolutely no connection to the characters, which I think is mainly due to getting no real look inside of their minds or emotions. I just couldn't connect and didn't care about them.

Thanks to the huge amount of short sentences, this book reads more like a journal written without passion or excitement. Because of that, I constantly felt like I missed out on important things, I just wasn't getting enough information or details.
Let's hope the other two books in the series are better...
Profile Image for Darla.
3,352 reviews527 followers
April 5, 2017
I found this story to be believable and terrifying. I enjoyed having a teenage boy as the narrator and view the disaster and the aftermath through his eyes. The Greenway was a great place to be stranded and it was interesting to see how the kids were able to organize and use the resources available to them. Looking forward to Book 2!
Profile Image for Gertie.
358 reviews276 followers
March 10, 2019
Incomplete, but it is a trilogy after all. Easy reading, fun enough, we'll see if I remember what it's about after time passes. (Can't remember if the title was ever explained.)

I wanted to read more about Max because he was entertaining as hell and made me laugh a few times.

Ebook ends at 72% which is frustrating because it will sneak up on readers.
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 7 books1,211 followers
April 18, 2012

Great concept but not well-executed or developed.

Dean, his brother Alex, and 12 other kids (ranging from elementary kids to high schoolers) are stuck on their school bus when crazy hail begins falling from the sky. They seek shelter at the local Greenway -- think Walmart -- and are essentially cut off from the world falling apart around them. This is set in a future world, not ours today.

The idea of a group of people being trapped inside a store is what hooked me. They're going to have to depend on one another to survive. Except, by being in a store, they have every single convenience there for them. Food? Got it. Utilities to cook? Got it. They have electricity here, for the most part. But no running water

It was interesting to watch the characters figure out how cushy they had the end-of-the-world thing but this was in and of itself the entire problem: there was absolutely no external threat.

There was nothing going on to make these kids have a real story. Obviously, they wanted to leave and find their families but there was nothing stopping them from doing so except themselves. It didn't make an interesting story. They just...did nothing and had no real fears except the ones they made up in their heads. That's boring to a reader.

In addition to having no external threats in the book, there were too many characters, and they weren't compelling. I did appreciate Dean and his brother Alex's relationship, but beyond that, there wasn't much in the way of character development. Dean fixates on a couple of the girls, but he doesn't advance on them. There's one scene, actually, where he does fixate on Astrid, and reading it reminded me of another book I read this year about kids trapped together in a building.

Which brings me to another thing about the characters that didn't work and a plot point which made me uncomfortable. The entire portrayal of Sahalia left me cold and bothered, particularly because this was the only advancement of her and it was the strongest advancement of any of the secondary characters (aside from ).

Additionally, there was no development of a future world at all. There was the catastrophe and the mundane detailing of life in the store, but never did this story feel like it was set in the future. What I needed to know was what was causing the world to collapse? Traces of government conspiracy existed, but it was minimal.

This is the first book in a series, and the ending isn't a conclusion. While that in and of itself isn't a problem, the fact the story doesn't set up external threats, under develops the world, and offers little in the way of compelling characters doesn't leave me interested enough to pick up book two. Other books have taken this sort of story line and done it so much better by offering characters who are fully developed and interesting, as well as well-written worlds. Monument 14, however, settles is much more about the mundane details of life inside a big box store, which is boring. There's not an emotional investment on the part of the reader because there's not an emotional investment on the part of the characters. If they're not going at this with their heart, I'm not going to, either. I think had this story cut out the unnecessary day-to-day stuff and instead focused on the story, there would be no need for additional books.

Also, the blood-type disease issue could have been it -- the driving force and the threat -- but it's so overlooked and understated that it felt like it was tacked on, rather than an important plot element.

Pacing was inconsistent because of the focus on the mundane. The story sped up at the instance of change and of threat, but because those moments were few and far between, the pacing was otherwise slow. Not a standout book.
Profile Image for Jay.
514 reviews369 followers
June 5, 2012
WOW. That was my reaction at the end of the book. That was ONE HELL OF A RIDE! Throughout the whole book I was addicted, I could not put it down, kept on reading and reading and I guess I blame my new fascination in survival novels. Put a bunch of characters in an enclosed area and let them try to survive and you've got a very happy reader (me). However Monument 14 just didn't lose its momentum! It kept on going and the addition of little kids into the mix was just pure genius. I found the characters in Monument 14 much more likable, even though some were plain old jerks, however they all at some point banded together because in they end they all want to live. Also, the addition of the little kids gave them more responsibility and they upped they carefulness and just dimmed on their selfishness. I did have one or two characters that I just did not like, including one of the 13 year olds and a typical senior jock.

What I love in survival books is how the survival instincts of the characters kick in, and their race against time, limited resources, and basically staying sane in order to survive begins. In Monument 14, you experience all of that through the characters, and even though its told from a male POV, and I'm not fond of them, I actually felt connected to him, except for his a little too desperate one sided crush on one of the other characters. I really enjoyed Emmy's writing, the sequencing of the plot, and how she stuck to logic throughout the books, and trust me while this might seem as an obvious thing, a lot of authors derail from it towards the end of the book.

I must say, I loved the chemical spill and how different blood types react differently to it, my only question is, how can they not know their blood types? Emmy adds in the fight for survival, natural disasters, but doesn't forget the emotional side of the story, and I loved how the little kids were taken care of, how the kids grew attached to some characters, and it broke my heart to know they don't have their parents at such a young age and very crucial time. Also there is some romance thrown between some of the characters, I honestly had mixed feelings about the romances in the book but since they don't take up a big part of the book, I didn't give much thought to it. However, we reach the end of the book and then there becomes a HUGE point to the romance, because that ending? wow.

All in all, Monument 14 was such a thrilling novel, and I did not even know it was part of a series until I started writing my review so I am a bit giddy about that, since the ending was a bit unsatisfactory and open ended, but knowing there is a sequel? oh my, I can't contain my excitement waiting!!

more reviews on Maji Bookshelf
Profile Image for Tink Magoo is bad at reviews.
1,248 reviews194 followers
February 21, 2017
The whole story is told from Alex's POV; from what I can remember his age is never confirmed, so I assumed he's about 16/17. I thought it was pretty authentically written and believable. I'm not a teenage boy obviously, but I do own one of the creatures and Alex's thinking seemed age appropriate and pretty spot on to me.

Set in the future (2024) there are a few differences - there's a fuel shortage for example so all students have to take the bus, all electronic devises are run off 'the grid' which is supposed to provide internet coverage no matter what.

A super volcano has erupted causing a rippling effect across the world with natural disasters ending life as we know it. Alex and a small group of children are saved from killer hail by a quick thinking bus lady who drives straight through the doors of the local supermarket (100 points for the dream end of the world location). So the story unfolds.

For a 200+ page book that's told completely from inside a supermarket it keep my interest all the way through. It's not a thrilling book, not a great deal happens, but it works. And you're left knowing the next book is going to be action packed.
Profile Image for Karen’s Library.
1,064 reviews163 followers
May 10, 2014
This is one of those books that I couldn't stop reading and thought about it while I was working, wishing I could take time off work to read. As soon as I finished the last page, I promptly bought the 2nd book so I wouldn't miss a thing. What a pleasant surprise!

There's something about realistic apocalyptic stories that draw me like a moth to a flame. This book is set in a super store where 14 kids hide out from a very scary apocalyptic world.

I ended up buying one book after another and binge read the series! Thank you Emmy Laybourne for giving me back my obsessiveness of reading these past 3 days!!
Profile Image for TheBookSmugglers.
669 reviews1,985 followers
August 23, 2012
Originally Reviewed on The Book Smugglers

The day begins like any other. Dean hears his mother calling out that his bus has arrived to take him to school, and he rushes out the door to make sure he gets on in time. The bus ride is uneventful until impossible large hailstones start falling from the sky, destroying hapless cars and causing the bus to crash in a spectacular wreck. Luckily for Dean and his fellow bus-riding high schoolers, they're picked up and saved by the elementary and middle school bus, and find shelter from the bludgeoning hailstones in a Greenway superstore (the fictional equivalent of a Super Target/Walmart/Costco). Left to fend for themselves while the only surviving adult, the bus driving teacher Mrs. Wooly, goes to find medical help for the battered students, the group awaits for the authorities and their parents in the store.

When Mrs. Wooly doesn't return, however, things start to get ugly. The Network (think internet) is inexplicably, impossibly down. The group - an assortment of six high schoolers, two eighth graders, and six children - is finally able to catch a television signal that explains how a massive volcanic eruption triggered a tsunami that wiped out the east coast of the United States. Further environmental catastrophe soon followed - including the terrifying hailstorm and supercell storms stretching from the kids' location in the Colorado Rockies down to the Southwestern US.

While the kids try to soak up this information and figure out their next move, a massive, unprecedented earthquake hits Colorado - and shortly after, the kids hear the most terrifying news to date. The earthquake decimated NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command), causing the breach and leak of top secret biochemical weapons. Panicked and terrified, the children sequester themselves to the store, sealing off exposure to the contaminated air outside. And within the confines of the superstore, they wait. They fight. They struggle to survive.

So. Monument 14. Where do I begin?

Let's start with the good: Emmy Laybourne's debut novel is an undeniable page-turner. I love the underlying cause of the apocalypse in this novel - which, unlike most contemporary apocalyptic books, does not directly blame the demise of the planet on human action. Instead, Monument 14 is frighteningly plausible.

The book is written competently, narrated in the first person by the bookish junior Dean, who is refreshingly neither a hero nor a planner, neither a jock nor a genius. Dean is, simply, Dean - fallible, flawed, but ultimately a relatable character. I also enjoyed seeing how the kids within Greenway organize themselves, figure out how to ration power and resources, how to delegate tasks, and the struggles they face both internally and externally, amongst themselves, and later amongst outsiders.

This is where the praise ends, however, as some MAJOR un-ignorable problems crop up.

WARNING: This next section of the review contains some SPOILERS. If you do not wish to be spoiled, skip ahead to the "END SPOILER" tag.

My experience with the book is certainly not going to be indicative of anyone else's, and perhaps others will interpret the characters - particularly the portrayal of the female characters - in a different, more favorable, way. For me, I had a visceral negative reaction to the subtextual message offered by Monument 14. I might stick around to see how the next book plays out, since this novel ends on something of a cliffhanger with no resolution, and I did appreciate the chilling novelty of the chemical agent affecting different people in different ways based on blood type. But ultimately, can I recommend this book? No. I certainly encourage others to read it and form their own opinions - I'd be interested to hear what you think, if you've read the book - but, unfortunately, Monument 14 did not do it for me.
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,030 reviews2,604 followers
June 7, 2014
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum: http://bibliosanctum.blogspot.com/201...

A little bit like Lord of the Flies meets The Breakfast Club meets The Mist, Monument 14 is about a group of children holed up in a superstore after a freak hailstorm causes a chemical leak from the nearby weapons manufacturing site, leading to contamination of the whole town.

On the surface, this book seemed like it had a lot of potential. Books featuring kids in stressful, survival situations always seem more chilling and disturbing to me than books starring their adult counterparts. Children, after all, are the picture of ultimate innocence; in an ideal world we wish to protect them from all the troubles and anxieties of adulthood. Even most adults would be ill-prepared to handle a sudden disaster, so I can’t even imagine how much worse the burden of responsibility would be to a teenager. Without strong guidance and a lack of organization, it’s not surprising how quickly a group situation can devolve.

The kids in this book range from ages 5 to 17, all stranded passengers from a couple of school buses that were wrecked by the severe storm. Naturally, a hierarchy of leadership develops, with the older teens taking care of the young’uns. The dynamics are made more interesting by the differences not only in the characters’ ages, but also in their personalities, backgrounds and upbringing. Unfortunately, this does mean that almost everyone is pigeonholed into rather predictable and clichéd stereotypes. Main protagonist and narrator Dean is the “booker”, a quiet and somewhat awkward late-bloomer who has long harbored a secret love for Astrid, the popular and perfect hot girl. Astrid however is the girlfriend of Jake, the football jock. Among the high-schoolers, there’s also the bully/bad boy Brayden, the solemn and live-by-the-book Boy Scout Niko, who happens to have a thing for the kind and motherly Josie. The roles are cast, and the stage is set for some serious teenage drama.

The younger kids actually proved more intriguing and to have more well-rounded personalities. A couple of them genuinely surprised me, displaying a level of maturity and problem solving skills that even surpassed some of the teenagers’. In fact, I think one of the book’s main weaknesses is its gradual divergence from the “we’re all in this together” theme towards a greater emphasis on the relationships and soap-opera aspects of the older kids. The story was a lot more engaging at the beginning when the whole group dealt with the challenges of surviving together, addressing issues like mob mentality, who should be in charge, and how to explain the situation to the elementary children who are frightened and don’t understand why they can’t go home. Once the focus shifted to become more about “who’s crushing on whom”, the book became more typical and less special in my eyes.

While I loved the premise, another strike against this book is the whole reason why Dean and the other kids are trapped in the superstore. The explanation given – that the chemical leak is a gas causing different reactions based on the exposed victim’s blood type – is a bit weak and unconvincing. Victims with O-type blood will become mindless violent savages, while another type would break out in boils and blisters, while yet another type would experience no outward signs but may suffer infertility and reproductive difficulties, etc. Leaving aside how such an absurd model of symptoms made me want to bash my head against the wall, the theory of the chemical disaster did not feel that well thought out. It felt like the author needed a reason to put the kids in this particular jam, and seized upon the first idea to come to mind without fleshing it out, giving it more logic or detail. Perhaps that’s why the book also threw in the extreme weather and a massive disaster on the east coast, just to make the situation bigger and severe than it is.

As expected, Monument 14 also left off on a cliffhanger (these days, I’d be shocked if a YA novel didn’t). Still, it’s a strong start, with a great idea to work with, and just a tad wobbly on the execution. I haven’t decided if I want to continue with the series yet. Looks like it’ll be another short, quick read, so if the opportunity arises, I may take it.
Profile Image for Jasprit.
527 reviews748 followers
May 1, 2013
With survival type stories, I’m either here or there, they either win me over completely (This is Not a Test) or annoy me to death. Monument 14 kind of fell in the middle, there were parts which were riveting and had me on tenterhooks and there were others which felt a little flat.

Monument 14 starts off with a bang. On the way to school Dean’s bus is pelted with hail stones so big that they’re tearing through the bus. There’s chaos on the road that causes their bus to overturn. Kids end up dead and it’s only because of Mrs. Wooly the elementary middle school driver that helps them out and helps them hide out in a store. When Mrs. Wooly goes to search for help, the 14 kids are left in charge.

The kids were left in an awful situation, they hadn’t a clue about what was going on outside, but still had to try and survive on their own means. There were always dangers lurking outside who were finding a safe place to stay, but who could they trust? Could they ever trust each other? The kids were left with a lot of responsibility, they had some really young children to look after, keep them occupied and give them the necessary attention whenever they were distraught. Niko surprised me with his level headedness; he was calm, collected and always wary of anyone joining their group. I liked the stability and routine he tried to achieve amongst the group. But I really felt sorry for him when he had no-one at first and was just left at the side with everyone clambering at the popular lads Brayden and Jake.

Dean was a hard mc to like, I did enjoy getting the story through his eyes, but wasn’t really able to connect to his character as I would have liked. Maybe that’s why I found it myself favouring Niko and Josie more, in my eyes they were characters I would more likely to get on with if I found myself in a similar situation. But the secondary characters definitely made up for it. I enjoyed getting stories from Max, Henry and Caroline, but definitely would have liked to get more of their back stories.

My feelings about Monument 14 are kind of hot and cold, I did find a lot of the time some scenes were really drawn out and my attention wavered quite a bit. But then we had some great pacier scenes with the risk of danger that I found myself zipping through in a frenzy. As I’m so torn, I’m not actually sure whether I would give the sequel a try, the way things were left, I definitely do want to find out how things end up, but I don’t really feel in a rush to do so. Monument 14 was a great start to a series, but I wish that it had left more of a lasting impression with me.
Profile Image for Brenda.
1,516 reviews66 followers
July 24, 2015
Fuck this book. Really.

Let's slut shame a 13 year old.
Let's have an idiotic jock who starts out golden boy then drugs himself up the entire thing.
Let's have a boy who can't do anything besides bully people even at the end of the world.
Let's have a ridiculously fictitious boy who apparently is a genius at all things logical (beyond his years)



Just no.

The irresponsibility is staggering. Screw this book.
Profile Image for Colleen Houck.
Author 39 books8,964 followers
April 17, 2015
What a frightening thought to be a kid trapped in a store as the world crumbles around you. At least there is food and water and sleeping bags. And with half the kids being elementary school age, it made the story have a much scarier feel.
Profile Image for Sarah {Literary Meanderings}.
680 reviews282 followers
April 18, 2012

♥ Find my reviews on Blogger ~ Reviews by Bookish Sarah

- - -

3.5 stars

When? September of the year 2024
Where? Monument, Colorado

Monument 14 opens up to two brothers making way to their respective buses to get to school. Dean, our narrator, is a high school student. Alex, his younger brother, is in 8th grade which means he takes the bus for the grades K-8.

Dean is observing the daily commotion that is the high school bus when, all of a sudden, hail of all shapes and sizes begins to pummel the bus. The driver loses control and the bus flips. The students then begin to panic; some are injured, some dead, and others just in shock. While hiding beneath a seat, Dean notices that his brother's bus driver, Mrs. Wooly, has driven the K-8 bus right through the glass doors of the neighborhood Greenway store (basically it's a super Wal-Mart) to get the children out of harm's way. Mrs. Wooly then brings the empty bus back out to help the students trapped in his own bus.

Once everyone is inside Greenway, Mrs. Wooly makes the decision to leave the store in search of help for a girl with a head injury. The hospital is nearby, so her plan is to walk there. After insisting that everyone else stay safely behind, she departs on her own.

Now, only 14 remain. Kids and teens ranging in age from 4-17.

Soon after Mrs. Wooly leaves, the group learns of a chemical compound that has been released into the air. It's deadly effects vary depending on blood type. It's the disaster to end all disasters.

- - -

This novel had amazing potential, if you ask me. One of the things I was unhappy about was the fact that there were all these amazing, scary natural disasters going on outside and we barely got to experience any of it. Volcano blasts, earthquakes, tsunamis, extreme weather, etc. We get but a small glimpse of it in this book. While I think the idea of a group of kids being trapped in the store is really neat and it was done well, I would have liked for us to experience the outside, in some way, more than we did. That is the main peeve I had with this book.

Another issue was the chemical compound. Again, same thing. It wasn't explained enough. We know who did it (sort of), but not why they did it. We know what it does to people, but again, not why it was made to do that. This book is the opener to a series, so, like many other books out there, I can only hope we are to be enlightened in the next installment. Nothing was wrapped up at the end of this book and that just sucked, plain and simple. If anything, we were left with even more questions!

Something I was very impressed with was how each character had such a distinct personality. Making each person in a group as large as 14 people stand out seems like a huge feat to me. I was worried I would get confused and have the characters all mixed up, or forget about some of them entirely. Early on, though, the author gave us pieces of each one that would help us remember. She gave them all a certain quirk or trait that held them apart from everyone else. For example, Alex - he was a genius with electronics. Chloe - she was a whiner. Max - he had horror stories galore of his neglectful parents (but didn't actually realize they were horror stories). Brayden - he was the asshat of the group, pure jerkitude. I could go on, but the point is, each person had a place. It was simple, even from the very beginning, to keep them all organized in my head.

There is a small element of “romance” in the story. It's done differently than I would have expected, but I enjoyed it none the less. Astrid, popular blonde gal, has held Dean's interests for years. He secretly covets her from afar while she is having a relationship with another high schooler trapped in the store with them. There is a huge surprise at the end involving these three and I think it added a lot to the story and paved the way for an entirely new disaster in book 2. I am anxious to see how the situation pans out... very anxious!

I wouldn't call this book “action packed” necessarily, but there was always something going on. Always a new disaster or issue that the group had to overcome. They had to constantly utilize the things they had at hand, and I was impressed by some of the things they came up with. I can't say that I would have done the same (but if ever I am trapped in a Wal-Mart store during the apocalypse, I know who to thank for some of my survival tactics!) in such a situation. The kids made that store their new home and it was just really neat to read about all the things they came up with to make the best of the place. There was never a dull moment throughout the book and I found it very hard to stop reading.

Overall, this read was pure entertainment. Some of the events were a little random and we did miss out on some really great opportunities for action-packed natural disasters, but overall, it was enjoyable for me. I enjoyed the characters. I enjoyed reading about how each person was dealing with the crisis, as well the survival tactics they used - many were inventive and surprising. I think the fact that the kids ranged so much in age gave us the opportunity to experience the catastrophe & its' after effects in a many different ways. It was a nice opener for the series and I definitely plan to continue it.

*There is some swearing, a bit of gore/violence, and sexual content. The swearing was censored out (examples: “Open the f------ door!” & “You're an a--hole.”), but it was still there.*

- - -

Book source: NetGalley
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
Profile Image for Anabel.
654 reviews115 followers
November 1, 2017
Con una narración muy sencilla y ágil el libro me ha durado día y medio. Lo mejor es que no se anda por las ramas y pronto nos encontramos con unos personjes en peligro y sobreviviendo. Ahora tengo mucha curiosidad por saber qué pasará en el segundo, espero haberme pronto con él, lo bueno es que están ya publicados en España.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,129 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.