By Emmy Laybourne, published by Hatchette Children’s Books.
In the town of Monument, Colorado the day begins as normal- Dean gets on his school-bus and the journey to school begins… Then suddenly, disaster strikes in the form of a freak hailstorm which sends down hail the size of footballs.
Soon, Dean finds himself trapped inside of a superstore with 13 others, including his brother, as the world outside turns to ruin with more hailstorms, giant tsunamis and toxic air that could turn you into a crazy, mindless monster. Dean is with thirteen other children, mostly scared kindergartners. Can he help take care of them as the world around them crumbles?
From the cover, this looked pretty amazing. From the synopsis, this looked pretty amazing. From the first page, it wasn’t that amazing. I didn’t really like the writing at the beginning- it didn’t really pull me in at all- but I kept on reading because I was sure the pace would pick up some more. It did, thankfully. I liked the plot idea so much- fourteen kids trapped inside a store and they can only watch on an old TV the emergency broadcasts of the tsunami’s wrecking the coasts. It was absolutely terrifying, and scarily realistic because all of these problems were natural disasters. I would’ve liked the author to highlight reasons why the air had become toxic, because that wasn’t really explained at all and I think and evil lab’s spill or something would’ve livened the story up more. I really did like the plot overall, as all of it left the outside world to your imagination because it was all set in the Greenway superstore, but it did get a bit frustrating at parts where the boys seemed to be more interested in dating Sahalia than worrying about how they were going to live. Why would anyone do that?
Where the plot was slightly lacking in terms of action, the characters definitely made up for it. All fourteen major characters were three-dimensional and realistic, especially the kindergartners. It just broke my heart as so many little innocent children were thrown into a world full of chaos and a struggle for survival. I really felt a lot of empathy for them- the author has definitely written this so you feel totally heart-broken for them. My only problem with all of the characters was Dean, the protagonist. He kind o annoyed me, because he really just sat on the sidelines and cooked the dinners for the kids. I would have liked him to get in on the action a bit more; maybe turn crazy due outside air and riot or something to add a plot twist.
Overall, Monument 14 was an okay read. I think the plot could have been filled with much more action in the middle- there was definitely some shocking parts towards the ending, though, so I liked that. I also think the main character could have been slightly more exciting and revealing about his past. Apart from those issues, Monument 14 made for a pretty emotional and gritty read, for teenagers. If you like apocalypse books particularly you’ll probably enjoy this, and the sequel Sky on Fire out soon. I will probably read the sequel though, as the snippet of it at the ending of this book made it sound a lot more action packed than Monument 14!