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.
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.
(Synopsis and Image from Goodreads)
Monument 14 is very similar to books like This is Not a Test, Quartine, and other – where teens are trapped in a space (in this case it’s a supermarket) and various issues present themselves. But, unlike other books like this I’ve read, there are younger kids – not just high schoolers.
When Dean’s bus breaks down along with his brother’s on their way to school as too large to be normal hail rains down on them, fourteen kids – from elementary school children to high schoolers – are brought into a mall and told to stay there. Then the only adult with them leaves to go find help. Obviously, they don’t come back. The fourteen kids are faced with deciding the fate of themselves, dealing with the unusual issues that are presented to them, and getting just plain annoyed with each other. As they become more and more worried about what the future holds – along with where their parents are – the outside world is moving on, and the kids don’t know what is going on.
This book is told from the perspective of Dean, a boy with a crush on one of the girls he is trapped with, who loves his younger brother Alex, has a knack for poetry, and is one of my favorite male POVs. I really liked how Emmy Laybourne took his flaws and brought them out, made him uncomfortable in some situations, and put him in super awkward scenes.
The ending of this book was so right. The choices the characters made seemed natural, and I totally understood why they made the choices they did. Dean stayed true to himself, and Alex, his little brother, made a choice that was hard, but it made sense. The end of this book was satisfying, and if there wasn’t a second one, I would be fine.