by Emmy Laybourne
Published by Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends
on June 5, 2012
Source: bought from independent bookstore
I have categories of things I try not to think about: A) things I don't want to do, like fulfill my 2012 resolution to take up spinning and B) scary things that actually might happen.
Monument 14 begins with a cataclysmic chain of events which could actually happen.
In Monument, Colorado, two busloads of kids are headed to school in when they are caught in a freakish hailstorm. The bus carrying high school students crashes and its surviving passengers are pulled to safety by the driver of the elementary/middle school bus. A handful of kids from each bus manage to take refuge inside a Walmart-like superstore. By watching the TVs in the electronics section of the store, the kids learn about the cause of the hailstorm: a volcanic eruption created a tsunami that decimated much of the east coast of the U.S., then an earthquake caused a breech in the NORAD chemical weapons storage facility in Colorado.
The older kids know that the situation is bleak, but they also decide to put on a brave face for the younger kids until help arrives. Then scary stuff starts to happen to them as well: the chemical spill seems to be having a strange effect on some of the kids, and there are people outside the store, rattling the safety gate and begging to get in.
My thoughts: I enjoyed this book. It was one part page-turning suspense story, one part post-apocalyptic Lord of the Flies remake. Emmy Laybourne did a good job of giving each character a distinct personality, while adding some simmering conflicts and rivalries, Breakfast Club style. The tension waned a bit as the kids finally got everything inside the store under control. Then there was an interesting twist that had me chewing my nails a bit.
High school student Dean, the main character, is mostly an observer, with one of the least distinctive personalities of the group. His brother Alex, the electronics expert, was a lot livelier. Mysterious loner Niko was one of my favorite characters, as was beautiful Astrid, who revealed a unexpected tougher side.
If you can't bear the idea of committing to another series, I'm sorry to say that this book does end in a cliffhanger. I had mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, this book had the urgent pacing and succinct characterization of a movie, so I was expecting to get that satisfying feeling of credit-rolling closure by the time my hand hit the bottom of the popcorn bucket. I felt a little miffed when that didn't happen. On the other hand, I am curious to see how this plucky group of kids makes out.
If you liked Trapped by Michael Northrup or plan to watch Last Family on Earth, the new reality show that awards the winning family it's own survivalist bunker, Monument 14 should definitely go on your TBR list. It intrigued me, keeping my interest from the first page to the last.
Dying to read this? Scroll down to the post below this one and enter my Debut Authors Giveaway Hop. Monument 14 is one of the choices!