Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne is the post-apocalyptic (more like beginning of- and during-apocalyptic) novel about 14 children and teens whose school bus driver crashes into Greenway, a Wal-Mart like superstore, to protect the children from the baseball-sized hail beating down on Monument, Colorado. Everyone gathers relatively safely inside of the store, and the bus driver leaves to go find help. Days pass and no help comes. In a surprisingly democratic and mature manner, the teens and children work together to make the store liveable, safe, and even fun. And isn’t that every teen’s dream? To be locked in Target overnight and have free reign of the candy, gaming, and electronics aisles? The fun ebbs and flows, though, due to unsavory characters both in and outside of the store, health risks seeping in the vents from the outside, and the rising likelihood that maybe they will never get to leave the superstore.
Our narrator is Dean (called Geraldine by the resident bullies – because there’s always one, isn’t there?), whose younger, and much smarter brother Alex is trapped with him inside the store. He expertly describes the other 13 inhabitants of Greenway, ranging from a Spanish-speaking first grader to the overly-sexual 13 year-old Sahalia. The interactions between the teens are at times typical, at others times surprisingly mature. I appreciate that Laybourne gave the characters such depth; even the bully surprises the reader at times. Because of this, and the lack of cussing, I will recommend this novel to many teens. I think any teenager, 13 and up, would find this book fast-paced, funny and contemplative, and gives the reader something to think about, “Would I let them in?” “Would I have chosen Niko or Jake as leader?” “Would I stay?”
I feel that the market is saturated with dystopian/post-apocalyptic books, but this is a gem among them all.
Oh, now that I am at 50 books (in the 28th week of the year), I am reading an average of 1.78 books/week. If I keep up this rate I’ll have read 92.56 books by the end of the year. But sorry readers, I don’t intend on blowing past my goal of 75 by that much. I just plain have other things to do. Like sleep. And work. And plan my wedding to Shane. 🙂 232 days, but whose counting? (Oh, right…I am.)