Book Review: Monument 14


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.

First line:Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus.”

Title: Monument 14
Author: Emmy Laybourne
My Edition: A hardcover from Feiwel & Friends published in 2012 with 294 pages.
Age: Young Adult (17+)
Series: Monument 14 (3 books in total)
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Apocalyptic, Survival, Adventure, Fantasy

This book parts me. Like I’m two people with two completely different opinions on the book. So I thought, why not give you both sides and I’ll let you decide which one you’ll trust. That’s also why I seriously couldn’t give the sections stars, because I feel like I can’t find like the middle of my opinions.

me who didn’t like the book: The plot is nothing we haven’t read before. It strike me as odd that so many natural disasters happens at once. There are a volcano breaching, there are a hail storm, earth quakes, tsunami, tornados. You name it, it’s all in this book. The characters also have the convenience of ending up at a super-store. Like, no one’s that lucky. It’s also convenient that there’s a boy-scout, a guy who knows everything about electric-stuff, like tv’s, air filters etc.

me who liked the book: I actually like the plot, because it gives them a reason to be at the super store and to kind of work together and be survival mode. And I guess that if you put like fifteen random people together, they’ll all contribute with at least something.

me who didn’t like the book+me who liked the book: The writing isn’t anything special. I mean, it’s descriptive, which is nice, but it doesn’t have anything special. I always look for that special “signature” in authors books, like for example; Marie Lu, I love her books because she can make you feel like you’re part of a fight. Like you can see the blood trippling down someone’s nose or feel a kick to your chest. Or Cassandra Clare because she can make you feel like you’re standing in the creepiest alley in the world waiting for something bad to happen because her descriptions take me there. Emmy Laybourne didn’t have that, it was like reading a report of something that happens. I have no idea if that’s the point, but it didn’t really work with me, but I kept on reading because the plot still intrigued me, like I kept searching for something that would tell me that this wasn’t a waste of time.

me who didn’t like the book: I hate all the characters except from a few. The boys are totally sexist and the girls let themselves be part of that sexist fetish those boys have. Like I, at some parts couldn’t deal with the fact that somehow, the author decides to put them all in their “roles” as the stereotypical mother-father. The girls are automatically given the responsibility for the kids, they never get to experience any of the scary things because “You have to be with the kids”.

“Josie was a natural.
Where Astrid had that kick-ass camp counselor thing, Josie was a mom. A sixteen-year-old, middle-aged mom.”

“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.

I actually despise it when authors do this, because we’re long past that. I don’t care if some of these people are in high school, they should know better. And they keep slut-shaming a thirteen year old. Yeah, everyone does it, even the boys (I’m not surprised that the girls do it because it’s stereotypical that girls hate girls who are prettier than they are).

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.

Sahalia was wearing what I can best describe as a costume. A sexy carpenter costume. Maybe a sexy farmer.

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.

“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.

Oh, and the MC, he’s of course the girliest boy and are given the role as cook. Because if you’re not stereotypically a boy, you’re stuck cooking food.

me who liked the book: I actually liked some of the characters. For example, I liked Max, a little boy who didn’t really know that the stories he told about his family was stories taken right out of a really broken home. I also liked Caroline and Henry, the twins, but that was about it.

I actually liked the ending, made me jump on to the next book!

It’s not really a good book, but then again it’s not bad either. I mean, I can overlook the sexism, like me, as a person, I could pretend it wasn’t there like I do in everyday life. But I don’t like the idea of people reading it and thinking that this is how things work. Like, it’s not okay. I also don’t like the stereotypes, I thought we were over that. But I guess that stereotypes are more of an American thing than it is a Norwegian thing? At least these stereotypes (Jocks, goths, nerds etc). I wouldn’t recommend it, but then again, it’s not THAT bad. And it really makes me wonder if I have a split personality or something because I can’t make up my mind about this book.

I actually love the cover, that was the thing that got me really interested in this book in the first place. It kind of sets the mood!

Favorite quote: “Sometimes, when you’d least expect it, the grief would chop your legs out from under you.”



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