Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Published June 5, 2012 by Feiwel & Friends

Pages: 294

Series: Monument 14, #1

Genre: Dystopian



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.


My thoughts

I really loved this book. I read it when it first came out, and I just finished re-reading it for this review. I’ve always imagined what fun it could be to live in a superstore. Think about it! You’ve got food, shelter, clothing, books (!), music…all under one roof. In an apocalyptic situation, if you can stake claim on a Walmart and keep it, you’ll be all set.

Most of these characters are very memorable, even the little children. Everybody has their characteristic that makes them unique. Here’s a quick summary:


1) Astrid – beautiful girl, in a relationship with Jake, Dean has a crush on her

2) Jake – original leader of the gang, hates responsibility and goofs off.

3) Brayden – the biggest a-hole ever, Jake’s friend

4) Josie – kind and loving with the kids

5) Niko – the serious Boy Scout

6) Alex – the genius, Dean’s brother

7)  Sahalia – dresses far older than her age and tries to act grown-up

8) Chloe – whiny

9) Max – kid who’s obviously got a really awful family, but doesn’t realize it yet

10) Ulysses – sweet Spanish-speaking kid

11) Baptiste – raised very religiously, and therefore thinks that EVERYTHING is a sin

12) Henry – sweet, young, Caroline’s twin

13) Caroline – sweet, young, Henry’s twin

14) Dean – the MC, the ‘writer’ who journals everything, the cook


It’s a lot of characters, but it was easy to keep them all straight.

Dean is the main character. He’s not my favorite character; in fact, he annoyed me quite a bit. I’m not exactly sure why. He’s really a good guy, though. He cared for the little kids and stood up for others. I didn’t like the way he treated his brother Alex. You’d think he’d appreciate the fact that he knew his brother was okay when so many were dead or dying, but nope. I have to admit, the relationship between them is very well-written. Unfortunately I found myself paying more attention to more likable characters than Dean, like Josie or the little twins.

Except for the first chapter, there isn’t much action in this book. Like in This Is Not a Test, it’s more psychological. These kids have suddenly lost their families. For the little kids, it’s especially hard. I felt so bad for the little ones…I wanted to hug poor little Caroline and her brother Henry. But most of the story is about living in this amazing superstore- cooking, sleeping, pooping, playing, getting high, selecting a leader, etc. Then in the last part of the book the plot picks up again by introducing two new characters (grown-ups!) to the store. So if you’re looking for action, this isn’t the book for you.

The ending leaves me anticipating the sequel, Sky on Fire. By then, so much has changed and I’m really excited to read what happens next. This book is a great read for those who want apocalyptic with a dose of realistic and psychological. It’s one of those books that left me wondering and hoping it never happens to me or my future kids.

Rating: 5 stars


Monument 14 series

Click on the images for their respective Goodreads page.

monument14bkcover skyonfirebkcover