Friday, May 11, 2012
ARC Review: "Monument 14" by Emmy Laybourne
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Raincoast Books)
From Goodreads: "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 hurdle 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."
I must admit that when I first started this book I was a bit hesitant- I thought that it would be like Suzanne Weyn's "Empty", that while enjoyable-ish was quite flat, however, this book was anything but! Unlike other books of this nature where I had only a "meh" attitude to the characters, the plot, and the likes of, in this book not only was I utterly engrossed and on the edge of my seat the entire time while reading it, but I also cared about the characters and their fates. One minute while reading it I was crying from laughing so hard (a result of the youngin's and all of the randomness that bubbled out of them) and the next I was tearing up because of all of the atrocities that said youngin's had to go through.
Each character was so dynamic and complex that I found it near impossible not to not care for and befriend them, from little Ulysses who was so lonely due to a language barrier, to the red-headed freckled twins who were one another's rocks, to straight-edged Niko, to Max, a loud talking tot with sketchy stories (who is reminiscent of Chuck from "One Tree Hill"), to Dean, a confused "kiddie cook/ booker" trying to find his place in the world and maybe get a girlfriend in the process.
That being said, I did have a problem with the book- the end. I personally despise books with ambiguous/ open-ended endings. I am very much an 'epilogue' sort of person- I LOVE for things to be laid out for me (ie. "This character survives", "This person dies", "The world fixes itself this way", etc.)- what can I say? I am fairly unimaginative when it comes to visualizing what happens to characters after their story comes to a close.
All in all, despite my complaints about the ending, this was a thrilling debut from Emmy Laybourne (not to mention a literal emotional roller coaster of a book- I'm typically not one to cry from books, but as mentioned, I did multiple times from reading this)- I can't wait to see what she has in store for us next (and I am very curious to see whether or not this is the first book in a series?).
I received this book from the publisher to read and review. I was not compensated in any way for said review.