Time for a YA review. The book- Monument 14. The Author- Emmy Laybourne. The Publisher- Feiwel & Friends.
The Story- Dean and his brother Alex are on their way to school. One is on the high school bus, the other on the elementary/middle school bus. Suddenly something begins pounding on the roof of the buses, hail the size of basketballs. Dean and the other highschoolers crash into the parking lot of a local superstore and catch on fire. The younger kid’s bus makes it head first into the store. Only six of the highschoolers, including Dean, survive.
Stranded in the superstore are now 6 highschoolers, 2 middleschoolers (including Dean’s brother Alex), and 6 elementary kids. The only living bus driver goes for help, and doesn’t come back. The children take shelter, only to be terrified when an 8.7 magnitude earthquake hits and knocks them silly. They think the worst is over, but a radio report announces the release of chemical toxins from the nearby NORAD station. These chemicals can kill, turn you crazy, or make you sterile. The children seal themselves inside, waiting for help in a world that is falling apart. What follows is their struggle to survive.
My Thoughts- I enjoyed the story. I almost always pick up disaster books, so this one caught my eye right away. The plot is pretty straight forward with few surprises, but the adventure of the children is exciting on its own. The characters are very individual. The author does a good job of distinguishing them from each other and making them feel real. They all react like children too, no adult knowledge thrown in to ruin the story.
I do have a few points of critique. First off, when I began reading the book I thought the main character was a girl. It isn’t until a few pages in that a pronoun is used and I realized it was a boy, which threw off my point of view. I think character should be clear right from the get go.
Another thing that got to me was the ending, there is none. The book has a great action packed beginning, a good middle, but no end, it basically just has a …to be continued. I’ve been seeing this happen a lot in YA lately and it bugs me. I like stories that wrap up in one book, even if it is book 1 of a series. Sure there can be an overall arc, but give me a full story too. Also, I couldn't figure out the title. Monument is the town they live in, but what is the 14? The next day I had to hit my head, 14 must refer to the number of kids living in the superstore. If I'm wrong somebody let me know please.
The good news is that when I checked out Goodreads it said Monument 14 book #1, so I know there will be more. Otherwise, an interesting story with moments of shooting violence, an attempted rape and some other sexual content.