Review Blog

Feb 14 2013

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

cover image

Feiwel and Friends, 2012. ISBN 9780312569037
(Age 14+) Recommended as an easy to read adventure story. When a devastating hailstorm wrecks Dean's bus, Mrs Wooly, who has driven another bus into the shelter of a large department store, manages to rescue the teens. Altogether there are 14 people taking shelter in the Greenway store, ranging from high school teens to six little kids. Mrs Wooly ventures outside to find help and they are left alone finding to their dismay that the gates have locked them in. They all need to find their strength and determination to survive in a world that seems to have gone mad, made worse by the leakage of chemical warfare agents that affects each person differently depending on their blood type.
This was an exciting adventure story that kept me reading to the end. The premise of being marooned in a department store where there are unlimited delights to be had is always an interesting one. Laybourne manages to create an world that is believable with the children behaving in ways that different characters would behave when faced with disaster and with unlimited materials goods. It is the setting and the strong characterisation that make this book work as an enjoyable read.
Dean, the quiet bookish boy, who narrates the story, finds that he has strengths and can look after younger children. His young brother Alex is a gadget guru and manages to keep things working in the shop. Niko is a boy scout whose ability to organise proves invaluable. There is the stereotypical beautiful girl, Astrid, and handsome, popular athlete Jake, as well as the little kids, all of whom have distinct personalities. When two adults appear on the scene, hard decisions have to be made.
I enjoyed this book and think that it would appeal to reluctant readers and fans of Michael Grant's Gone series. There are some scenes of drinking, taking drugs and violence that make it less suitable for younger teens.
Pat Pledger

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