One of my favourite things about working in a book store is when I come across a book while shelving and I think to myself ‘Well that sounds good. Maybe I’ll give this one a try.’, and then the book completely blows me away. This is what happened when I chose Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne. I chose it on a whim thinking it might be good enough to recommend to the parents that come in looking for a book for their son to read. What I got was a phenomenal read for anyone that enjoys YA dystopian fiction. What I discovered was a book that rivals Hunger Games.
An unexpected tale of survival, similar to Lord of the Flies, Monument 14 is a terrifyingly beautiful look at how a group of kids survive earth shattering disasters and a chemical weapons spill. On the way to school one morning two buses are caught in a massive hailstorm causing one bus to overturn while the driver of the other one drives through a nearby super store to protect the kids on board. This courageous driver goes back to rescue the kids on the other bus and deliveries them to the safety of the store. The driver tells the six high school, two middle school and six elementary students to lock themselves in the store until she comes back and to let in no one but her.
The story takes place over 12 days as the older kids struggle with their own fears while trying to keep the young ones from freaking out. The struggle for power, the desperate need to bring some normality to a bizarre situation. The exposure to dangerous compounds that effect each person differently depending on their blood type. All of this and so much more show the amazing resilience of the human spirit, of how good and evil reside in all of us, and what it takes to really survive. It shows that no matter our differences physically, intelligence, language, or age we are all necessary to survival. We each bring our own strength and capabilities to the groups survival.
A glorious tale that will grip you from beginning to end, a phenomenal read that will you leave you wanting more, that you will devour in one sitting is what you’ll get when you pick up a copy of Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne. I suggest you pick it up at your earliest convenience. The only disappointment would be in the cliff hanger ending. Luckily I only have to wait for the end of May for the sequel, Monument 14: Sky on Fire.