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.
Wow. Uhmm. Yeah. How to start this… Okay, let me just start by saying, that synopsis was pretty cool, eh? If you’re anything like me, you probably think this book is going to be awesome. I mean–it’s not the most original of ideas, but I thought that with the addition of varying ages of kids, this book could be pretty interesting.
That said, I’m just going to mention that the two things I hate most in a book is a) bad characters and b) bad endings. The reason why I hated The Raft by S.A. Bodeen is because her book was both, with a lot of other things mixed in there. This book had both, but on a much lighter scale.
I understand descents into madness. Or at least I think I understand literary ones. I’ve seen mental breakdowns of groups and how people turn into something completely different as the situation changes from bad to worse. Well, you could say that the group broke down. That’s a given. But it also didn’t help that I didn’t like almost any of the character personalities. I’ll draw it out character by character.
Alex: Dean’s little brother. The tech genius. One of the only characters I liked throughout the entire book. Pretty cool personality. Nice kid.
Jake: One of the popular high school kids stuck in the mall. The one put in charge initially. Football star. I liked him in the beginning but then he became really unlikable.
Astrid: Pretty, popular high school girl that Dean has a crush on. I liked Astrid a lot too. Until the end. She actually a great personality until the end, when she dropped the bomb (not literally) on Dean.
Brayden: Annoying, self obsessed jerk under the disguise of a popular high school kid. Not a fan of him.
Niko: Doesn’t talk a lot, just gets things done. A boy scout. A character that I thought was great…for a while. I guess I was disappointed that Emmy Laybourne didn’t transform his character into something more. There were a ton of possibilities for him, especially for him to have a bigger role in the story, but he didn’t.
Dean: Main character. Loved the narration and the action in the beginning, but I didn’t see enough change in his character. Like with Niko, he could’ve become so much more than what he was. Then there was the choice with Astrid. Dean’s love for Astrid in the end was blind, delusional and annoying.
Josie: Another high-schooler. Average. Not annoying, not cool.
Ulysses: Another grade-schooler. Pretty cool little dude.
Sahalia: 8th grader. Annoying. Bratty.
Chloe: A grade-schooler. Like Dean said, a piece of work.
Max: A funny little dude.
Henry and Caroline: Twins, both great kids. Though I don’t understand their choice in the end.
Batiste: Means well, but comes off as annoying and judgemental.
So that sums up point a. I can’t really describe point b because that would be giving away spoilers, but I just…I just was so, so disappointed. Part of why I hate bad endings is not necessarily because I feel like I wasted my time, but because most books that have bad endings–the rest of the book really wasn’t that bad. (The Raft and a few other books are exceptions). What I mean is that I feel like the book could’ve been so much more if the ending just wasn’t the way it turned out. And this book was exactly that.
I hope that Emmy Laybourne has some big, really awesome ending in store for her fans. I’m not sure I’m going to follow this series, chances are I won’t, but I think that this ending must have been necessary in order to pull that big ending. That’s the way I imagine it, anyway. 2 stars for this book.
pg count for the hardback: 294
Series: Monument 14
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