Title: Monument 14
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Genre: Young Adult Action/Adventure
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: June 5th, 2012
For the first fifty pages of this book, I wasn't quite sold on Monument 14. Difficult-to-believe natural disaster! Dead children! Fourteen kids, ranging in age from five to seventeen, trapped in a mega-Walmart-type place!
Then I started to get to know the characters. Particularly Ulysses. The characters kind of creep up on you amidst the drama of various disastrous events, but they are what makes the book. Dean, the narrator, is a typical teenage boy: kind of confused, funny, awkward, but basically a good kid. Ulysses (can you tell he's my favorite of the little guys?) is a Spanish-speaking first-grader who is OVERWHELMINGLY CUTE. The five-year-old twins, Henry and Caroline, are pretty flippin' adorable too. Then there's Max, who has seen way more than a little kid should, and Batiste, who continues to stick to his religious guns throughout the book.
I thought I would hate that there were so many little dudes in this scary situation, but I ended up loving that part of the book. Maybe it's the elementary school teacher in me.
Something else I liked was the thorough-but-not-boring description of the ways the kids change the store around to make it their own. At first they just grab whatever they want off the shelves, knowing they might end up having to pay for the stuff but (in true teenager fashion) not really caring. Then, when it starts looking like they might be in the Greenway for a while, they get smart about using what they have and making the store a home for the little kids.
Yes, the premise is a little ridiculous, especially what comes after the hailstorm. But I think that middle school-aged kids are going to love it--fans of The Maze Runner in particular.