by Emmy Laybourne
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Published: June 5, 2012
Feiwel & Friends
ARC provided by publisher for an honest review.
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.
This was quite a read for me. First off, am I the only one who confused the narrator to be a girl at start? When she turned out to be a he, I was baffled. I was reading his vibe all wrong. I don't know if it's because 'he' described himself as basically puny,or the fact that he sounded as if he was admiring the bodies of other guys but I certainly was not thinking this was a guy narrating, until he saw his brother and they man-hugged.
Monument 14 opened up with such a rush for me. I loved the description of gigantic hails falling. The scene was dramatically outlined, and that put my imagination to work. However, the excitement sort of fizzled after they went into the store for shelter. The story just got too detailed and for some reason I didn't connect with Dean at all. Not because he was a guy cause I love books where guys are narrating, it's just that his character wasn't as in depth for me to hold on to him while he's going through the events.
Another thing that bothered me was the constant reminder of what happened. We know the disasters that took place so why keep reminding us when there should be something else coming? It wasn't pleasant to experience something interesting over and over again because that just makes it get less interesting.The action scenes were good when they came, it just took too long to get to a rising action.
In terms of characters, I liked the school bus driver and how she risked her life for the kids. She's total badass, which was surprising being that Dean described her as practically old. I love her selflessness and the need to protect the students until help comes so kudos to her.
Some of the kids were interesting characters as well, while others I just did not see the necessity of their presence in the story. Dean's crush sparked an interest in me. He made reference to the fact that she hadn't spoken a word to him since the day everything started and throughout the story you kinda understand why. He's not very confident in himself it seems.
The story on a whole wasn't bad. I liked the idea of reflecting on your life and how you treat people when faced with a series of disasters. The character was regretful of not appreciating his mother's efforts more and that's something we can all relate to. So, that was well captured. The ending was also pretty good. Aside from that, the writing style wasn't fast pace, there was too much details, and you definitely had to make yourself comfortable while analyzing each chapter. Monument 14 was enjoyable but it did not meet my expectations. I was anticipating much, much more. However, I'm interested in seeing how this series will take off.
Emmy Laybourne's first novel, Monument 14, will be published by Feiwel and Friends, a division of Macmillan, in June 2012. The sequel, Monument 14: Sky On Fire, is expected to be released in the summer of 2013.
Emmy began her writing career as a playwright. The first play she wrote and performed was called, The Miss Alphabet City Beauty Pageant and Spelling Bee. The New York Post said it, “restores faith in our country’s comedic future.” The Daily News called it, “hilariously clever.”
Her next play, Smorgas-Bourne, landed Emmy a starring role in the Paramount feature film, Superstar, opposite WIll Ferrel and Molly Shannon.
As an actress, Emmy went on to have featured roles in the films “Nancy Drew,” “The In-Laws,” and “Lucky Numbers.” She was a season regular on the NBC sitcom “DAG,” and performed original comedy on Comedy Central, MTV, and VH1. She has improvised with the Upright Citizens Brigade, Chicago City Limits and the Heartless Floozies.
Emmy has performed original comedy material throughout LA and New York, including the song she sang with her brother, Sam, “We Can’t Make Love Because We’re Related.”
In addition to writing YA novels, Emmy is currently a Lyricist in the prestigious BMI Musical Theater Writer’s Advanced Workshop, writing a musical called "The Midnight Princess" with composer Paul Libman.