Emmy Laybourne’s Monument 14 is an outstanding YA apocalyptic story. When Dean leaves for school it is just a typical morning with him running to catch the school bus. Things take a drastic turn when extra-large pieces of hail start pounding on the bus, to the point of breaking windows and putting small holes in the bus’ roof. The school bus in front of him swerves into a Greenway shopping store after watching Dean’s bus crash and flip onto it’s side. Now his bus is on fire and the other bus driver is frantically trying to save as many kids as possible. All that remain are 14 students who are now trapped inside the store with no idea as to what natural disasters and end of world events are occurring outside. All they know is that they must find away to peacefully coexist and survive in the store until help arrives.
This was a fantastic story and I can’t believe I waited this long to read it (although I am happy that the sequel is already out). It was so different from everything else that I have been reading. The focus is completely about the kids’ day to day life in the store, which at first glance sounds terribly dull but is in fact fascinating. I was utterly transfixed but what was happening between the kids, both the dynamics between them and the extreme measures that have to be taken to live. About halfway through the book I thought that I should be more concerned with what is happening outside the store, but then decided I really didn’t care -the kids were much more interesting. Needless to say, by the time I finished the book I rushed to the bookstore to get book 2, Sky on Fire. I had to know what was happening with everyone, not to mention that the end was a cliffhanger. This has definitely become a staff pick and a favorite of mine.