Monday, July 2, 2012

Monument 14

Monument 14 
By Emmy Laybourne
Feiwel and Friends, 2012. 296 pgs. Young Adult

In a slightly future time (2024), two school buses are en route to school in Monument, Colorado when a hailstorm breaks out, but it's way beyond any normal hailstorm. One of the bus drivers manages to get the surviving students inside a nearby superstore and then heads out to find help. The fourteen kids (6 high school students, 2 middle schoolers, and 6 elementary-age kids) are left to fend for themselves as more disasters come, including an earthquake and the release of a biochemical that causes extreme reactions in anyone exposed--from hallucinations to reproductive malfunction to utter rage to extreme blistering. And not least of their worries is the people on the outside, since they have no idea who they can trust. Can the 14 kids, with conflicting personalities, manage to work together long enough to survive? And will help ever reach them?

This is told from the point of view of one of the high school students, Dean, who is a pretty engaging narrator, at least in the beginning. The suspense and the difficult situation that the kids are in moves the plot along quickly. Some readers might be a little irritated that there isn't more information about why NORAD has been developing and storing the chemical weapons. I think the first part of the book, when the disasters are first getting underway, was more interesting than the second half, when we start dealing with love triangles and teenage drama.With some pretty intense sexuality and some language, this is one for more mature readers.


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