Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{June 6, 2012}   {Review} Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

From Goodreads: 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.


I originally picked up this novel thinking it would be similar to many other books I’ve read about the end of the world, but I found that this story is very unique, well written, gripping, hilarious, suspenseful, heartbreaking… and I loved it.  I loved every minute of it!

Laybourne creates a riveting survival tale, setting it right in the middle of chain superstore—like Wal-Mart.  What child hasn’t thought about how cool it would be to live in Wal-Mart?  Or Target?  Or… you get the idea.  I remember being little and walking through big stores with beds and thinking, “I could live here. I could run away and no one would find me because this place is so big, and I’d be okay.”  And then I saw the toy isle and was distracted from my plans… but that aside, I think this is everyone’s fantasy at one time or another, and naturally, that drew me in immediately.

The characterization is superb, and I fell in love with Dean.  Of course, he’s not perfect, but I think that’s his allure—all the characters’ allure, really. They are all trying to survive, but these are teenagers and young children we’re talking about!  They haven’t fully developed, and it’s hard to survive on one’s own!  I loved that the reader is given deep glimpses into Dean’s heart and his struggles.  I can only imagine how terrible it would be to realize that everything and everyone I knew were probably gone forever, and I think Laybourne does a phenomenal job getting all the characters’ thoughts and feelings across to the reader.  I also loved the balance between the drama and the end of the world scenario!  Laybourne keeps the reader engaged without focusing too much on one aspect, which I loved!

Although I was saddened by the end of the novel, I was incredibly excited to realize that there will be a sequel!  Hence, all my favorite (and not so favorite) characters will be back, and we’ll learn more about the end of the world and the chemical weapons spill… and I can’t wait!  I highly recommend this novel!  And, if you love it, especially the idea of teens and children fighting against the end of the world together, then definitely check out Tomorrow Land by Mari Mancusi as well.  I think you’ll be just as intrigued!  Five stars.

5 stars

Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read a copy of this novel, via Netgalley, as it just released on June 5, 2012.


mamabunny13 says:

I love a book with great characterization! This book is on my wish list and I’m looking forward to reading it!

Dovile says:

I’m really intrigued. I too sometimes wandered what would it be like to live in a store, and there’s also the apocalyptic feel to this book that also makes me want to read it.

OOOOHHHH!! I didn’t realize that there was going to be a sequel to this! So excited…that means by the time I get to actually read THIS one, the second one will be out – ha! Seriously, I have been wanting to read this book for quite some time, and I’ve read almost exclusively great things about it. Like you mentioned in your review, I’ve heard the characterization is stellar, which is exciting to read about an apocalyptic novel, because I think sometimes authors focus too much on the apocalypse (or post-apocalypse) and not enough on the characters. I also like the fact that this is a novel where you actually are experiencing the end of the world, rather than coming in *after* the world has been destroyed. I also really like the idea of it being more “realistic” (if that makes sense), because the apocalypse is happening due to weather and then the death of so many people is due to the chemical spill. As much as I do love a good zombie/vampire/werewolf/plague/etc novel, I like that this one is something that could feasibly happen!! Thanks again for the review, makes me even more excited to read it!

VanillaOrchids says:

Great review! I had not heard of this book before now. I’ve always been fascinated by ‘end of the world’ type movies, so a book with a similar premise sounds just as interesting.


so exited 4 this1
gr8 review

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