A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Monument 14 is a cleverly constructed suspense novel of survival that's entirely set in a big-box superstore in the wake of a somewhat far-fetched catastrophe. There's some vividly depicted violence, including a deadly shooting, a bloody fistfight, and the sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl that some characters recount but the narrator doesn't witness himself. An older boy fondles an older girl's bare breasts. Some of the older teen characters drink heavily one night and then regret their actions the next morning. One character raids the store's pharmacy for painkillers and steroids and withdraws into a nearly perpetual pill-and-booze haze. Cursing is infrequent, and the strongest curses are written with dashes and other elisions.
What's the story?
A series of natural and man-made catastrophes traps a busload of 14 students, ranging from elementary school to high school, inside a Greenway super-store in Monument, Colo. Over the next 12 days, they must learn to work together in order to survive poisonous gas, violent visitors, and their own weaknesses and fears.
Is it any good?
Although its set-up is a tad far-fetched, MONUMENT 14 is a clever and compelling one-set suspense novel. The characters are well defined, even the grade schoolers. Author Emmy Laybourne finds ways to keep the tension high throughout and devises an ending that feels both realistic and satisfying.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how having Monument 14 entirely set in one place adds to the suspense and drama. What effect did it have on you as a reader?
How does Monument 14 compare with other post-disaster stories you've read or movies you've seen?
If you had complete access to a superstore like Greenway, what items would you choose for yourself? How would you choose what you really needed to survive, rather than just what you would enjoy?
- Author: Emmy Laybourne
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Brothers and sisters, Friendship, High school, Misfits and underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
- Publication date: June 5, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 13 - 17
- Number of pages: 304
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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