Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Laybourne, Emmy. Monument 14
5 June 2012, Feiwel and Friends
Had Dean known the destruction that would occur on his way to school, he might not have run to make the bus. After a freakish rock hailstorm causes the bus to crash, killing many of the passengers, Dean and several others manage to escape when the elementary bus driver picks them up and crashes the bus right into a Greenway store. Mrs. Wooly helps the children clean up and get to work on making pizza, but then takes off to find help, leaving Brayden in charge. Josie is in shock, Astrid knows how to work the pizza oven, and Dean's brother Alex is a tech geek who realizes that the computer network being down is a very bad thing. The children band together to take care of the elementary students. Niko, who lives in the mountains and is a Boy Scout, tries to get everyone to conserve energy and supplies. The devastation was caused by a volcano, which sets off a tsunami that takes out the East coast and also causes an earth quake in Colorado, where the story is set. The earthquake damages NORAD facilities and releases toxic chemicals into the air that affect people differently based on their blood type. Things look exceedingly grim, and the students deal with this in their own way. Brayden and his friend cope by drinking and playing laser tag, Josie sets up a school for the children, and Dean finds himself in charge of food with 8-year-old Batiste. Eventually, everyone feels that they should leave the store, but what will they find on the outside?
Strengths: Very good post apocalyptic stuff! All the adults are gone AND they are in a Walmart like superstore. Doesn't every middle schooler have a dream scenario like this? (In mine, all the kids were in my middle school, which was across the street from the mall and next door to a K Mart.) The details of survival are very good, and the reason for the devastation believable. I was riveted. Fans of Northrup's Trapped will enjoy this.
Weaknesses: Lots of drinking, and two objectionable scenes that make this inappropriate for middle school. Dean's crush, Astrid, is shown taking off her shirt in front of her boyfriend, and ...things happen. Then, an 8th grade girl who wants to be taken seriously tries to force herself on an adult man who is let into the store. While not overly graphic, these could have been omitted. Yes, I know. So much violence and I complain about the sex?