Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Blog Tour: Monument 14

Welcome to the Monument 14 Blog Tour!
And have we got a predicament for you readers today: What happens when kids are left alone during a cataclysmic event with no help from the outside world and they are stuck in a mall or store?

Monument 14 is a riveting tale of a bus load of kids who are struggling to survive a chemical weapons spill contaminating their town, while they are holed up inside a mall while the effects of the chemicals begins eating its way through them. While trying to keep a semblance of order and resolve conflicts between a group of elementary and high school kids can be daunting to anyone, imagine surviving in a mall and being one of them. Through their voices readers will hear an engrossing tale of survival and ingenuity that can either save or destroy these kids.

We had a Question for Author Emmy Laybourne:

Q: If there was any mall or major department store you would want to drive a busload of kids into, what would it be?

A:This is a great question! When I was researching Monument 14, I actually went to a bunch of superstores, department stores and malls to check them out as potential settings. 

I quickly rejected department stores like Macy's or JCP (not enough food!). All they have are those chocolate bars at the cash registers and no one can live on Godiva alone for more than a few days, although, believe me, I've tried in the past.

Malls, I decided, were out because I wanted all the kids to be close together - I didn't want them wandering off and camping out in different stores. I also felt like having them in a really big place would be, somehow, more scary than a single store. Even though I did a lot of terrible things to my characters - I didn't want them to be lonely! After everything I knew I was going to put them into, I wanted them to be drawn together. The book is really about community, on a deep level. I couldn't build a close-knit community in a mall. 

Then I went to Wal-Mart. And I decided Wal-Mart had too much of everything! 
There's a ton of food (fresh and frozen), they have mattresses and beds, and there are even guns and crossbows! I did enjoy the idea of them giving each other haircuts n those little hair salons, though!

I needed the kids to run out of stuff and have to improvise so I ended up putting them into a store called Greenway. Greenways, which I invented for the book, are just like Target stores, but they have an eco-friendly image. (I wonder if there will ever be an eco-friendly superstore! If there is, I hope they call it Greenway and issue me some kind of royalty!)

I took the long road to answer the question, but here it is:  if I am in charge of getting a bus full of kids out of danger and into a safe place where we'll have a bunch of resources, you can find me at the nearest WAL-MART. They have everything you need to survive there! Me and the kids will be living the high life, eating filet mignon, bouncing on our full size beds and loading our crossbows - but not all at the same time! Also, we'll have super-cute hair-dos.

I'd love to hear what store or mall you'd head into! You can leave a response here on SnarkyMamma or on my website:

I'll be appearing at Books Inc. (Opera Plaza location) in San Francisco tonight if you live in the area. We're having a blast with the Fierce Reads tour! Come out and join us!

Monument 14
Emmy Labourne
MacTeen Books Feiwel & Friends

Monument 14

Buy A Copy:  / amazon

Blurb from the Publisher:

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.

On The Net:

Author website:

Author's Goodreads:
Author's Twitter:!/emmylaybourne
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Our Thoughts On Monument 14:

       What happens when you are on the way to your school one morning and all the hellish scenarios that make a future dystopian seem fearsome take place while you are holed up alone with 14 other school aged kids in a mall? Monument 14 is just your average Colorado town until a major quake rips open a chemical weapons plant releasing a special soup from NORAD that attacks different blood types and unleashing itself on the population in a 500 mile radius from the plant seals in the kids’ fate. Being in school is hard enough, now think of being locked in the mall with kids eighteen and under for an undetermined amount of time, during what could become an apocalyptic situation and you can imagine a dose of Monument 14.
With a cast of characters that strive to drive each other apart or party themselves to oblivion you see the human characteristics put to the extreme as these kids try to save each other and survive in a newly dangerous world. With a broken but sometimes working tv playing CNN the kids in the Greenway mall find that their hometown has been turned into a dangerous wasteland as the dark poisonous cloud creeps over it with a 6 month expiration date, and disastrous qualities. Poisoning the water and causing various effects when breathed in or evening coming in skin contact the kids struggle to protect each other and seal up the mall for their siege against the cloud. As the outside world ravages on these poor kids are trying to hold it together never knowing the state of their own families or the world at large. Monument 14 is like a testament to strengths as we read on as kids man up, and fall apart as trouble moves through their environment in one form or another. 

      I enjoyed M14 a lot with the great cast of characters and a compelling story that was mainly told through the eyes and ears of a high school student named Dean. We see the world through these kids eyes as everything they knew is crumbling and they are left alone as the their matriarchal bus driver Ms. Wooly leaves the kids in their capable hands to find help. I have to step up on my soapbox and say that Ms. Wooly was an awesome character who saved these kids lives with her mad bus driving skills as a hail storm enveloped the city and crashed one of the school buses, but Ms. Wooly rescued the students and drove them into the side of the mall to safety. Without that driver’s skill and forethought none of these students would have survived the coming disasters afflicting their town. One the students realized their predicament and their safe and yet also dangerous situation being holed up in the most opportune of places, the Mall, they protected each other as best they were able even when some kids took advantage of their situation.
      M14 is a great new twist on a disaster situation from the views of teens and kids that will catch readers in their plight and keep them captivated until the end. While the ending caught me personally off guard, I hope that this cliffhanger will be caught back up in the next novel.

The local option to drive a bus into:

     Ah yes, personally if I was faced with the dilemma of where to hole up and drive a bus into to save a horde of teens and kids would be the friendly neighborhood super Walmart. I know that come a catastrophe or zombie attack I am running there first and barricading the doors to wait out the coming storm. These things have everything from the ammunition to keep it safe, to the plants and materials to grow you own food. Sure the clothes are not fabulous but there is a variety to choose from as you spend an undetermined amount of time locked away in there. Luckily there are generators and so so many books and games to keep you busy.
     I hope to never never need to defend these facilities nor drive kids into them and leave them to the elements but if worse comes to worse, there is a friendly neighborhood Walmart to hole up in and try and survive.

*received a copy of this book through Netgalley for review. 


TayteH said...

Wal-mart does have a lot of everything. :) Target sounds like a good choice, i mean, Greenway.

Denise Z said...

Ha! My first thought was Costco, love the hot dogs LOL Thank you for sharing this fun tour with us.