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MONUMENT 14  Publishers Weekly,Actress/screenwriter Laybourne's debut ably turns what could have been yet another postapocalyptic YA novel into a tense, claustrophobic, and fast-paced thriller. In the not-too-distant future, a sudden hailstorm-just one small part of a massive environmental cataclysm-forces 14 Colorado students on their way to school to take refuge in a superstore. Cut off from the previously ubiquitous Network (with only one old TV as an occasional information source), they must cope with the standard personality conflicts and also a biochemical weapon leak that causes behavioral shifts in some of the kids. Bookish Dean narrates, observing his own jealousies and concerns, as well as the way the popular kids-like football players Jake and Brayden, and diving champ Astrid-are forced to question their place in the new social order. Although violence (including a sexual assault) is pervasive, it's rarely graphic and never gratuitous. Laybourne successfully develops a large cast of characters of assorted ages, and if the ending seems designed to tease a sequel, the story still stands well on its own. Ages 13-up. Agent: Susanna Einstein, Einstein Thompson Agency. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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