Monument 14 Summary

Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14

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Monument 14 Summary

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Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne is about Dean Grieber, a sixteen-year-old high school student living in Monument, Colorado. The year is 2024. A mega-tsunami batters major east coast cities as mega-storms barrage the rest of the nation. Monument experiences a massive hailstorm. Monument 14 is Laybourne’s debut novel, and centers on the themes coming-of-age, truth vs. secrets, and family.

As the book opens, Dean is hurrying to catch the bus to school. Laybourne provides foreshadowing via Dean’s assertion that he would have hugged his mom if he had known it would be the last time he saw her. When the hailstorm hits, Dean is on the school bus, his brother, Alex, is on another bus—headed for the elementary school. The hail is so massive that it causes Dean’s bus to flip onto its side. Alex’s bus, driven by Mrs. Wooly, crashes into a store. Mrs. Wooly rescues the six surviving students on Dean’s bus. Some of the elementary school students survived, including Alex. Mrs. Wooly brings the surviving students into the store, where there are medical supplies, clothing, and food, and leaves the older students in charge while she goes to get medical help.

The students learn from a news broadcast that New York, Charleston, Miami, and Boston were all wiped out by the tsunami, caused by a volcanic eruption. That same eruption is also responsible for the violent weather in Monument, Colorado, as well as in other places in the Rockies. The children and Mrs. Wooly stay overnight in the store, and the next morning they are woken by a foreshock before an 8.2 magnitude earthquake. The quake wrecks the store, but one TV survives. They learn that, thanks to the earthquake, a chemical weapons plant is leaking. They seal off the store to keep contaminated air from coming inside. In their efforts, the contaminated air temporarily infects some of the students, and each of them reacts differently. A boy named Niko breaks out in blisters, whereas Dean goes berserk and starts attacking other students, even biting Alex.

They learn from the news that the contamination reacts differently with each blood type. Some of the students want to clean up the store and take inventory; others want to find their families. Dean journals the experience so far. When students start reacting to the contaminants again, they realize the water is also compromised. The students decide to hold a ceremony for the dead and elect a leader until Mrs. Wooly returns. Dean is asked to write a poem for the ceremony. Afterward, Niko is elected leader.

The next morning, as Niko and Dean make breakfast, Niko explains that he has a plan for organizing the store and building sections to help them survive with more ease. Another student, whom Dean has a crush on—Astrid—is missing. Dean leaves a plate of food out for her in case she returns. Dean overhears Astrid laughing and sees her eat the dinner he left out for her, then watches as she makes out with another student, Jake. Dean discovers that Astrid has been sleeping in the ceiling. The next morning, a woman wants to get into the store,but a man who previously wanted to get in beats and kills her. Niko is rattled because he thinks he could have saved the woman.

That night, Dean, Niko, Jake, and another student, Brayden, get drunk. Dean confronts Jake about Astrid and they fight. The next morning, Dean wakes hungover and sore, and makes amends with Jake. Josie, Brayden’s girlfriend, announces that they all have lice, so the students have a hair-washing party. Jake and Dean decide to get high on some pain pills, and Dean passes out. When he wakes later, Astrid is angry at him for spying on her and getting high. She tells him he has to keep being one of the good people.

After ten days in the store, the students vote to allow people inside who may know Mrs. Wooly. They require that the men give them information about what is happening outside. The men and their dog come in and wash up. They compliment the students on their survival set-up, and Dean starts to worry they will take over. Meanwhile, Robbie starts working on fixing the bus. The students learn that the government is evacuating residents who can reach the airport in Denver. One of the adults, Mr. Appleton, suggests the students write letters to their parents, which he and Robbie will deliver so that their parents can come for them.

In the middle of the night, Astrid wakes everyone with a scream and accuses Robbie of trying to sleep with Sahalia, who is only thirteen. There is a struggle, and Robbie ends up getting shot by Josie with another gun. Robbie is killed. Brayden is also shot, but is not killed. Later, Mr. Appleton, who was injured before he arrived at the store, dies. Jake goes to check the hospital the next day, and finds a card from the Griebers. They’ve gone to Denver, and want Alex and Dean to follow. The students and adults fill the bus with supplies and are getting ready to leave, but Astrid wants to stay; she wants Dean to stay with her. She tells him that she is four months pregnant. Two other students stay with them and the novel ends by saying there are now five of them (including the baby).