Monday, October 1, 2018

ARC Review: Dry by Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman

Title: Dry 
Author: Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 352
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When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman.

The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive. 

I'll come right out and say it: this is my first Neal Shusterman book. I had actually never heard of it before ALA this June, but when I read the back I knew I had to have a copy! It has been quite awhile, but I used to host the Dystopian Challenge and, although the YA genre has mostly decided to drop the genre, it's still one of my favorites.

This story begins in the near future in California during a drought. When the water supply to the state is shut off without warning, residents panic and everything quickly turns to chaos. Alyssa and her brother are caught up in the middle of it without their parents to help them through the panic and it becomes a fight for survival.

Dry is an incredibly frightening book because it's so close to the truth. This is something that seems like it could really happen in the not-too-distant future. We already have regular droughts in parts of the country and it's a fact that most people are not prepared in case disaster strikes. Of course, there are always the preppers who some like to call crazy, but those are the ones who will make it, and you know this book has one of those. Alyssa's neighbor takes it upon himself to help Alyssa and her brother as they search for their parents and shelter from the storm.

Although this book isn't constant action, it was a very quick read. Since it's a survival story there's a lot of walking and driving and, well, surviving, but I was never bored. Not to sound like a broken record, but I think it was such a quick read because it was so real and terrifying. The characters are as well developed as they should be, but thankfully there are no ridiculous YA tropes or distracting romance storylines. This is pure survival. From nature and from the people around them who will do anything to get a drop of water.

Neal and Jarrod Shusterman have done a fantastic job with this book! It's a fast paced, eye-opening read that honestly made me stock up a bit more of my own water supply. I absolutely loved Dry! It's what dystopian fiction should be and I honestly wish we could get a bit more of it in 2018.