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12 / 30 books. 40% done!

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Friday, July 03, 2020

Drought Dystopian a Tense, Exciting, Thirst-Making Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

"Doomsday scenarios are only fun when doomsday is just a hypothetical" (163).

The drought is old news to Californians.  They're already allowing their grass to die, not filling up their swimming pools, and jumping in and out of the shower as fast as possible.  Although they've been warned the water will run out eventually, most are shocked—and woefully unprepared—when the worst happens.  With no water gushing or even trickling out of their taps, people are panicking.  Those who aren't rushing to leave the state are ransacking the grocery stores, buying up every bottle of water on the shelves.  When not even an ice cube is left and days continue to pass with no relief in sight, chaos reigns.  

Alyssa Morrow barely recognizes her neighborhood anymore—her once peaceful subdivision has turned into a war zone.  When her parents don't return from their trip to get help, the 16-year-old realizes she's on her own to take care of herself and her 10-year-old brother.  With no stored water in her home, her only hope lies in the weird kid who lives next door.  Kelton McCracken is the geeky son of a prepper.  If anyone knows how to survive the water apocalypse, it's him.  When a shocking tragedy sends the teens on a frantic flight to find the supplies they need to survive, all of their lives are put on the line.  Desperate to keep her brother safe and healthy, Alyssa must make some impossible decisions as the ordered world she once knew falls apart around her. 

Considering all that's happened already in 2020, Dry—the newest YA novel by Neal Shusterman and his son, Jarrod—rings eerily true.  Luckily, the catastrophic drought at the center of the story is only fiction (at least for now).  As such, it makes for a tense, exciting page-turner that will force readers to ask themselves, "What would I do?"  The answers may be unsettling, especially considering all we've all been through this year.  Besides being an engrossing novel, Dry is definitely a thought-provoking one.  The characters are realistically complex and conflicted; on the whole, though, they're a likable and admirable lot.  Interesting characters, an engaging plot, and plenty of food for thought combine to make Dry not just a riveting read, but a powerful one.  I absolutely recommend picking yourself up a copy.  Just be warned:  you're going to want to have a big glass of ice water next to you while you read this book because I guarantee it's going to make you crave a nice, cold drink!

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other YA dystopian novels, especially Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs), violence, blood/gore, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Dry from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.


  1. Neal Shusterman is so good. I haven't read this one, but it sounds like one I'd like having lived through the southern California droughts. In fact, my little area just signed onto a 50 year lease to buy water from the town next door and our water rates are about to skyrocket. Sigh.

  2. Doesn't sound all that farfetched, does it? I love dystopian fiction but haven't tried the YA version of it, figuring it would pull too many punches to seem real. Apparently, this one doesn't do that.

  3. I liked the premise of this one...because you know, dystopian/survival read. But I had a hard time liking the main character, Alyssa; some of her actions and (stupid) decisions really frustrated me.

  4. I’m not sure I can take this book right now. Not ready to be worried about anything else. I remember a friend of my parents (a U.S. senator) telling us that water is going to be the biggest problem for our society. That was about 40 years ago! Shusterman is hit or miss for me, but I may try this one some day when I’m in the right mood.

  5. I am very intrigued by this one. When COVID first started, I went on a natural-and-man-made disaster reading spree that was all non-fiction. Now I may have to try some fiction in that same realm. Great review!


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