authors : neal shusterman & jarrod shusterman
other books by neal shusterman :
pages : [hardcover] 390
memorable quote :
Sometimes you have to be the monster to survive.
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 received an ARC of this book at BookCon in 2018. This in no way influenced my review or opinion.
Dry shows a reality that doesn’t seem so impossible. After terrible droughts and spreading wildfires, the entire water supply to Southern California is shut off without warning. The story is told in multiple points of view, all of them teenagers experiencing this crisis. The plot mostly follows a series of dangerous misadventures that occur because everyone is dumb and keeps forgetting that they need all of this water to survive.
This story is incredibly realistic, because I don’t think any of us are prepared to deal with a sudden crisis that might occur on this sort of scale. It’s scary, with all of the fires that have occurred in California just recently. And it kind of emphasizes how idiotic humanity can be–in saving themselves, in caring for one another, and in looking after the environment.
The problem is, most of the force behind the plot occurs through dramatic misunderstandings or really stupid mistakes. Most of the time when there was a shift in the plot, it was a combination of the two. Which made their quest for water sort of . . . boring. Obviously the overall motivation for the characters is survival, but they’re cookie-cutter stereotypes beyond that. I really didn’t care for most of them, which means I didn’t care if they lived or died. Hypothetically it’s fine if there are a few characters you could do without . . . but in a survival story where you’re supposed to be rooting for the main characters, on the edge of your seat, I felt next to nothing.
The characters aren’t exactly good people. They’re all flawed and as such, pretty realistic, which can be appreciated. But it’s very odd that, even with multiple first person points of view, I feel like I never got to know any of them. Like their personalities were trapped somewhere beyond a gigantic wall (which probably also had all of the water on the other side of it as well).
I did really enjoy the first bit of the book, as well as the last hundred or so pages. Perhaps if there had been more intrigue with the characters, instead of a rather repetitive middle portion, it would have better kept my interest. It took me months to get through this book.
One of my favorite parts, though, was the little snapshots that occur sometimes between different points of view. This lets readers see what’s happening with the outside world, or in other parts of California, or with other minor characters who’ve been referenced in the text. I loved that it gave a better picture of the crisis and more context for the dangers that were out there. Also, they showed what was happening at Disneyland in this end-of-the-world type situation, and I was very excited because I just love Disney so much.
Still, if you’re looking for a survival story, this one is pretty run of the mill. There aren’t any characters here for you to fall in love with. The concept is pretty unique, and interesting, and realistic, but the plot is nothing groundbreaking. I’d say pick up a different one of Shusterman’s books and leave this one on the shelf.
How I felt while reading this book:
How I felt after reading this book: