Friday, January 18, 2019


By Neal Shusterman
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018. 390 pages. Young Adult.

In Southern California, when residents are asked to stop watering lawns and filling up swimming pools, no one expects the drought will last for too long. When the taps run dry, everyone assumes they’ll be back on soon, that someone is going to take care of the problem. As it starts to become apparent that this is not the case, as neighbors begin to turn on each other, and people’s humanity is replaced with fear and desperation, it may already be too late to leave. Faced with few options and fewer resources when their parents don’t return from a trek to a promised water station, teenage Alyssa and her younger brother must decide what drastic or dangerous actions they are willing to take to survive.

I deeply enjoy my apocalyptic tales with a side of realism and this one felt totally plausible considering some water crises that have been in the news in recent years and the rumored shortages that may be imminent. While it is a little less realistic that the teens in this novel are as resourceful and knowledgeable as they are described, it’s easy to suspend that disbelief because the storytelling and world building is that good- and listening to the audiobook with fantastic narrators was a treat as well. This book made me reconsider the running time of my showers and spurred me to stock up on emergency essentials, with plenty of water!


1 comment:

ACS said...

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest where water was often in abundance. After moving to the desert I became more aware of water usage and supply. This book played on all of my fears in a gripping, impactful way that makes me want to move back to my natural rainy climate. It does seem a little contrived that a group of teens would form with just the right knowledge and skills to handle their situation, but if there’s anything I’ve learned from working with teens, it’s that their skills and knowledge is often surprising. Definitely something I could easily recommend.