Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman
I first saw Dry in Waterstones months ago, and I was super excited when it finally came into the library! I don’t know if this is a good idea or a bad idea, reviewing a disaster scenario book given the current circumstances, but at least this one is climate-change related not pandemic related, right? Either way if you want a break from coronavirus related news and want to lose yourself in a completely different disaster, Dry is a great option.
Dry follows the actions of a girl, Alyssa, and her younger brother as they navigate life immediately after the taps run dry in South California, with no signs of water coming back soon. The story follows multiple viewpoints, each one added in as Alyssa meets them. She ends up forming a group with her next-door neighbour called Kelton, a badass girl named Jacqui, a rich boy named Henry and her younger brother. The story is told chronologically, day by day, with snapshots of random other people interspersed throughout to show what is happening elsewhere. The viewpoints of Alyssa and her companions are all first person, whereas the snapshots are third person, distinctly marking them out and making sure you stay focused on the important characters. The book is divided into parts and each part is a different stage of their journey, which breaks up the story nicely.
Within a few pages I was wishing I had read this book sooner! Neal and Jarrod Shusterman have written a brilliant book together, I’d love for them to write more. The book begins with a really interesting concept that is made more engaging by how possible it is, to the extent where I was slightly freaked out by it. With climate change getting worse by the day, running out of water might be real in the future and the way it plays out in the book seems very realistic. I genuinely flinched when someone disturbed me because I was so absorbed in the book, it was tense and dramatic and I never knew what was going to happen next.
The writing kept me on edge, with distinct viewpoints and the ability to evoke mood vividly, whether it be in a fight or a relaxed car drive. I could not stop reading and I didn’t want to, especially as the chapters grew shorter towards the end as they built to the climax. The ending was heart stopping, but followed with a little of the aftermath. I am a big fan of being shown the consequences of the story on the world and characters and I prefer it not to be in an epilogue because the epilogues are often removed whereas I want to stay with the characters I’ve got so attached to. Would I survive this book? Yeah, I’d be in the UK!