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Book Review

Book Review: 'Dry'


Award-winning author Neal Shusterman wrote the new Young Adult novel Dry in collaboration with his son. In it, they’ve turned a drought-plagued Southern California into a dystopian region when access to the Colorado River is entirely cut off, and made this a thrill-ride of a novel.

The novel alternates viewpoints between Alyssa, a 16-year-old who lives a secure life in the suburbs with her younger brother Garrett; and neighbor Kenton, who does not feel secure in his survivalist father’s home. When disaster hits and Alyssa’s parents go in search of water, she and her brother sip on Gatorade for days until that runs dry and their parents have not returned. Kenton chooses to leave a home stocked with hoarded water, canned goods, and ammunition to help Alyssa and Garrett go in search of their parents. None of them could imagine the desperation and peril of what they are about to experience. Loyalties are tested, panic sets in, and any choice can seem to put lives at stake. With the ocean bordering the west side of the drought, is there chance of getting there?

The Shustermans have written, if not a plausible tale, a tale close enough to what could happen, heightening the tension and our fear of what lies beneath our increasingly fragile earth.

The Shustermans are incredible storytellers. They infuse the novel with humor, empathy, and terror. The plot roils forward like a locomotive, we suffer in the arid heat, and we thirst for survival.

Follow Sarah Bagby on Twitter @sebagby.