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Dry Paperback – 4 Oct 2018
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No one does doom like Neal Shusterman (Thunderhead, 2018, etc.)-the breathtakingly jagged brink of apocalypse is only overshadowed by the sense that his dystopias lie just below the surface of readers' fragile reality, a few thoughtless actions away ... Mouths have never run so dry at the idea of thirst. * Kirkus Reviews * ... the palpable desperation that pervades the plot as it thunders toward the ending feels true, giving it a chilling air of inevitability. * Publishers Weekly, starred review * "A pacy, gripping read which combines snarky teenage dialogue and concerns about friendship, family and the future with the heightened emotion of facing the apparent end of your world." * Press Association Syndicated Review * "I thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly, enjoyed this book. It was captivating, it was honestly terrifying. [...] I loved this book so much, it was dark & shocking at times, it made me think deeply about our society's values and the current state of our world and I love that Neal is highlighting these issues in his books. He is slowly becoming one of my absolute favourite authors." * Bibliotales * "This book was so thought-provoking, it made me think a lot about what we currently value and the things we take for granted." * Bibliotales *
About the Author
Neal Shusterman is an award-winning author whose books include the New York Times bestselling Unwind series and Challenger Deep, which won a National Book Award, as well as the Arc of a Scythe series. He also writes screenplays for film and television, for shows such as Goosebumps and Animorphs. He lives in Southern California with his four children. Follow him on Twitter: @NealShusterman
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This latest 'what if' apocalypse vision shows what happens on a fairly small scale when one state in America one day turns their taps on and nothing comes out... It's a read-it-fast book, with multiple characters and a story you get caught up in instantly. After all, who wouldn't be affected by water running out?
In their suburban home, Alyssa's family don't feel panic straightaway when the water stops flowing. They'll pick some up at the store later... but of course, when things start to feel more serious, and her parents go out for supplies but fail to return, she and her younger brother must step up and face the situation. Next door, part of a survivalist family, Kelton knows they are equipped to outmanoeuvre the 'sheep', though his feelings for Alyssa bring conflicting feelings about his loyalties.
As the crisis deepens, we watch the world descend into chaos and anarchy, with the resulting brutalities and inhumanities slowly creeping in. It feels insidious and genuinely frightening, as of course - we would all be put in similar moral quandaries if this happened in our neighbourhoods.
While sometimes the characters do behave in ways you can't quite believe, the story itself, the psychological aspects of the crisis, the building tension and drama, it makes for an absorbing YA novel.
I do love Shusterman, his Scythe and Unwind series both some of my recent favourites, and this standalone a testament to the power of a good idea. I read in mounting horror, though I knew just how people were likely to behave, at the mounting atrocities.
It almost feels like a 'survival guide' at times, with case studies of how not to cope and strategies for getting through a water shortage - I just hope I never need to refer back to it!
A very interesting selection of protagonists, with some developed character arcs that I felt were believable. A good exciting denouement, and a proper conclusion where you find out what happens - a nice change from cliffhangers and sequel-teasers.
A lot of violence and emotional wrangling, so I'd recommend this to age 14+, and hope adults take a peep too.
With thanks to Walker Books for providing a sample reading copy.
The Shustermans have obviously researched this very carefully, and it shows in the different viewpoints and POVs scattered throughout the book. I did have to reread the end a couple of times to make sense of it, but at that point I was flying through the pages so it's probably my fault!
A brilliant, chilling read.
Receiving an ARC did not affect my review in any way.