“The kitchen faucet makes the most bizarre sounds.”First line in Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman
Published: October 1st 2018
Genre: YA science fiction/dystopia
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Synopsis: Everyone’s going to remember where they were when the taps ran dry.
The drought—or the tap-out, as everyone calls it – has been going on for a while. Life has become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t take long showers, don’t panic. But now there is no water left at all.
Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation and violence. When her parents go missing, she and her younger brother must team up with an unlikely group in search of water. Each of them will need to make impossible choices to survive.
Going into this book, I was a little scared. I had just finished Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe and so naturally I was afraid that his other works wouldn’t reach the same level of awesomeness. And while Dry isn’t Arc of a Scythe, it’s still a very thought-provoking and gripping read.
What I really want to complement about Dry is its structure. Yeah, I know that sounds expectionally dull but stay with me for a second. We start the book with two POV characters, Alyssa and Kelton. Those are the ones who introduce us to the world and the problem of the water shortage. As the story progresses, we get two more POV characters but those aren’t introduced until they meet our “main” characters. I loved that. Another author would have us following all of them from the beginning simply because some of them would be relevant later. Shusterman proved that that isn’t necessary.
Also, even though this book is very character-focused, we still get glimpses of how the rest of California looks like during the crisis. These very short scenes from random places are so well done and honestly remind me quite a lot of Arc of Scythe. It was a really great way to give perspective and showcase ALL of the horrible things that were happening.
I want to talk about the characters as well because I have both praise and criticism to those. I especially liked two of the characters and by liked I mean that I wanted to strangle one of them. It’s rare that I hate a character that much. However, I like it when a book give me some strong emotions, no matter good or bad. The character was still very realistic and that character work was so well done.
One of the characters I didn’t really care for was the main character Alyssa because she was honestly kind of boring. I got a little bit of a Mary Sue vibe when reading about her. She was a little bit too good all the time. So it’s not that I hated her as a character. I would just consider myself indifferent and that not the ideal feeling to have for the main character.
The writing is great. It’s very easy to understand but still manages to be emotional and draw you in. I also couldn’t tell that it was written by two authors. There were no abrupt changes in the writing style along the way which always gives a more pleasant read. What did almost ruin the book for me was the ending. I don’t want to spoil you but I do think that the ending could have been a lot stronger. And by ending, I mean the very, very end. The last 10 pages could have been left out and I would have loved the book more.
However, Dry is still a great book that I will highly recommend if you’re into dystopia and other end-of-the-world kinds of books. The book really focuses on the mental state of these characters and how it changes because of the circumstances. The Shustermans manage to make it incredibly fascinating and real. Again, it will make you think, which is also why I think fans of Arc of a Scythe will like this one. I’m definitely going to be reading more of Shusterman’s books.
That was my review of Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman. I hope I convinced you to read it. If you’ve read it already, let me know what you thought of it. Hope you’re having a great weekend!