Everything Mililani’s Book Review: “Dry” by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman


Henry Hawes, Reporter

     “Dry,” a father son collaboration from Neal and Jarrod Shusterman, is an apocalyptic sci-fi set in modern day Southern California. Neal Shusterman has already established himself as the author of the Printz Honor winning series “Arc of a Scythe,” but “Dry” will be Jarrod’s debut as an author.

     The story follows Alyssa Morrow, her younger brother, their strange “prepper” neighbor, and an edgy runaway as they struggle to survive a massive drought. It’s written in first person, but the Shustermans rotate through every character’s perspective. (Like Rick Riordan’s “Heroes of Olympus” series for those familiar with it.) The novel opens ominously when the faucets in every household in Southern California suddenly run dry, a phenomenon soon known as the “Tap-Out.” In less than a day, society is disintegrating. Neighbors turn against one another, grocery stores become battlegrounds, and highways are strangled by a flood of people trying desperately to escape. When Alyssa’s parents don’t return after leaving to find water, she and her brother set off with Kelton, the mysterious nerd-next-door, to find them. Maybe I’m reading too many of these novels, but it feels like your standard teenage apocalypse tale: Remove parental influence, insert potential love interest, chaos ensues — standard stuff.

     That being said, “Dry” is still an engaging read that keeps its audience on its toes with non-stop action. There’s also something thrilling in the idea that the fictional events in this book might become a reality in our very near future. I’d recommend “Dry” to anyone with a love for the apocalypse, but those who are already well versed in the genre might want something that strays a little farther from the beaten path.