Sonderbooks Stand-out

Sonderbooks Book Review of


by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman


by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

Review posted May 8, 2020.
Review written October 8, 2018, from a library book.
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018. 390 pages.
Starred Review
2018 Sonderbooks Stand-out:
#6 Teen Speculative Fiction

Dry is frighteningly easy to imagine happening. The book tells the story of what happens when all the taps in Southern California are suddenly out of water in the middle of a drought.

It starts when Arizona and Nevada back out of a reservoir relief deal and shut the floodgates on all the dams, keeping the water for themselves.

For a long time, people haven’t been allowed to fill swimming pools, so there aren’t any of those sitting around full of water. The government brings desalinization machines to the beach, but there isn’t enough for all the people who come, and a riot develops and the machines get destroyed.

Fortunately, Alyssa, the main character in our story lives next door to a Survivalist family with their own water tank – and a teenage son who has a crush on her. But Alyssa also has a younger brother to care for who is autistic. When their parents go missing after trying to get water at the beach, she turns to the neighbor boy. But the neighborhood knows they have water….

One thing leads to another, and we end up having a story of a bunch of teens trying to flee to safety when society has descended into chaos.

Since I lived in Southern California many years, it was easy to picture the story all the way along, including when they drove in the dry aqueducts. Unfortunately, it was all too easy to imagine this happening -- from the water drying up to the completely inadequate response to the water zombies who cared about nothing but getting water.

Riveting and frightening, here’s a near-future thriller for teens. Don’t be surprised if they start hoarding water after they read it, though.