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.
I’ve come to love Shusterman as an author during the last couple of years, so I keep an eye out for any book he publishes. When that latest release is about a modern day drought where the taps are suddenly not providing water any more, I don’t need any more incentive. I just knew I was going to love Dry.
I don’t know how it was in your country, but here in Belgium we had a massive heat wave this Summer resulting in a drought and numerous warnings to conserve water. For the most part, I think those warnings were laughed away with only the farmers really feeling the pressure of watering their crops and livestock sufficiently. Hand on my heart, those warnings will be taken seriously by me from now one.
Shusterman paints a world where these kind of heat waves have been happening for a while (or so it feels) and where water has run scarce. Not coincidentally it is set in California where wild fires are running… wild at the moment. While a lot of people are not fully comprehending the gravity of the situation. Until one day, the taps run dry and no one can ignore it any more, but for some people it is too late to prepare.
Already the setting feels very close to home which makes Dry a dystopian novel that for once isn’t all that hard to believe. With that setting as a background, the Shustermans tell a story for which they clearly did a lot of thinking and research. How well prepared are the Californians? How far would people go to save themselves and their family? And you can’t help to stop and wonder about that last question yourself.
Through the eyes of four main characters, we see how they all experience the tap-out in their own way. A son of a survivalist, a girl who only wants to protect her brother, a girl who has gotten used to fending for herself and a boy who has no qualms about capitalizing on the problems of others. This motley crew is thrown together in their efforts to survive.
Only now do I see how dry his lips are. Not just dry but parched and chapped to the point of bleeding. None of these kids look right. Their skin is thin and almost leprous gray. The corners of their mouths are white with dried spit. And the look in their eyes is almost rabid.
But the authors go even further than that. In the most brilliant way they also show how other people are faring and how far they are willing to go. It never gets complicated, and it makes the horrors even more realistic and most importantly… versatile.
You should definitely read this book. Not just because it’s a realistic story that tackles a problem that is very real, but also because it’s an absolute masterclass in storytelling. I can’t wait for Shusterman’s next book. Seriously.
Have you read this book? If not, does it sound interesting to you? If yes, what did you think? Let me know in the comments!