Living in a time where dystopian books are common and overdone (the more apocalyptic and doomsday-ish, the better) it’s truly rare to find a book that will leave you with chills running down your spine. Dry, by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman does exactly that.
The idea behind this book is also unusual but not entirely unimaginable; what if the taps were to suddenly go dry? What if there was no more running water, and what if everyone around you suddenly became a thirsty water-zombie that would stop at nothing to get a few drops of the stuff? I know what you’re thinking. No running water, the end of the world, and ZOMBIES? Not another apocalypse book!
And while I don’t consider myself an expert on sci-fi or dystopian novels (not really my genre), I think this book did some things differently that changed it from an overused cliche doomsday book to something special.
First: This novel is narrated by a multiple person perspective. The first few characters stuck throughout the story, but others were just here to offer ‘snapshots’. I found it interesting because we didn’t just see what the Tap-Out meant for Alyssa, Kelton and their friends but for a whole host of different people. Living the apocalypse isn’t really fun when you don’t get the whole experience, am I right?
Jokes aside, the authors did something else that I liked. Water scarcity is a very real problem that people live with and die from, but taking that from comfortably far off countries and putting it in a typical American suburban neighbourhood startles something into the reader. It’s so much more disconcerting reading about doomsday when you can see yourself in the character, isn’t it? The problem doesn’t just belong to poor people living in some third-world country anymore, the problem’s suddenly become yours.
Which is why I love Dry. It subtly winds complex and nuanced ideas into the prose, and the entire book is off-putting in the best possible way. We learn about human nature, about love and sacrifice, despair and hope. And let me tell you something about human nature, folks, it can become PRETTY ugly, especially when it’s survival of the fittest. (am I including too many apocalypse vocabulary words in this review on purpose? hmmm…)
Dry belongs on the shelf with books like The Kite Runner, The Book Thief, Scythe, The Hunger Games, and dare I say– Animal Farm. It gets under your skin and doesn’t let go. 10/10.
P.S. I loved Rowan and Citra in Scythe and the (little) romance in this book is again exceptionally written. You wouldn’t think of them together but OH GOD they belong to each other, and CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, and I’ll shush before spoiling any more 😉