ARC Review: Dry by Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman

Title: Dry
Author: Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman
Pages: 352 pages
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
Source: ARC from the publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Rating: 5/5 stars
When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman.

The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.
Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

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A book about the harrowing effects of climate change? Fuck yeah. Finally, even modern Young Adult literature is calling attention to the most important environmental issue of our decade that won't just affect one certain group of people. Oh no, climate change is coming for us all. Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman's all-too-real portrayal of the amplified effects of climate change is horrifying and upsetting. You will feel mad. You will feel sad. But most importantly you will feel so helpless while reading this book because you realize how much we as humans have no control of a situation that we are responsible for causing. You will also come to realize how some forces, such as water, have power over humans.

While reading this book, I realized how small I was in this whole wide world. You want to believe that when things go downhill, the government will be looking out for you. But yet, how can they help you when they can't even help themselves. The authors expose this startling fact in the most brutal way possible- by following the POV of a group of teens who must fend for themselves in a world without water.
"The only difference is that we're the victims now, rather than the ones sitting comfortably in our homes, sending five bucks on a charity app and patting ourselves on the back because we're so goddamn generous."

- from an uncorrected galley of Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman 
I went into this book with the knowledge of Neal Shusterman's world-building mastery. He can create worlds with such a complex and well-developed foundation, and it feels like the world actually exists. In this case, he didn't really create a new world but it's like he created a new reality in our world. A reality in which our environment has been devastated by climate change and the resources that we thought would be around forever have been completely exhausted. It is a world in which we cannot comprehend right now, but one that is in our near future if we continue on this path. He has essentially predicted the near future in such great detail and precision, thinking of every single thing. If I were you, the world-building alone is a reason to pick up this book.

What I loved most about this book was how it was written. It is written in multiple points of views, however, these characters' perspectives are often interrupted with what the authors call 'snapshots'. These snapshots, ranging from about a page to two pages in length, were glimpses into the lives of other people who were also being affected by the Tap-Out. I think this was an ingenious idea on the authors' part because when you're writing a story like this that has such an incredible impact and call to action, it's important to illustrate the stories and testimonies of as many people as you can.

Reading this book was like living through the apocalypse, which is something I hope and pray I'll never have to experience in this lifetime. Dry has to be one of the most terrifying books I've ever read. None of the horror books I've read compare to the amount of dread you'll feel while reading this book (and I've read multiple Stephen King books .-.). For me personally, the idea of living without water, a basic necessity, scares me more than any zombie apocalypse.
"Sometimes it's the monsters who survive. And now I am the monster."

- from an uncorrected galley of Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman
This title is very relevant to what's been happening around the world. Because of the subject matter and the authors' ability to tell this story, Dry will be one of the most memorable books you read this year. I implore you to read this not because I am an environmentalist, and I strongly want to share my fear of climate change with you but because I think that this is what the world needs right now in order to make a change. Sometimes people need a scare to push them in the right direction. If you've read Scythe and enjoyed it, I am positive you will enjoy this one too. Please check out my page on Instagram (@thebooksbuzz) because I will be giving away a copy of this wonderful book!
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