I’m going to start this review by saying I am going to struggle to properly express how I feel about this book. I liked it but at the same time I felt it was lacking something … I don’t know exactly what that is but I hope to pinpoint by the end of the review.
Short recap: The residents of California did not take the warnings to ration water seriously… until one day it was gone. Alyssa, along with her brother and parents, struggle to figure out what to do. Very little news is given, nor is help. Outright panic takes the state over. Alyssa’s next door neighbor, Kelton, is the son of a man who is prepared for the next apocalypse. They team up in hopes of surviving the chaos of the drought. Can they survive long enough for help to arrive?
I know my recap is a little sketchy but you get the gist, I hope. Alyssa and Kelton were an unlikely pair to team up because Kelton has had the biggest crush on Alyssa, but he and his family have a stock-pile of supplies to last through nearly everything. They end up being enjoyable characters but I never felt I truly got to know Alyssa. I knew that she trusted nearly everyone (probably a bad trait in the long run) and she had an innocent side to her that really got on my nerves. I want to be more positive and I wish I could be as trusting as she was, but at some point in time even I have to realize that not everyone is good. Alyssa was not that way. Example: in the early part of the story, the family goes to Costco for water (like everyone else in the state). She gets the idea to go for ice instead of water bottles. People are out of their mind crazed trying to find water when a strange older man offers to pull her cart of ice to the register. That’s when he tried to claim the cart was his and she nearly put up no fight at all… not until her uncle showed up. Why couldn’t this girl understand that in a time of crisis, people are in survival mode, not help mode. She nearly gave up and gave into the strange man simply shrugging it off. Her character stayed like that the entire story. It was frustrating to read. Kelton was good but too much in puppy-love with Alyssa to think/act clearly.
There are a slew of other characters that are given POV chapters but they are introduced at odd times in the story. It felt like they were added simply to keep the story moving. There was a chapter from the uncle’s POV – one chapter only. There was another POV introduced more than halfway through of a young kid that was a smooth talker. I don’t believe his voice was necessary to the overall story. Jacqui is another character that was introduced that was given a voice. If it wasn’t for the the audio and knowing the voices changed, I might have become confused reading the actual book. It felt like too many characters in a short period of time.
The premise of the story was a good one. I love dystopians so this felt like home to me. I would love to believe I could survive for a little bit in a world like this but who knows. I may wuss out and sit crying in a corner somewhere. While I loved the concept of the story, the ending felt incomplete. It was not stated why these events happened or why they were limited to the one state. The rest of the US was fine and dandy but people in the one state were dying of dehydrating. Holy unanswered questions, Batman! I like to know the WHYS of a story but this did not provide that.
Am I sorry I read it? Not at all. I enjoyed the overall story but it was not something that absolutely blew my hair back. I would recommend but urge caution that not all of the answers will be given so don’t ask to begin with. Shusterman and Shusterman did an excellent job of rekindling my love for dystopians and the want of this genre to come back.