Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!
“Dry” by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman was one of my most anticipated releases of 2018, so when I received an ARC in the mail from Simon and Schuster Canada, I was so excited to read and review it! I knew the very basics about the plot, and knew nothing about the characters – other than the fact that the main protagonists name was Alyssa (we share the same name!). I featured “Dry” in a couple of my newest blog posts, including my October 2018 TBR and my seventh edition of “In My Mailbox“.
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; neighbours 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.
While this book did not live up to my highest expectations, I still really enjoyed it!
Alyssa, the main protagonist, was my least favourite character in the book. During the beginning of the novel, I enjoyed reading her thoughts and perspective surrounding the Tap-Out, however, by the end of the novel, I didn’t think that she added much insight and was more of an “annoyed personality”, rather than a crucial character that added a lot to the storyline. In my opinion, she was the least significant character out of their group. Although the story was based around her family and how the tap-out impacted them, I preferred to read about Garrett, Alyssa’s 10-year-old brother. He was one of my favourite characters in the novel, and he played a huge role in the story. He seemed much braver and courageous than a typical 10-year-old boy would be, but since these were unimaginable circumstances, he stepped up to the plate and helped out their group a lot throughout the novel. Garrett developed the most out of all of the characters in the novel, and he was my favourite character to read about by far. Jacqui, Henry, and Kelton were three very interesting characters to read about as well. In “Dry”, we get to read about them in Alyssa’s perspective, as well as read about their thoughts and emotions from their own perspective. Jacqui was my least favourite character during the first half of the book, but she slowly grew on me, and by the end of the book, I really enjoyed and appreciated her character. While I thought Kelton’s role at the beginning of the book would be Alyssa’s love interest, he shaped into his own character thought the progression of the novel, and ended up affecting the story line much more than I had originally thought. Kelton’s family dynamic and his parents thoughts on the world were fascinating to read about, and I would have loved to have read more about his family overall. Even though Henry is introduced more than half-way into the novel, I loved his character and how he added a mysterious element into the storyline. He seemed like a wealthy teenager living in his house alone while his parents left during the tap-out, but we quickly learn that he is not who he really appears to be. I also loved reading about the neighbours. Like Keltons family, I would have loved reading more about them and how they felt towards the other families on the street. I would’ve liked more time to read about them and delve into some of the families more individually.
Even though we didn’t get to read much about the neighbours, one of my favourite aspects of the book was the little “snapshots” of other peoples lives during this disaster. Normally, I hate reading any sort of “snapshot” chapter (like a look into the future or past), but these individual stories added so much emotion to the book, and I could not have enjoyed reading them any more than I did. From reading about news anchors, to people who ran water plants, we got read about other peoples perspectives and emotions during the tap-out, and we also got to see how the sudden loss of water impacted different types of people.
Like I mentioned before, the plot/overall concept of this book was very interesting and appealed to me very much. And while it was a good idea in the beginning, I felt like it was a little flat. There were so many dramatic parts/climaxes in the story, but they all felt very anti-climactic and didn’t really result in anything. There were some things (like the neighbours/different home-lives of the characters, etc.) that I would have liked to have read more, while there were other things I could have read less about (travelling in the car, trying to locate water even though they could never really find anything, etc.). I felt like some of the “travelling” chapters dragged on, and when they finally made it to their desired destination, we only read about it for a few pages. Shusterman could have made some of the destination parts longer, resulting in more world-building. In my opinion, the ending felt very abrupt and incomplete. I would have loved to have read more about their “rescue” (no spoilers here!) and how their lives went directly after the tap-out (in hospital, stuff with parents, etc.), rather than reading about their thoughts two weeks after the initial event took place. The book was extremely thrilling and fast-paced, which made it much easier to read in a timely matter.
“Dry” is a multi-perspective book, not like your typical “two-sides of the story” novel. I thought the POV writing style was beneficial in this story, since no two people would be feeling the exact same emotions during an event as dramatic as a literal water lock out. That being said, I wished they would have stuck to two individual POVs, rather than making ever single character in the book (except Garrett) have POV parts. At times throughout the novel, I was confused as to who was speaking and who they were talking about. Some POV parts were longer than others, and during those long parts I found myself flipping to the beginning to remind myself who was speaking. The characters all spoke pretty similarly, and I found it hard to distinguish one character from the next.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and gave it 3/5 stars. To read my thoughts throughout reading the book, click here!
Thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada for sending along this book, I’m so thankful for this opportunity!
Have YOU read “Dry” by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman? Tweet me (and follow me!) @readingreadingr and we can discuss the book on twitter! Also, make sure to follow my Instagram to see sneak peaks of upcoming blog posts and to find out what I am currently reading!
Good Night Book Owls!