Desperate and ‘Dry’

Novel leaves readers hopeful in times of crisis


Photo via Flickr (Marcus Quigmire) under Creative Commons license

The book “Dry” follows two siblings as they navigate through an intense drought in California that is declared as a national emergency. Despite being released in 2018, the novel is a great reminder of hope as the world works together during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Joslyn Weber, Staff Writer

Following the fictional yet realistic scenario of a drought in California, the book “Dry” re-envisions the pre-existing droughts in California as drastic and destructive.

Father and son author duo, Neal and Jarrod Shusterman, published the book “Dry” on Oct. 2, 2018. The book was recently included on the Starr’s Mill book club, Ex Libris,” monthly book list.

The novel “Dry” follows two siblings, Alyssa and Garrett, and their disaster-ready neighbor, Kelton, as they try to survive the “Tap-Out” that their home state of California is experiencing.

“Tap-Out” describes the conditions of the drought. The people of California had been living in a drought for a while but then one day, at the beginning of the novel, all taps run dry.

“Dry” gives readers a doomsday perspective on what could have happened if California had truly been in that horrific of a drought. It shows just how far humanity will go to survive and how quickly society can decline when met with life or death decisions.

Throughout the story, as the Tap-Out increasingly becomes worse, deadly forest fires begin, no one is able to get out of California, people are killing for a small amount of water, and others are dying from thirst. 

The duration of my time reading this book, I was so captivated that for a minute, I forgot that California wasn’t actually in a drought. 

The plot itself and the action described and written in the book is astounding. The authors’ swap between each character’s perspective and describe thoughts and feelings perfectly. 

Ex Libris could not have selected a better book to read as the world continues to navigate this current COVID-19 pandemic.”

— Staff Writer Joslyn Weber

The story starts out with Alyssa, Garrett, and Kelton. As they move throughout the novel, searching for Alyssa and Garrett’s parents who never returned from a hunt for water, the three kids pick up two more companions, Jacqui and Henry. They all end up having to depend on one another no matter how much they argue or disagree. 

Alyssa battles with the role of leader until Jacqui comes along. She has to figure out how to deal with a person like Jacqui who is aggressive and dominant. Garrett, who goes through this journey as a young child, quickly has to learn how to grow up and fix his mistakes, especially ones that could alter their journey.

The Shusterman’s especially did a great job bringing in that man vs. world conflict between the characters while they are trying to survive. The authors show how much people end up depending on each other in times of emergency no matter how much they disagree.

“Dry” also shows how much people rely on help from emergency organizations like FEMA and the Red Cross. They also must depend on the media to tell their story. Though in the end, there’s always an obstructing factor and not everyone gets the help they need. 

“Dry” is an innovative and dystopian-like book that shows the real-life happenings behind natural disasters. It takes readers through the eyes of five young teens as they navigate through this disaster drought together. 

Ex Libris could not have selected a better book to read as the world continues to navigate this current COVID-19 pandemic. “Dry Run” is a reminder of how humanity can work together to survive any number of crises.