Review: Dry by Neal & Jarrod Shusterman!


Happy Friday fellow readers (I really need to come up with some more first lines)! As it turns out, my meeting today was rescheduled to next week so now I truly have our first full weekend at home and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve got a big weekend planned of chores, grocery shopping and spending some quality time with my favorite Highlander. It’s been pretty gross weather-wise here in Dallas but I actually kind of love it so I’m not complaining! I’m working on getting back into the recipe + review game but it’s been a bit difficult and I’ve been super lazy about some reviews for books I finished quite a few weeks ago. So in the vein of actually catching up – today I’m bringing ya’ll a review for Dry by Neal & Jarrod Shusterman! I’m kind of on a Shusterman binge right now having loved the Arc of a Scythe books so much and I’m thinking about picking up his Unwind series soon as well.


Initial Thoughts:

Never been more hydrated than while reading this book.

So I’m sure everyone has imagined end of the world scenarios before. I’m not sure what clocks in at the top of your “oh hell no” list but for me its running zombies, nuclear winter and HAVING ABSOLUTELY NO WATER. Just the simple idea of not having good ol’ H2O makes my mouth water and I reach for my cup. Well, that’s exactly the situation that takes place in Neal and Jarrod Shusterman’s Dry. Right out of the gate we drop into southern California where water rationing has taken place – but water has also been available. The government has been hiding the true depth of the problem and the citizens of southern California are completely caught off guard and unprepared when the water turns off and they enter the Tap-Out.

It’s all happening just as all the books on prepping said it would. I take no comfort in that. Not even a little. Doomsday scenarios are only fun when doomsday is just a hypothetical. Now I wish they were all wrong.

Dry is told from multiple POVs throughout but our main players here are Alyssa and her brother Garrett, Kelton and Jacqui. Alyssa, Garrett and Kelton are neighbors when the Tap-Out begins and as society unravels they form a bond that will help them survive a disaster that chips away at the sanity of even the best people. While this is ticketed as a YA novel and does have some dystopian vibes, similar to the other works I’ve read by Shusterman these characters are grounded in reality, have a level head and I think would be easy for anyone to connect with no matter their age.

I don’t want to go too much into the plot because this read is an extremely fast paced story and once I began I finished it in one sitting. What I find so refreshing about Shusterman in general is that it’s not just his characters that are grounded in reality but his stories as well. He plays on our natural fears, on humanities darkness and while all ‘end of the world’ scenarios play into the loss of our human decency, none has been quite so vivid and visceral for me as the Tap-Out.

What had seemed to be very surreal now has become vividly, luridly real.

Shusterman is a true master story weaver. It’s not just that he’s great at writing or telling a story, but at creating the intricate details and connections between characters that really leaves me in awe. As I mentioned, this is much more fast-paced and takes place over a shorter amount of time than the other works I’ve read of his. However, for the most part, very little suffers for this. The characters are well developed, the plot points are refined and pulse pounding suspense and thrill is there from start to finish. I absolutely couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page as I was reading this. There was a driving need within me to see how this played out.

To top off how impressive I’ve found this book over all, it’s important (I think) to note that this was written by Neal and his son Jarrod Shusterman which I think is not only *adorable* but incredibly impressive. It’s such a fluid story and the writing style is totally top notch but I can still see the differences between Dry and Arc of a Scythe and thinking about those similarities and differences was really interesting for me while reading.

The worst part about doing something inexcusable is that you can never take it back. It’s like breaking a glass. It can’t unbreak. The best you can do it sweep it up, and hope you don’t step on the slivers you left behind.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. The plot, the characters, the forward progression, suspense and thrill were all incredibly enjoyable. Shusterman has quickly sky-rocketed himself to the top of my favorite authors this past year. However, the only gripe I’ll make in this is that the ending felt incredibly rushed to me. This whole thing takes place over a fairly short amount of time and I wish that the ending had been a little less neat, and / or a little less rushed. However, overall I couldn’t put this book down for a second and flew through it at lightning speed.

Long story short: 

My reaction to water following this book.

Suggested For: Fans of Neal Shusterman, dystopian fans, YA fans, readers who enjoy an incredibly suspenseful story

Music Mood: Back in the Water by HAEVN

Have you read the Shusterman duo’s book Dry? If so, what did you think? What’s the end of the world scenario you’re most afraid of? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!


28 thoughts on “Review: Dry by Neal & Jarrod Shusterman!”

  1. OK, you got me hooked. When I first read the title and thought about the book, my immediate reaction was a head shake. Nope. Not for me. Not at all. But then I kept reading your review and became more and more interested in Dry. Next trip to the library, I’m looking for this one, especially since it looks to be a quick read. I’ll just be sure to stock up on plenty of H2O before I begin!


    1. LOL! “Quick read” doesn’t even do it justice – I literally have never flown through 390 pages faster in my life! I really enjoyed it and I look forward to seeing your thoughts on it 🙂 also yes, definitely have that water handy! I’m parched just thinking about this book!!


  2. I am going to take your rec and try this book coz I love dystopian reads.. And I really loved your reaction to water after finishing the book..


  3. Oh, love your review which has me salivating already! This is def going to be the next BIG thing, as global warming takes full effect. Expect more novels covering the water-wars coming to a shelf near you, very soon! Canada is already prepared for the US to invade over the next 20 years, one way or another, for our water! And no, I’m not kidding.

    Very timely reading if you ask me. 😉


    1. Oh man, I could go on for DAYS about climate change and the importance of treating the environment with the respect it deserves. We need a full environmental revolution here and even then, we’ve done so much damage that there is a lot we won’t be able to recover from. I agree – very timely! I didn’t think about seeing more of these types of books but it definitely preyed on my already existing water crisis fears.


  4. I recently finished this, and I was actually disappointed. It was a solid 3 star for me, but it didn’t compare at all to Scythe or Thunderhead, and I thought it just wasn’t realistic. Yes, I know it’s dystopian and all of this is hypothetical anyway, but during parts I just kept thinking “yeah that doesnt make sense at all here.”


    1. I really love Shusterman’s writing in general so this was still a positive read for me but I can totally understand where you’re coming from. It felt a bit rushed to me throughout (since it takes place over such a short period of time) so it didn’t feel like we got the depth into the characters or story like we have with Scythe. I wanted to love it more than I did because Scythe completely blew me away but I have found I can’t not love Schusterman’s writing these days!


  5. What a great review! I’ve seen this book before when it released but haven’t read any reviews on it really – as far as I can remember. This reviews has me quite excited now! I haven’t ready anything by Neil Shusterman yet but I do have one book on my shelf; Scythe, which I’m really curious about. I’ve heard great things about the author in general so can’t wait to find out what I’ll think of this author’s work.


    1. I HIGHLY suggest reading Scythe first! It completely blew me out of the water, and the second installment Thunderhead was even better. I really enjoyed Dry, there were some implausibilities that I had issues with that kept it from being a total knock out but I love Shusterman so I definitely suggest this one too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have an eBook of this, totally bumping up on my TBR list! I am not the doomsday thinker kind of person so I really haven’t thought what scenario I am most afraid of. Probably everything because I have like zero survival skills that I think I will drop off dead easily when the first wave of doomsday hits.

    Jennilyn @ Rurouni Jenni Reads


  7. Fantastic review Christina! I didn’t know he wrote with his father! So far I haven’t read any of his books and I am not in a dystopian mood right now but I could feel how gripping this book was reading your very enthusiastic review. And I love that puppy enjoying its bath 😉


  8. I always try and not imagine end of the world scenarios, cuz they sound very… stressful 😀
    But this book has been on my list for a while now and defo want to read it. Sounds really cool, great review 🙂


  9. Hello there! This article couldn?t be written much better!
    Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept talking about this. I’ll send this post
    to him. Fairly certain he’ll have a good read. I appreciate
    you for sharing!


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