‘Dry’ wonderfully presents dystopian world

Neal Shusterman teams up with son

Fair use from Simon & Schuster.

Fair use from Simon & Schuster.

Colin Canaday

Neal Shusterman, best known for his “Scythe” series, once again demonstrates his world-building skills alongside his son, Jarrod Shusterman, in the book “Dry.” Traversing Southern California, a race against the clock takes hold.

Starting the book, we are presented with a reality that is not too far from our own. The main, and crucial, difference being that in their reality, there is a water shortage. Throughout the book, we view Alyssa, her younger brother, Garrett and their next-door neighbor, Kelton, travel through the surrounding area as they try to survive.

One thing that I really liked about this book, and many of Neal Shusterman’s previous works, is the changing perspective. Given that there are so many characters along the journey, all of whom have very different and interesting stories, the reader is able to view the world through their eyes and the story is elevated. Alongside this, there are also various “snapshots” scattered among the book, breaking up the chapters. These “snapshots” show the perspectives of other various characters, bystanders, and how the lack of water is affecting them. This gives further depth to the water shortage, as the reader becomes completely aware of how this shortage is affecting people differently, even beyond how it is affecting the main characters.

Another shining point of this book is character development. Spanning just under 400 pages, “Dry” doesn’t leave any room for compromise in terms of character development. Thrust into a world where people will do anything to get a drop of water, each character is put through their own tests in an attempt to survive. As the book progresses, so do the characters. From start to finish, we see direct parallels between how the characters have changed given their actions in previous situations compared to how they react later on.

The only gripe I have with this book is its rather predictable, almost linear, progression. And this is an issue that plagues most books in this genre; there is an issue, so the protagonist works towards solving that issue, confronting other problems on their way. Rinse and repeat until a resolution is met. Even so, “Dry” doesn’t fall into this trope too hard; it had its moments, but far fewer than most other books in this category.

“Dry” is a book I would recommend to anyone looking for an easy and quick read. Neal Shusterman is a wonderful author, and this book is a testament to that.

“Dry”: ★★★★☆