Monday, May 9, 2011

2011 Debut Author Challenge 9: Ashfall by Mike Mullin

This is my first egalley I'm reading from NetGalley, and I'm not sure if I'm supposed to blog about it yet, because some of the galleys said something about waiting until 30 days before the book came out, but I'm going to go ahead with this one and try to be better next time, and hope this is okay.

This book was really good. The storyline is a supervolcano at Yellowstone Park erupts and of course, this sends the world into disaster. The beginning you're in major suspense while the main character, Alex, is home alone because his family went to visit other family, and he wanted to stay home as an adult. Of course this is bad, because when his home is destroyed and they begin to have looting and robbing, he knows all he wants is to go find his family. And so we follow him on his journey. The ash from the volcano is like snow, so he finds that skis help him to travel. Along the road he meets helpful people, murderous people, and ends up at the home of a very nice woman and her somewhat grumpy daughter. They take him in when he collapses thanks to the prison escapee he last ran into attacking him. He spends time on their farm where they are able to grind corn and seem to be able to make it. They decide to go into town to see why the rabbits are dying, and when they're gone, disaster strikes back at the farm. Now they must set out to find his family again. Along the way they come across a woman with small children that they help, and then find their way to a government disaster camp. Which turns out to be almost a concentration camp in a way. When they can escape they move on to find his family again.

I like that Alex knows martial arts, it makes it a bit more likely that he is able to survive this situation when it becomes violent. I like that they don't gloss over that he is a teenager who does want to have sex. I saw a review that said these things were annoying, but I feel they fit the story perfectly and will make it very accessible to teens. I also was greatly reminded of Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, and will be able to recommend it to people who enjoyed that. Now, it doesn't come out till October, so I'll be eagerly awaiting to share it!