Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman – Book Review

Title: Dry

Authors: Neal and Jarrod Shusterman

Genre/Themes: Young Adult, Climate Crisis, Drought, Survival

Blurb from Goodreads

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; neighbors 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.

My Review


It started out with such promise and ended up as a giant mess. Initially this was a very well paced YA that had a fascinating hook… But the further and further I got into the book the more annoyed I became.

Biggest flaw…

Poorly devised characters. Mostly stereotypes, no truly authentic personalities.

Second biggest flaw…

Too many points of view were used to tell the story. I have no qualms about multiple PoV novels but this one failed dismally because no one PoV sounded unique. Instead they all just muddled into a singular voice with no individual identity. I frequently couldn’t recall who was supposed to be the character behind a particular chapter.

Gripe no. 3….

Shusterman reuses plot structures from his other YA novels. It’s like he has this blueprint that he simply must follow. So as with Unwind (another Shusterman novel I’ve read) for instance there were these brief snippets of action away from the MCs. Now they were interesting and I sometimes wished he would focus more on these minor plot points so it really just proved how easily it was to become detracted from a mediocre plot line.

Gripe 4…

Far too many deus ex machina style moments. I mean just no…. So many ridiculous narrow escapes etc. Honestly for a book about peril no main character was ever truly in peril.

And to add insult to all those injuries

There was an utterly laughable ending. A few terribly patronising life lessons learned. It was yet another YA in a long line of YAs that used the conveniently absent parents motif. And incredibly frustratingly there was ZERO detail into the political atmosphere of the time this was set and a sad lack of development of the actual climate change storyline. And let’s not forget a twist about a main character that seemed utterly illogical and also unsettling due to some of their earlier interactions in the book.

So overall this was extremely disappointing and I shan’t be picking up any more Shusterman books to read in future. At least it was an easy read I guess.

Other Works by Neal Shusterman I’ve Reviewed

My Socials

10 thoughts on “Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman – Book Review

  1. Ouch, this book sounds like such a mess! I hate when authors seem to recycleprevious plots/characters over and over (I’m looking at you, John Green) and think no one’ll notice… How they profit from it so much, I have no idea. I guess if you just read ONE of their books, you’ll be fine but, yeah.
    I was really looking forward to Dry but I guess I might be better off not picking it up!
    Great review, Emer 🙂


    1. Oh my god John Green so does it too (even though I love him lol) but really how many times does he need to write about road trips? 😂
      But I think what was really annoying about Dry is it has such a fab premise with great potential but really nothing had changed by the end. I didn’t feel that the characters had learned anything or had any real repercussions to deal with from the drought. And because of that all the similar style plot devices irked me lol!


  2. That’s why I’m usually scared to read author’s early works, they usually not as good. I read Scythe this year and really enjoyed it. It wasn’t the best, but very good nonetheless. I think I’ll continue reading that series and won’t be trying any of his previous works. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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