Author(s): Mike Mullin
Reading Level/Genre: Young Adult - Science Fiction/Fantasy
Hardcover: 466 pages
Publisher: Tanglewood Press (October 11, 2011)
Ashfall is hands-down the best book I’ve read this summer. I’m a fan of dystopian YA and love it when one of them really pulls me into the story so far that I can’t think of anything else. From the very first paragraph, I made an instant emotional connection as Alex (the main character) explains how he can recall exactly where he was and what he was doing “that Friday” in just the same way his parent’s recall 9/11. From that moment the book grabbed me by the gizzard and didn’t let go!
What first drew me to the story was that the natural disaster that causes the calamity is something entirely possible: an eruption of the underlying supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park. I’ve seen the Discovery Channel and History Channel supervolcano programs and frankly, they scared the tar outta me! So of course I couldn’t get enough of the intense details that Mike Mullin wove into Ashfall. And he doesn’t disappoint.
Alex is fifteen and home alone in Cedar Falls, Iowa for the weekend while his parents and younger sister visit his uncle’s farm in the next town of Warren, Illinois. His world turns upside down in a matter of minutes when it happens and though his town is more than 1100 miles away, the effects of the eruption are so catastrophic that he is forced to deal with nightmarish conditions while journeying to get to his family. Along the way he meets Darla, and together they work toward survival and the safety of friends and family. But their trudge through ashfallen Iowa is insane! With lots of action, scary but truly possible scenarios, and realistic relationships, Ashfall is a one kick-ass dystopian YA book!