Book - 2018 | First Edition.
Average Rating:
Rate this:
When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman.

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.
Publisher: New York, New York : Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, [2018]
Edition: First Edition.
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781481481960
Branch Call Number: YA FIC Shust
Characteristics: 390 pages ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Shusterman, Jarrod - Author


From Library Staff

VaughanPLShelly Dec 11, 2018

This gripping fictional novel about a massive drought in California will leave readers with chills. I highly recommend it for anyone who is increasingly worried about environmental disasters.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

What happens when all the water runs dry? Alyssa and her brother are about to find out.

In true Shusterman style, this book gives us snapshots of what's happening around the main characters as well, giving us a full picture of this water crisis. Relevant and timely, it's even relatable to what's currently happening.

The only reason this isn't getting 5 stars is because the ending felt too nicely wrapped up for me. With everything that happened in the book, the resolution almost came too quickly. For me, it didn't seem to quite fit with the rest of the story. But other than that, and engaging book sure to make you want a drink after you get done reading it.

Jul 05, 2020

The story is about Alyssa and Garrett, brothers and sisters, trying to survive in Southern California without any water flowing in from the taps. The author portrays humans as being selfish and violent when they lack resources to survive. The characters are fully developed, and the plot is really engaging. The story is fast-paced and doesn't feel dragged out. The only draw back is that there is not really a message in the book, but the entertainment is worth the read.

Aug 24, 2019

Maybe I'm biased as Neal Shusterman is one of my favourite authors but I adored this book. I was a little scared going in as I did not like the main character but WOW does she has some character development going into the book. All of the characters had such unique personalities and were all thrilling to read their thoughts and in their mind in the event of tragedy. I enjoyed this book very much.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Aug 09, 2019

A service-ably compelling teen dystopian thriller. Southern California looses access to water and chaos ensues. I wanted it to be as amazing as "Unwind" and it wasn't that...but it is entertaining.

IndyPL_ErinM Feb 25, 2019

This teen thriller is scarily relevant to today. What could happen if water taps went dry?
A note on the writing - This is a fast-paced, engaging novel. The writers rapidly switch between different characters points of view. Although these are labeled, I found the rapid switching disruptive.

Jan 25, 2019

I found this book just ok. The plot progression follows that of those 'fortunately/unfortunately' story lines for kids, but without providing any sort of character development. It's a quick read, but it's not one that will stand out on any best of year list.

Jan 24, 2019

Cli-Fi for kids! Well, teens. (Definitely not kids.)

A solid apocalyptic disaster story, for those who are into such things. It has much more action than character development but that's to be expected with a thriller like this.

One warning: this book WILL leave you thirsty. I can definitely recommend reading it in a bath with a drink nearby, or else you may start getting paranoid about your own water supply...

jujujetplane Jan 24, 2019

I absolutely loved this book. Fast paced, emotional, action packed, and just a fun time from start to finish. It really had me rethinking the doomsday prepper mentality I’ve always scoffed at.

Jan 24, 2019

A catastrophe story that seems a little too believable for comfort. When the California drought reaches catastrophic proportions and there is simply no more water for anyone, chaos ensues. It becomes a world of haves vs. have-nots in a deadly way. This reminded me a bit of Life as We Knew It (which I loved), and was a page turner, for sure. And it definitely got you thinking about what you would do if you were the master of a resource everyone wanted. Things tie up a bit too tidily for me, but I suppose there's nothing *really* wrong with a happy ending. :-)

VaughanPLShelly Dec 11, 2018

This gripping fictional novel about a massive drought in California will leave readers with chills. I highly recommend it for anyone who is increasingly worried about environmental disasters.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Jul 05, 2020

blackarrows7954 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 15 and 18

Feb 25, 2020

RozyCozy thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 19

Jun 27, 2019

blue_bee_2537 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Feb 04, 2019

FunJ11 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Oct 16, 2018

mwstone thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

OPL_KrisC Sep 01, 2018

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


Add a Summary
spl_teens Nov 19, 2018

Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman
When the kitchen faucet first refused to work, 16-year-old Alyssa assumed that it was simply another result of her father’s ill-fated fix-it projects.
Soon, she knew better.
The tap wasn’t working because there was no water. None. There was no running water anywhere in the home, in the neighbourhood, the city or anywhere else in southern California.
Due to a prolonged drought residents had become used to water restrictions, but the sudden lack of any water at all was a shock. Surely the situation would soon change … wouldn’t it?
It didn’t.
In local grocery stores supplies of bottled water were quickly depleted. People began to search everywhere for water. Alyssa’s parents decided to travel to a new water desalination plant on the coast but two days later, when they hadn’t returned, Alyssa and her 10-year-old brother left home to find them.
They encountered one obstacle after another. Then, as the days passed and people become desperate and even violent, the search for their parents became a search for safety, for refuge and for survival.
Neal Shusterman’s book - co-authored with his son - successfully delivers the gripping teen fiction that his readers have come to expect and enjoy. With its realistic plot and authentic characters, Dry is a disturbing exploration of the human character, revealing how very quickly society could deteriorate in the face of a sudden catastrophe or extreme circumstances.
** Recommended for ages 12 years and up.
** Reviewed by Sally Hengeveld, librarian, Stratford Public Library.


Add a Quote
Feb 25, 2020

“As a kid you idolize your parents. You think they’re perfect, because they’re the yardstick by which you measure the rest of the world, and yourself. Then as teenager they just piss you off, because you realize that not only are they not perfect, but they may be even a little more screwed up than you. But there’s that moment when you realize they’re not superheroes, or villains. They’re painfully, unforgivably human. The question is, can you forgive them for being human anyway?“


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at VPL

To Top