Ashfall

Mike Mullin, Author
Mike Mullin. Tanglewood, $16.95 (476p) ISBN 978-1-933718-55-2
Open Ebook - 473 pages - 978-1-933718-61-3
Open Ebook - 476 pages - 978-1-283-30541-9
Paperback - 476 pages - 978-1-933718-74-3
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In this grim, postapocalyptic tale, the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, covering much of North America in volcanic ash and plunging the world into nuclear winter. Fifteen-year-old Alex Halprin refused a family trip to visit relatives in Illinois, so he’s home alone in Iowa when the eruption occurs. After seeing a neighbor kill three looters, Alex heads east through falling ash, dropping temperatures, and torrential storms, hoping to find his family. Soon he’s joined by another survivor, Darla Edmunds, with whom he falls in love. Debut novelist Mullin puts his characters through hell, depicting numerous deaths in detail (“Blam-Blam! His head pretty much burst, showering my legs with blood and bits of hair and skull and brain”). There’s also cannibalism and a rape before the novel comes to a believable ending; “happy” is perhaps too much to ask for, but Alex does find a measure of stability. The book is well written and its protagonists are well-drawn, particularly the nontraditional and mechanically inclined Darla. Although more appropriate for older teens due to its violence, this is a riveting tale of survival. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)
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