Coincidence is an anomaly people don’t really know what to do with, but it happens all of the time. Sometimes, it’s a good thing, while other times it isn’t as good. Luckily, my coincidence happened to fall on the good side of things. I finished reading Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman when I picked up The Impossibility of Us by Katy Upperman. Coincidentally, both books take place in California, and they are both about current issues relevant in teen’s lives today. Everything else about these books are on two very separate spectrums. Here are short reviews for both:
Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman 2018, Simon & Schuster
Alyssa and her family, including her little brother Garrett understand the drought conditions California is having. They also know about the restrictions the “Tap-Out” has had on their lives. But that all changes the day she turns on the tap and nothing comes out. Day One isn’t so bad, but then Day Two happens and panic begins to set in. By Day Five, people are turning into water zombies….
Rumors of desalination plants along the beach prompt Alyssa’s parents to seek it out, but they never return home. Now, Alyssa and Garrett go in search of them and their lives, and those of others they are with become deadly.
Alyssa’s neighbors, including their son Kelton, are survivalists and Kelton’s dad has been waiting for the end to happen. While others around them are literally wasting away, Kelton and his family are doing quite well, until word gets out they have water….
The lives of these teens and her kid brother go from bad to worse, especially when they find themselves entangled with two other strangers, both with quirks in their thinking and personality, which could prove to become more dangerous than they imagined. The only way to survive it all just have one more sip.
If they can….
Told in various voices, the reader gets to see everything that happens to these characters, including the good and the ugly, and can only wish to help them when all the reader can do is turn to the page to see who lives. Shusterman (both Neal and son Jarrod) take us straight to the beginning of a dystopic piece of our nation (while in other news, hurricanes are devastating others at the same time). More than that, he takes the reader into the forefront of current social issues and the possibility of what could happen. Yes, this is a dark read. Yes there is horror, but there is also redemption. And yes…you will re-think your thoughts about potable water, one of the most precious commodities in the world.
The Impossibility of Us by Katy Upperman 2018, Swoon Reads
Elise’s mother has just told her they are moving. What makes it worse is that they’re moving her senior year. Elise is devastated by this news, but at the same time, she also knows it’s for the best. They’ll be living in the same town as her adorable niece she loves and her sister-in-law. But there’s one person who’s missing and always will.
Elise’s brother joined the armed forces and during his time in Afghanistan, he was killed. No one really know how or why, but that’s something Elise really doesn’t want to know. She has enough to deal with in real life, including her distant mother and now, this trip. No friends, an empty summer. The only thing that is making her summer bearable is the new puppy her mom got her.
And one day on the beach, she sees a stranger step into the cold water of the Pacific and doesn’t stop. Without thinking twice, Elise jumps in to rescue this person, whose name it Mati. When they start talking to each other, Elise recoils when she finds out he’s from Afghanistan, the same country…the same people, who killed her brother.
Since moving to this small seaside town, he and his family haven’t been shown a lot of kindness from the community. Stereotypes, prejudices and anger make his family’s life difficult and Mati is both confused and depressed by it. Until he meets Elise. Has has to make her realize that stereotypes are often wrong, and all it takes is a handful of sand.
Together, they make each other’s lives fuller and richer but they still have many obstacles to overcome on both sides. Mati’s family is very traditional, and Elise isn’t welcomed with open arms. Because of Mati’s heritage, Elise’s family don’t want to have anything to do with him. Can they make a difference, even within their own personal circles?
This book is more than just a summer romance. It’s a snapshot of real life, real prejudices, and being able to see the world through two perspectives. Upperman stitches together a girl who has lost her brother t the war in Afghanistan with a young man living in the US from Afghanistan. Elise’s voice is written in prose and shows the gutsy person she is. Mati’s voice is written in narrative poetry and reflects the person he is. LOVED this book about love, prejudice, and racism of two families and how these teens transcend it.