Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.
Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.
How to describe Ashfall... Awesome? Scary? Intense? All of those things. I'm not going to go deep into the story line because I think you get the basic idea from the Goodreads synopsis. Instead, I'll just get right to the point. This book scared the crap out of me.
My biggest fear in life (besides Michael Myers, who haunts my dreams nightly) is that some major natural disaster, or even war, is going to completely change this world I live in. Yes, I know things like this happen everyday, but not here in my little hole of a state New Hampshire. Do we have tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes? Sure, but they are tiny and harmless compared to everywhere else in the world. We also live in a pretty small area and away from major cities, so the likelihood of a terror attack is slim. Even the thought of something so huge happening is enough to make me have a panic attack. Not because I am afraid for myself, but because I have two kids. How could I ever, EVER keep them safe? Maybe there is a little extra paranoia in my brain passed down from my mom (thanks Mumsy!) but I really do stress out just thinking about these things. Had I not started my family before 9/11, I can honestly say that I never would have had children because of it.
Ashfall is all of those things that keep me up at night. When the supervolcano erupts, everything changes. There is little food or water, people are panicking. People are doing things they never could have imagined themselves ever having to do. Alex was home alone when it erupts and is desperate to reach his family who are 100 miles away. We follow him on his journey through the ash and snow, fighting the elements and other obstacles along the way. There is rape, murder, and even a little romance.
What I liked best about Ashfall is that it is told from the male point of view. Out of all the dystopian type books I have been reading, this is the first I have read from a male. Most of the time, if we hear from a male, there are alternating chapters between him and the female protagonist. Don't get me wrong, I usually love this type of setup, but it was refreshing to read his thoughts and see how a boy would deal in these situations without having to switch mind sets. Especially from a teenage boy, since this is as close as I will ever come to being one lol.
I recommend Ashfall to basically anyone who loves a good read, especially those who love dystopian and YA. You won't be disappointed. I will definitely be picking up the second book in this series on release day!