As with most of my recent reads, I saw some buzz about The Dry on Twitter, so I checked it out. The blurb was intriguing, and I picked it up. Good choice!
Synopsis (from the author): West Virginia, 1895
A deadly dry spell has left the earth parched and souls desperate. Crops are failing. Cities are starving. A missing newspaper man doesn't account for much in times so terrible, except to the twelve-year-old son he left behind. When Elliot Sweeney discovers the search for his father has been called off, he boards a train alone to find him.
His quest leads Elliot into the depths of an abandoned mine, with a peculiar pocket watch, a blind burro, and a gutsy girl at his side. He finds a world he never dreamed of, even in his worst nightmares, and lands smack in the middle of a war between two kingdoms. Monstrous insects, smiling villains, and dark riddles are everywhere.
˃˃˃ Greed! Drought! Child-slavery!
Elliot must decide who to trust, the horrible Prince LeVane who is turning the entire world to dust, has enslaved hundreds of children, and is working his father to death? (If Elliot doesn't go to the water lands to retrieve the mysterious knife that LeVane demands, his father will die.) Or should Elliot trust the fascinating water nymph, Queen Tosia, who says she will help him rescue his father? But then he overhears her making plans to kill him.
˃˃˃ A page turner!
Will loyalty, family, and love prevail over greed and exploitation? Deciding who to trust may prove to be Elliot's greatest challenge, while the fate of the world above hangs on his choice.
What I liked: Rebecca Nolen created a horrific scenario of a deadly drought that is devastating the country, and a missing father trying to discover why children are disappearing. Elliot, the missing newspaper reporter’s son, sets off to find his father, and the adventure begins. The boy meets Lefty, a young girl searching for her brother, is sucked into a fantastic underground world, fights bugs, wasps, and other creatures, including Prince LeVane, the evil ruler of the dry world underground. Good story, great characters, sacrifices for family and friends, and an innocent look at the world make this an amazing read. It made me want to be a part of the adventure! The interesting facts about the wasps added a nice little touch, too.
What I didn’t like: The flow of the story was a little rambling, and some parts were disconnected to me, and took me out of the story occasionally.
Overall impression: I enjoyed the book. I connected with Elliot’s character and appreciated the actions of the wasps. And, I learned cool things about wasps! Overall, it was an excellent read for MG and above!
My rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)