Ashfall, by Mike Mullin. ARC read through NetGalley.

So I've been saying for years that the disaster novel I want to read is the one where the Yellowstone supervolcano blows. When this YA novel about a teenager living through it came across NetGalley, I figured: why not?

Alex is 15 and at home alone when the Yellowstone supervolcano blows, his family visiting relatives 140 miles away. He sets out on a trek to find them, meeting Darla, another teenager, along the way.

Well, hm. This isn't the disaster novel I wanted to read. This is DOOM piled upon DOOM piled upon DOOM with a wee little thread of hope. I'm not arguing that DOOM DOOM DOOM hope isn't realistic in the case of a supervolcano; it's that it turns out that what I really want to read is a classic disaster novel about Yellowstone blowing, with several POVs telling the story, most likely one of them either the President or someone close to him or her and another one probably a near-alcoholic news reporter dealing with the dregs of a troubled marriage, and another one a vulcanologist who's been blowing the alarms for years that everyone thinks is just crying wolf. You know, that sort of disaster novel.*

As a teen, however, I might have been all over Ashfall, with its apocalyptic dystopia and the theme of teens maturing in the face of disaster (and bonus martial arts), but it's not a book that speaks to me now.

If you've got an older teen who's into apocalypses or a younger teen who's into them who can handle some fairly direct violence (it's a apocalypse: people die and people kill, in not-pretty ways), hand them a copy. If you've got issues with responsibly-handled teen sex in a world where teenagers have to be adults, then it may not be the book for you.

* The one that Mother of Storms could have been without the creepy stuff, which luckily I don't remember.

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