Cannonball Read V: Book #40/52
Dust follows a group of people in the aftermath of a nuclear war. Jo has been preparing for this most of her life by stockpiling supplies into her basement and encouraging her friends to do the same. Still, she never actually expected it to happen. When the bombs hit, she takes her teenage son and her young nephew she is babysitting into the basement cellar. Her daughter, Matty, is at the school a few miles away. While waiting out the initial few weeks until she can safely go upstairs, Jo makes a list of her close friends and family and it becomes her goal to try and find them.
This book was unique in that it wasn't a YA book. I can't remember the last time I read a post-apocalyptic book that wasn't teenage based. I like YA, but this was refreshing. I also thought it was unique that it followed a woman who had prepared for this scenario. Most of the book took place in her basement or within a few blocks of her home -- no traveling across the countryside or anything. The characters were great. I liked that there was a pretty wide variety of people's reactions to the bombs. Some went psychotic, some stopped talking, some pretended nothing happened, and some simply used sarcasm to make it through the day.
One of the things I didn't like was the ambiguity of some of the characters ages. Initially, I thought Jo was in her 20s. Then she has a teenage son so she must be closer to 40, although she acts more like a 20 year old (such as leaving her children to go off with a new love interest later in the book). I'm also not sure how old her daughter Matty was. She supposedly goes to a school that has lockers (so she must be 13+ or so) but she acts more like she's 7-8 years old most of the book. I'm still confused as to why she kept drawing pictures of one guy as satan throughout the book. I kept waiting for the explanation that he did something awful to her (he found her and brought her home), but they never said anything about that.
Overall, I think it's a pretty solid book, especially if you're tired of exclusively reading YA dystopian fiction. Beware: there is a sort of cheesy love story thrown in towards the end, but it's not too bad.