Walk the Plank – Dry (Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman) – a rant with spoilers!

Ahoy there me mateys!  This here be the third book in my Scallywagathon 2019 Challenge.  Challenge three was Angle of attack: a book about a problem facing society.  Dry is a book about water shortages in California and the consequences of long term drought.  Water rights issues are very serious and complex and I find them weirdly fascinating.  So I have been meaning to read this one for a while.  Unfortunately I be in the minority with this one.

I listened to the audio book and had some problems with it from the very beginning.  But of course I have a challenge to win (and didn’t have anything else to listen to).  I love dad Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe series so far and was expecting to love this too.  But the characters’ tone and voices were kinda annoying from the start.  Add in implausibility central and a slow, pointless plot and it gets even more irksome.

So I thought I would share some of the many things I hated (spoilers aboard!):

  • The main character, Alyssa, is so naive and stupid even though the beginning talked about her logical powers of deduction and how everyone thinks she should be a lawyer.  Then she never makes a choice that makes sense.  She is constantly putting herself and others in horrible situations.
  • The next door neighbor, Kelton, is the son of a prepper.  He talks about guns and relates trying to get a girlfriend with deer hunting.  Of course he has had a crush on Alyssa forever.  He is supposed to be socially awkward and just comes across as annoying and stupid.

Edit: In honor of Sarah @ hamlets&hyperspace (follow her!) who left a comment about the deer hunting, I found the deer quote and thought I would share it.  The first mate thought it was stupid too.  UGH.  It hurts me noggin to read it.

For example, winning the affection of a girl is a lot like shooting a deer. It’s pretty important that you approach slowly and with caution—and preferably from a posterior angle, where they have little to no vision. Women, like deer, can be scared away by a strong musk, which is why it’s important to always wear deodorant. Dressing in camouflage doesn’t hurt either, because in my experience, girl find camouflage really cool. But all of that aside, I think the most important aspect of obtaining a girl of the opposite sex is knowing when to pull the trigger. Metaphorically, that is. You gotta make your move when it feels right, or else you’ll come off as creepy. This I know from experience, too.

  • There were two characters randomly tossed into the mix about half-way through the book.  Jackie and Henry are both selfish and obnoxious.  They are added into to make angst and provide plot momentum.  I hated both and thought the book would have been better without them.  Plus the voice actor for Jackie had a voice and speaking style that grated on me nerves.  No offense voice actor.
  • All of the major characters are 15 or older.  None act their age.
  • All the adults are stupid and make stupid choices.  Especially when it comes to their children.  The prepper accidently kills his older son.  Alyssa’s parents leave their children unsupervised in a crisis.  Who knows where the rest of the parents are.  MIA.
  • This book’s tone was so young at times.  It felt worse than a middle grade book.  The dialogue was cheesy and ridiculous.
  • There was no detailed background about how the tap-out got started or “real” statistics about what was going on.  It was just a random mess.
  • How was there an entire reservoir that happens to have water in it for the main characters to find at the very end.  Of course they can’t actually get to the water.
  • A firefighting plane drops water on the burning characters and forest and doesn’t kill them.  What??
  • The crisis officially ends the VERY next day after the kids are saved.  Bleh.
  • I could go on but I be tired and it’s time for some shut-eye.

There were a couple things I liked:

  • The whole neighborhood knows the prepper’s house.  So a mob comes and breaks in.  This makes logical sense.  I have preppers in the family who think they will survive the zombie apocalypse.  Me thought is that the mob or military will take yer stuff first.
  • When the kids get to the bug-out shelter of the prepper family, the older brother had been living in it and ate all the food and drank all the water.  Made me happy.  Plus it was unexpected.

Fun premise.  Bad execution so it walks the plank!

Side note: if ye want a great water crisis book read either the water knife or memory of water.  Arrrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

To visit the authors’ websites go to:

Neal Shusterman – Author

Jarrod Shusterman – Author

To buy the book go to:

Dry – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for the Authors

scythe – book 1 (Captain’s Log – YA Fantasy)

thunderhead – book 2 (Captain’s Log – YA Fantasy)

23 thoughts on “Walk the Plank – Dry (Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman) – a rant with spoilers!

  1. YES to ALL of this!!! I had the best time ranting to my book club about this one haha and am also glad to know I’m not the only blogger who had more problems than likes. The biggest issue for me was definitely the characters. I can let lots of things slide if I’m invested enough but they were all so annoying from page one!! Ugh, disappointing. I do like the Scythe series so far though!


  2. Urg! Thank you for the review – and that deer hunting quote… I’m guessing they were aiming for humour, but of course, given the terrible statistics both sides of the Atlantic of the number of women killed by the men in their lives who supposedly love them – it’s not remotely funny…


  3. Oh my god, that deer hunting quote is truly horrid. Ick. Just ick.

    Also, I know what you mean about voice acting for some characters grating on your nerves. It seems that narrators often give annoying characters annoying voices, and while it makes sense it doesn’t always make it fun to listen to. Ah well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess that be true. Why does an annoying character have to speak in an odd fashion. I mean aye people have unusual voices. But many times it is what the real person is saying that makes them annoying not how their voice sounds. I mean these books are not meant to be cartoons after all.
      x The Captain


      1. True, but maybe it helps the narrator somehow? I know not all narrators use character voices, and some have very subtle voices. It’s interesting to compare them, really.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I find audiobook narrators to be fascinating. Audible has several interviews with them and I love the behind the scenes looks. I am listening through one of me series on audiobook and the narrator is so good that I am going to listen to other things that she has narrated.
        x The Captain

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I will also search for other books narrated by my favorites. Sometimes the books are too similar, though, and I can’t always keep the series straight when they’re narrated by the same person.


  4. Okay, I stopped reading that deer hunting quote at “winning.” Women are not prizes and cannot be won. Until men get this through their thick skulls, they’re going to keep shooting women who don’t concede to being a prize after the dude did some quest he calls courtship. The number of men who kill women in America is breathtakingly awful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This response was brilliant! Well said matey. The first mate and I have been talking about how many working omen are ignored or treated poorly by their male bosses if the boss does not find them attractive. And then if they are found attractive there are other issues. Either of these attitudes are horrible. The first mate sees it all the time with the younger co-workers and it makes him very grumpy.
      x The Captain
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I did actually laugh when I heard it because it was so bad. And I was actually sure I had misheard. I rewound and listened to it again. And then I wanted to puke . . . preferrably on the authors.
      x The Captain


      1. Ahahahaha! I’m laughing so hard at this. Thanks for sharing. Also: “a girl of the opposite sex” is weird? Either she’s a girl or she’s the opposite sex but saying them together doesn’t make much sense? Or maybe it’s just me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I mean maybe the person was genderfluid or something. As poorly as that section was written, who knows. Seriously when ye compare this with the scythe series, the style and characters are so different. I mean I hate to be this person, but I did wonder if son wrote the book and dad put his name on it so it would sell.
        x The Captain

        Liked by 1 person

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