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. (copied from Goodreads)
I wanted to read Ashfall, because of the Yellowstone National Park volcano. As someone who is from Montana, Yellowstone National Park holds a special place in my heart. Before delving into the story, I have to say I love how the author, Mike Mullin, strived to make the events of the volcanic eruption of a supervolcano as accurate as possible. For me, it added an additional level of fear and reality to the story.
Ashfall starts with Alex getting to spend the weekend by himself in Iowa, while his parents and little sister were on their way to visit his aunt and uncle in Illinois. While playing games in his room, part of Alex’s house collapses, and almost traps Alex inside. That is just the first of many signs that something is wrong. As the day continues, there are loud unbearable explosion sounds that continue for the rest of the day and into the next day. Alex is informed that the supervolcano in Yellowstone, nearly a thousand miles away has erupted. After staying in his hometown for a few days, he decides to travel to his uncle’s house in Illinois to make sure his family is all right.
The journey is not an easy one, even though his uncle’s house is only a two-hour drive, it is going to take him weeks on foot. The catastrophe of the eruption has brought out the good in some, and the bad in others. Alex meets a varying degree of these people along his journey. The journey is not easy by any measure, especially with the dangers out on the road. Running out of food, and water is always a constant problem. Ashfall depicts the problems someone who is traveling after a nationwide catastrophe vividly and accurately in my eyes.
I absolutely loved Ashfall, and I could not put it down. I finished it in one sitting, because I could not find a spot in the book, where I felt comfortable putting it down without knowing what was happening next. There is a range of emotions I felt while reading this book, including joy, sadness, and dread. Mike Mullin does an awesome job of storytelling, and he left me wanting more. I cannot wait to read the next book in this series, Ashen Winter. Books like Ashfall are what make me so passionate about reading and reviewing books.
- Reading level: Ages 12 and up
- Hardcover: 476 pages
- Publisher: Tanglewood Press
- Publication Date: October 14, 2011
**Unabridged Bookshelf received this book from NetGalley**