“ Reviewed by Karin Librarian for TeensReadToo.com
Alex, a typical teenage boy, is left alone for the weekend because he refused to go away with his parents to his Uncle's farm. He quickly regrets his decision after the unthinkable happens. A volcano in Yellowstone National Park erupts, sending ash across the entire country. Forced to leave after the destruction of his home, Alex decides to try and make it to his family the only way he can - on foot. Taking only what he can carry, he sets out on a dangerous journey, hoping for the best.
Alex encounters many obstacles along the way - many extremely dangerous. When he can't go any further he is lucky enough to come across a farmhouse with people willing to help. Darla, a girl a couple of years older than he is, and her mother seem to be making it so far. Darla's mechanical abilities have allowed her to rig things up to help them stay fed.
But, after disaster strikes, Darla is left with no choice but to leave with Alex as he continues his journey toward his family. Will their food and water last? Can they stay away from the desperate people willing to do anything to survive? Will his family even be there when he gets to the farm?
ASHFALL is a true page-turner. The fact that a scenario like this could really happen makes you stop and think. How long could you make it on the food and water you have at home? Could you protect yourself from people willing to do anything to take what you have? Author Mike Mullin does a great job putting Alex in situations that I feel would be very likely to happen. He doesn't allow Alex to get through the story unscathed and I appreciated it. Realistically, what teen could make it hundreds of miles on foot through dangerous conditions without running into some MAJOR trouble?
I also enjoyed how the author handled the relationship between Alex and Darla. He created two intelligent, responsible characters, and it was a pleasure to take this journey with them. Something else I liked is that Darla is a strong and smart girl and Alex isn't intimidated by that at all. He realizes she is smarter than he is in many aspects of survival and allows her to lead the way when it is necessary.
I really can't wait for the sequel, ASHEN WINTER, which is set to come out in October 2012. ”