Best Book of January – Ashfall

Today, YA Highway’s Road Trip Wednesday asks What’s the best book you read in January? I’ve actually read a few quite good books this month, but there’s a clear winner–Ashfall by Mike Mullin.

This post-apocalyptic YA novel starts with a bang, literally. A super-volcano in Yellowstone erupts so powerfully that it flings large chunks of flaming rock a thousand miles away. The main character, an almost-16-year-old boy named Alex, is home alone. His parents and younger sister have gone to visit Alex’s uncle 140 miles away. In true surly teenage fashion (not that all teens are surly, but Alex certainly is), he refuses to go with the rest of his family.

Then a flaming chunk of volcano falls on his roof and all hell subsequently breaks loose. A series of events lead Alex to decide to go in search of his family, but the ash-covered world has truly ended–no electricity, no communication, and there are some very vicious people roaming the countryside. Luckily, Alex meets up with Darla, whose survival skills complement Alex’s expertise at self-defense, and they’re able to help each other.

What is especially notable about this book for me is that it stuck with me for days after I read it. Scenes kept drifting into my mind’s eye (like all that ash), bringing me back to the story. Mullin writes the book in such a plausible way. And it’s downright scary to think of what our world would be like if technology disappeared with the exploding of a super-volcano.

Some of the scenes are very visceral and violent, so it’s not for the faint of heart. In fact, although the book intrigued me from the moment I first heard about it (it was released in September 2011, the same month as my book, Tankborn), I was, to be honest, a little afraid to read it. But it kept coming up when I would search for Tankborn on Amazon (yes, I’m obsessed about my ranking), and I finally decided to order it.

I’m certainly glad I did, and I’m planning to get Ashen Winter too. The ending of Ashfall just begs for a sequel, and luckily, there’s one ready for me to buy.

So, what have you read this month?

About karensandler

Lover of chocolate. A couple felines short of full-fledged Cat Lady. Author of the YA Tankborn Trilogy (TANKBORN, AWAKENING, and REBELLION), from Tu Books. Founding team member of We Need Diverse Books. Opinions expressed here are my own.
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3 Responses to Best Book of January – Ashfall

  1. rkhorserider says:

    I’ve been wanting to read that one for awhile! Maybe I should see if I can get my hands on it soon.

  2. Everyone I know is probably sick of hearing about Ashfall by now because I’ve recommended it so much. Ashen Winter is just as excellent as Ashfall for all the same reasons – it hits right on what can make humans so horrifying sometimes. (It’s been awhile since I’ve read Ashfall, but I seem to remember Ashen Winter being the more graphic of the two.)

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