Publisher: Candlewick Press
Source: Candlewick Press for review/ Librarything Early Reviewers program
Available: NOW!! September 10, 2013
Fallout by Todd Strasser was released in September this year and is one of the many dystopian books to hit the shelves for young readers. So what makes this one different? Well, most of the books in this popular genre are futuristic dystopias, a doom befallen on the population years from modern day. Fallout is not the norm; it is set in the summer of 1962 when the danger of nuclear war is on everyone’s minds. The Russians are threatening to bomb the states and an all out bombing war would ensue.
The book follows Scott and his family as they plan for and try to survive a nuclear attack. Their family of four is the only family on the block preparing for the danger and go as far as building a bomb shelter for themselves. This would be a wonderful plan had it not been for the neighbors all knowing about the shelter. When the time comes and there is an attack, all the neighbors rush the house to try to get into the shelter. Now there are too many people underground, not enough supplies, and tensions run high as the group tries to wait for two weeks for the radiation levels to decrease enough outside for survival.
So that is the plot, intriguing right? Well not only is it an interesting premise it is also a very good book.
First off it was very easy to read in the sense of construction. The chapters were short and interesting and drew the reader back and forth between past and present in Scott’s life before and after the attack.
However it was also very difficult to read, this story of survival in a world that is not that different from what could have occurred and may still happen is eerily thought-provoking. Written for a younger audience it hits on a lot of emotions that they can relate to: of love for family, that questioning of life to come, embarrassment and shame, and lots of fear and anger; but as an adult reading it, it does almost the same, which is a very hard thing for a book to do. It related to a broad audience on many levels. I flew though this book within about a day.
Apparently most of this story is in fact based on the author’s home life. His family did in fact build a bomb shelter for the summer of 1962 and the shelter still remains at the home with the new owners. The author details an encounter with the new owner and taking a step back in time when he goes to see it again. It was just another interesting tidbit to an amazingly realistic story.
View all my reviews