There are some books that you can't put down, this is one of them. Ashfall, by Mike Mullin is an amazing 472 page YA action/adventure/apocalyptic novel published by Tanglewood Press.
The Story- Almost 16 year old Alex, stays at home while his mom, dad, and sister Rebecca head for a weekend at their Uncle's, only two hours away. Of course, it's the beginning of the end. Alex's house burns to the ground, a loud supersonic booming blasts the air for 24 hours straight and ash falls to the ground non stop for days. The super volcano at Yosemite has gone off and the world will never be the same. Alex decides to follow after his family on foot. He begins a journey of nightmares. There's no food, water, electricity and people are panicked. Alex picks up a partner on his quest, Darla, a very capable young woman who is a mechanical genius. Together they travel through hell, finally reaching the Uncle's house and a momentary reprieve.
My thoughts- Holy Moly, this book had me up thinking about emergency supplies and survival kits! Ashfall is so well written that you feel as if your are on the same journey as Alex, and it's scary. The pace is fast and the tension pulls you ever forward. The violence is brutal and real, very in your face. I got shivers reading about starving families and felt nauseous reading about slaughtering rabbits and pigs (in detail). The cruelty of man is balanced by Alex's caring nature, giving food and supplies to children and helping strangers that cross his path. The picture that Mullin paints is grime and painful.
For parents- In my opinion this book is for mature young adults. The violence is very real, there is cannibalism, rape, murder and lots of death. There are also hints at sex, though it does not fully occur until condoms are found and then there is no description. The truth is, this book can not be written any other way, it focuses on what will probably happen during an apocalyptic event. Though tough to read, the violence and despair is true to life.