Published by Starscape
Summary: “Dad always said if things get desperate, it’s okay to drink the water in the toilet bowl.” When we meet John and his younger brother Stew, they are indeed scooping water out of a toilet; things have obviously gotten desperate. Their father is away on a business trip, and the power grid over much of the U.S. has been out for weeks. Dad is a bit of a survivalist, but unfortunately his reputation was well-known. When some unsavory neighbors learned the boys were on their own, their food and water supplies were stolen one night. Now they’re stocking up on toilet water to make a 96-mile hike through the Nevada desert to the one place they know of that might save them. Another pair of siblings, Cleverly and Will, who are also trying to stay alive, find them in the bathroom. Stew convinces a reluctant John to let them come along, and the four of them start out. For reasons that are not clear until well past the halfway point of the book, they have to make the trip in three days, and even John and Stew’s survivalist training may not be enough to get all four of them safely to their destination. 272 pages; grades 4-8.
Pros: Holy cow! Once I got about a third of the way through, nothing would do but to read all the way to the end. Unlike many survival stories, the situations felt fairly realistic, as did the knowledge the kids had. The characters were interesting and reasonably well-developed, and the pace did not let up from page one until the very end.
Cons: I had a very unproductive Saturday morning, thanks to this book.