Ashfall by Mike Mullin
Summary:Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.
For Alex, being left alone for the weekend means having the freedom to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek to seach for his family and finds help in Darla, a travel partner he meets along the way. Together they must find the strength and skills to survive and outlast an epic disaster.
Reminiscent of Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer and Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne (both of which I really enjoyed), Mike Mullin’s debut novel Ashfall was both a fascinating and frighteningly realistic post-apocalyptic tale.
Ashfall follows 15-year-old Alex, whose family decides to go on a weekend away in Illinois. Alex decides to stay home; thinking it will give him time to play video games. But a supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park erupts, sending the majority of the country in a thick blanket of ash, is forced to journey from his home in Iowa to Illinois.
What made Ashfall such an excellent novel was the realistic approach to the topic at hand. Mike Mullin obviously did his fair share of research on the topic, and it showed.
I think if I had any critique about Ashfall, it would be the beginning. Not that the beginning was bad by any means – it was actually quite enjoyable and entertaining – but nothing really happens until page 150.
All in all, Ashfall is a wonderful addition to the post-apocalyptic genre. While it isn’t quite up there with some of my other favorite post-apocalyptic stories (Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer and Monument 14 by Emmy Layborune) it is certainly a fabulous read nonetheless. The “what-if” feeling is certainly present throughout the course of the story, and you can’t help but want to stack up on food, water, and other survival tools.