Thursday, August 8, 2013

Fallout by Todd Strasser

Submitted by Stephen, teen reviewer:

Fallout  is written by accomplished author Todd Strasser, whose books are taught  in classrooms all around the world. This particular book is deeply personal to Strasser. It depicts what would have happened if they would have dropped a nuclear bomb on the United States..

Scott's dad is the only one in the neighborhood who has the foresight to build a fallout shelter in case of a nuclear attack. The neighbors mock him as he builds the bunker and laugh at the very idea of a catastrophe. But when it finally does happen and the sirens go off, it looks like Scott's family will be the only one surviving. The same neighbors who laughed at him weeks ago are now fighting for their lives trying to get into the bomb shelter. Some of their neighbors manage to get in, but that creates more problems than it solves. They now realize there was only enough food, water and supplies for Scott's family, and they will be in for the fight of their  lives.

Each chapter goes back and forth from weeks before the bomb and depicts Scott's more or less average childhood, and all the antics and drama that comes with that, and then after the bomb goes off when they are all huddled into a dark shelter trying to stay alive. The details are vivid enough to show that the author has lived during this time period and makes this a very personal story as I am sure he has thought about the "What ifs" of that time period.

The chapters in the shelter are thrilling and show the human spirit for survival, and while not leaving the shelter, the reader is forced to speculate what is really going on on the other side of that trap door. The chapters about Scott's childhood are less than interesting for me. The chapters seem to serve as a contrast between the way people function in normal society to the way they act when they are forced to survive in certain danger.

All in all this was a good quick read and the personal touch that the author has on this subject makes for some vivid writing. A good book for all junior fiction readers and anyone who enjoys simplistic historical fiction.

Fallout comes out in September, 2013.

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