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Series: Ashfall Trilogy Vol. 1   

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Annotation: After a supervolcano erupts, Alex must escape the devastation and seek his family in a landscape transformed by disaster.
Catalog Number: #5389144
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition Date: 2010
Pages: 466 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-933718-74-9
ISBN 13: 978-1-933718-74-3
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2011007133
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Alex, 15, is alone at home in Cedar Falls, Iowa, when his house collapses, as thick black ash falls from the sky. A supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park has erupted 900 miles away, all power is out, and the horrendous noise of the aftermath does not stop. Alex takes off through the never-ending darkness, stench, corpses, and tumult to try to find his family who had been vacationing. Along the way, he meets smart, tough Darla, an engineering whiz, and together they fight through the post-eruption world. The step-by-step survival journey may be too graphic for some, especially the detailed descriptions of filth, hunger, and injuries as the teens scavenge for food, water, and shelter; run from a brutal FEMA refugee camp; fight off looters; and witness unspeakable violence (a woman tells them she saw her husband roasted on a spit). This catastrophic vision is rooted in realism that is extended by a concludingnote about the story's scientific connections, and Alex's voice is right on, especially in his romance with fierce, angry Darla. Of course, a sequel is coming.
Horn Book
The end of the world comes when a giant rock is thrown 900 miles from the exploding supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park. Mullin's debut novel is carefully researched and vividly realized, a post-apocalyptic backdrop for a suspenseful tale with adventure, graphic violence, and two teenagers learning to love. For readers who like intense action, a believable narrator, and an imaginable dystopia.
Publishers Weekly
In this grim, postapocalyptic tale, the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, covering much of North America in volcanic ash and plunging the world into nuclear winter. Fifteen-year-old Alex Halprin refused a family trip to visit relatives in Illinois, so he-s home alone in Iowa when the eruption occurs. After seeing a neighbor kill three looters, Alex heads east through falling ash, dropping temperatures, and torrential storms, hoping to find his family. Soon he-s joined by another survivor, Darla Edmunds, with whom he falls in love. Debut novelist Mullin puts his characters through hell, depicting numerous deaths in detail (-Blam-Blam! His head pretty much burst, showering my legs with blood and bits of hair and skull and brain-). There-s also cannibalism and a rape before the novel comes to a believable ending; -happy- is perhaps too much to ask for, but Alex does find a measure of stability. The book is well written and its protagonists are well-drawn, particularly the nontraditional and mechanically inclined Darla. Although more appropriate for older teens due to its violence, this is a riveting tale of survival. Ages 14-up. (Oct.)

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up&12; Alex, 15, is separated from his family when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts. The eruption leaves his world in confusion, with no infrastructure and drifts of ash everywhere. He decides that he must leave his home in Iowa to seek out his family, who were traveling toward Pennsylvania when the explosion occurred. Alex uses his Tae kwon do skills to keep himself safe as he skis over the ash. Food is in short supply for everyone. Eventually he is taken in by Mrs. Edmunds and her daughter, Darla. When tragedy strikes, Alex and Darla must set out on their own to find safety and food. Not surprisingly, along the way, a romantic attraction develops between them. Ultimately, they must figure out how to survive in a refugee camp. The conclusion is satisfying, but unresolved enough to indicate the beginning of what appears to be a planned trilogy. The tough self-sufficiency of the two lead characters (Alex's Tae kwon do coupled with Darla's automotive prowess) adds to their appeal. The romance develops believably over the course of the book. Tautly paced and well researched, this is a high-action read-alike for fans of Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It (Harcourt, 2006).&12; Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
The pre-Friday world of school, cell phones, and refrigerators dissolved into this post-Friday world of ash, darkness, and hunger." Left home alone for a weekend in Cedar Falls, Iowa, while his family visits relatives in Warren, Ill., 15-year-old Alex Halprin ends up fighting for survival trying to get to them through an America ravaged by the sudden eruption of the supervolcano under Yellowstone Park. Alex is characterized by the decisions he makes when confronted with moral dilemmas—dilemmas that have no straightforward, correct answers—resulting in a realistically thoughtful protagonist dealing with complex and horrifying situations. Before he's even left his hometown, Alex encounters looting and other behaviors born from realization of just how finite resources are in emergencies. Traveling to Warren, he's even more vulnerable, both to the elements and to the mercies of the people he encounters. Among the best people that Alex encounters are a girl named Darla and her mother, Mrs. Edmunds, both self-sufficient farmers. But any relief is temporary—threats both environmental and human are ever present. While the pain and suffering Alex witnesses and experiences is visceral, so are the moments of hope and glimpses of human goodness. In this chilling debut, Mullin seamlessly weaves meticulous details about science, geography, agriculture and slaughter into his prose, creating a fully immersive and internally consistent world scarily close to reality. (author's note) (Speculative fiction. 14 & up)  
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 458-460).
Word Count: 100,628
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.0 / points: 15.0 / quiz: 146652 / grade: Upper Grades
Lexile: 730L

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.

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