Ashfall - Mike Mullin

A phenomenal Young Adult novel that treads the long-lost genre of Books for Boys and emerges from that wasteland to create an adventure that should live beside favorites like Z for Zachariah and the short story The Most Dangerous Game as an engaging, frightening, and completely immersive novel, with powers to lure young male readers to books in ways the current girl-centric, vampire-saturated YA market has all but abandoned. And this is not to say the book holds no value for young women, as Ashfall is filled with strong-willed, independent and independently minded female characters, not the least of whom is the original and wholly authentic "tomboy" Darla, whose skills with machinery, farm life, and general survival make her the perfect companion to narrator Alex, whose strengths lie in martial arts and willful tenacity. Boys are in such need of exciting, well-written male-narrated YA novels that portray females respectfully and realistically -- and the market is so spare of just that -- that it makes Ashfall doubly easy to recommend: It fills a dire need for male readers, but the story's spark and accomplishment will entertain all. Fantastic stuff.