Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don't realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, and it will erupt again, changing the Earth forever.
Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when the supervolcano erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away.
Ice breaker questions
- Any survival skills you have that might prove useful?
- What is the one scene that spoke to you the most?
- What was your take away lesson?
- If forced, could you become a cannibal?
- How do you think Alex reconciles his need to survive with his need to retain his humanity?
- How does Alex’s reaction to other people change as the book progresses?
- Let’s talk about the rabbit. What do you think it symbolized? To Darla? To Alex?
- When Alex gives away food to the family Darla says “It was dumb, not wrong.” Do you agree? What would you have done?
- Is the government response i.e. FEMA, a good solution? For Darla/Alex? For the other refugees? For the rest of the US? Who does it benefit?
- Which situation do you think is best for Darla and Alex in the long run?
Metaphorically Resonant, but Delicious Menu
- Cornbread muffins
- "Snow-covered corn" (almond bark/chocolate covered puffcorn)
Discussion with Mike Mullin!!
Listen to the discussion the YA Book Club had with Mike Mullin, author of Ashfall and its sequel Ashen Winter at our November meeting. Check out Mike reading a bit of the book at the 4:06 mark. Or the 9:15 mark to hear why he set the book in Iowa. At the 12:25 mark we ask about the FEMA camp in the book and its similarities to Katrina.