By: Mike Mulllin

Ashfall takes place in Alex's house and the area between Cedar Falls, Iowa and Warren Illinois. On the way Alex stops at houses abandoned and occupied like Mrs. Edmund's house. A large volcanic occurs in Yellow Stone Alex was home alone. Alex embarks on a long journey full of exhaustion and struggles. A long the way, Alex struggles to stay alive. The book begins with Alex playing games on his computer. He talks about the relationships between him and his family. All of a sudden the roof collapses and his house is burning. Alex manages to get out of his house alive and he has no idea what happened. In reality, a super volcano in Yellow Stone had just erupted destroying many homes. At first, Alex stays at his neighbors' house, but then decides to leave and look for his family. Alex also left because he was scared by the fact that his neighbors killed a couple of criminals that trespassed into their house. After Alex's long journey to Warren, Alex arrives at his uncle's house. After longing to see his family, his desires are not meet fully when he finds out his parents went looking for him leaving his sister behind. Eventually Alex decides to stay at his uncle's farm until his parents show up. He is going to leave if they don't show up next spring. Since Alex is at his uncle's house, he decides to start working on the farm with his relatives. Alex's resolution to his conflict is waiting for his parents to return. With him being at his uncle's house, he will be at more ease when worrying about surviving.
The main character is Alex.To begin, Alex is brave because he fought a criminal named Target, even though he was not confident he would win. Alex is also caring because he offered some of his supplies to a mother in need of supplies. Alex is also lucky due to him collapsing on the verge of death in Mrs. Edmund's house. Mrs. Edmund and her daughter take care of him. The character is mainly motivated by finding his family because he was risking his life to find his family when he traveled. Alex is also motivated to survive because one time, he drank toilet water to stay alive. He is motivated to protect others too because when he fought with Target, he would have preferred himself to die instead of Mrs. Edmund. In addition, Alex is motivated by making others happy because he does not slack off when he helps work at somebody's house. I like the character because he is kind and thinks of others. When Alex ran into a mother in need of supplies, he gave her some even though him and Mrs. Edmund's daughter, Darla needed it. The relationship between Alex and Darla is a couple relationship. Darla shares her feelings for Alex later on in the book. At first, Darla acts like she does not like Alex and acts like he is a burden.
The theme of the novel is any child would need to know how well their family is doing in a crisis and would risk their life to see them again, even if it involves giving up good opportunities. One example that supports the theme is Alex could have stayed at his neighbors' house, but instead he chose to leave and look for his family. If Alex stayed at his neighbors' house, he would not have to deal with harsh conditions outside. Another example is Alex could have stayed at Cedar Fall High If he stayed at his high school, he would have had shelter, water, and would have only needed to work. A third example from the book is Alex could have stayed at Mrs. Barslow's house and she had a good amount of water suppl, more than Alex. Mr. Barslow wanted him to leave, but Alex left on free will. A final example that supports the theme is Alex wants to leave his uncle's house next spring if his parents are not back. Alex would be more safe if he stayed at his uncle's house. He could possibly die if he travels back to Iowa to look for his parents.
I believe that Ashfall deserves a 10 out of 10 rating. I give this rating because the book is well written and does not bore you. The book drags you in and makes you want to know what happens. Many dramatic things happen and you want to know the outcome. the ordinary vocab also helps the reader to easily understand the text. Also, the author adds details to the story that would happen in real life. For example, the author even includes cannibalism in the book which could happen if somebody does not have enough food. In the book Alex runs into a mother that had her husband eaten by gang members. Even though the author is an adult, a teenager can really connect to the book. Teens can relate to the novel because it shows a typical teenager relationship with their family. Alex has a bad relationship with his mother and winds up arguing with her. Alex feels like he hates his little sister, too. Underneath it all when Alex is separated from his family, he realizes his true feelings for them and would do anything to be with them. Like many teenagers, Alex does not realize his love for his family until he is separated from them. Another connection between teens is they want to be free in their actions in a relationship and be considered an adult. Alex claims he has changed and should be considered an adult. When Alex arrives at his uncle's house, his uncle his uncle tells him what to do and the rules he should follow. After the situation, Alex tells his true feelings of how he wants to be treated like an adult.