"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

17 February 2014


Strasser, Todd.  Fallout. Candlewick Press, 2013.

What if the cold war had turned hot?  This book is an alternate history which follows Scott's family in 1962 as his dad builds a fallout shelter below their home, a bomb is dropped, and Scott's family and a few other people are inside the shelter and must try to survive until it's save to go above ground again.

What I liked: the 1960s setting was appropriate, and I could see this book being a good read-alike to The Wednesday Wars and other books about this era of history. The details as the characters ran out of food and had to deal with a lack of personal space and a possible lack of water as they were underground for two weeks.  Also, the "chapter in the present, then chapter in the past leading up to the present" format worked well for this story.

What I didn't like: The dad collected supplies for himself and his family, but when the bomb happened somehow other people made it out of their own houses, into Scott's house, into the room where the shelter door was, and they managed to get inside without getting hit by radiation.  Those same people - a dad and his daughter and another family of three - joined Scott, his brother, his parents, and their babysitter - in a shelter built for four people.  One of the men - who left his wife and his other child outside - was a jerk and I wanted to punch his face all the time.  He complained about there not being enough food, even though this wasn't his shelter.  He suggested killing Scott's mom, who was injured, and the babysitter, who was Black, so that there would be more food/water/air for the rest of them.  But unlike other characters I've hated (Professor Umbridge, anyone?), he didn't get his comeuppance at the end, and he didn't change.  If this character had been deleted, I probably would have really enjoyed this book.

Recommended for: teens, tweens
Red Flags: nudity (when they're in the shelter they start using their clothes for rags and TP), some mild language
Overall Rating: 3/5 stars

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