Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Alex was about to start a heavenly weekend with just him and the World of Warcraft when the ceiling collapsed on him.
When he finally managed to pull himself out of the rubble, Alex stumbled out of what's left of his house and found thick layers of ashes covering everything. Then came the unbearably ear-splitting explosion noises that lasted all night long. His neighbours ushered Alex into their house, telling him that a supervolcano at Yellowstone National Park had exploded.
As civilization slowly grinded to a halt, and the selfish side of humanity reared its ugly head, Alex knew he needed to find his family, who went to visit an uncle in Warren in Illinois for the weekend. If only he had gone with them... Now he had to travel alone in these impossible conditions with minimum food and supplies. He had no idea how he was going to do this, and even worse, he couldn't help but wonder if his family actually made it to Warren in the first place.
The plausible premise of a supervolcano's eruption makes this book all the more scary in a plethora of dystopian / apocalyptic teen novels out there these days. The story of a teenager trying to stay sane in a chaotic world after a natural disaster strikes was well actualized, and even if you are not crazy about survival story, this one will hold your attention. The excitement wanes a bit in the beginning when Alex's painstakingly slow trek across the ash seems to fall into a routine of little progress during the day, coming across a house at nighfall, finding either a rifle pointing straight at him to tell him to move along, or a kindly couple who wants to keep and take care of him forever. The pace picks up quickly again though so it's all good. Alex eventually bands together with another survivor, and romance does blossom between the two, but it's totally from a guy's point of view and sits well with my stomach. Together they encounter some pretty disturbing things that make this book more appropriate for an older audience.
There is a sequel coming in October 2012, and unlike many series, this first book doesn't end with a cliffhanger, which, as much as we complain about cliffhangers sometimes, I feel that this one could have ended a little early when...well, I can't tell you, but you'll know where if you read it I think.
Check out the author's website.
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