The Dry

The Dry

by Rebecca Nolen

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West Virginia, 1895.

A deadly dry spell has left the earth parched and souls desperate. Crops are failing. Cities are starving. A missing newspaper man doesn’t account for much in times so terrible, except to the twelve-year-old son he left behind. When Elliot Sweeney discovers the search for his father has been called off, he boards a train alone to find him.

His quest leads Elliot into the depths of an abandoned mine, with a peculiar pocket watch, a blind burro, and a gutsy girl at his side. He discovers a world he never dreamed of, even in his worst nightmares, and lands smack in the middle of a war between two kingdoms. Monstrous insects, smiling villains, and dark riddles are everywhere. Deciding who to trust may prove to be his greatest challenge, while the fate of the world above hangs on Elliot's choice.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940152720747
Publisher: SkipJack Publishing
Publication date: 10/09/2013
Sold by: Draft2Digital
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 1,049,233
File size: 420 KB
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

The author lives with her family, two cats, and a large dog in a 100-year-old house in Houston, TX.

She is a long-time member of SCBWI, The Houston Writer's Guild. She is a master gardener with an extensive and fairly useless bug collection.

She writes adult books under the name R. L. Nolen.

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The Dry 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Dry by Rebecca Nolen would make a great movie! I could see every scene as though I was seeing it in a movie. Very enjoyable and love the parallels.
ReadersFavorite2 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite The Dry by Rebecca Nolen takes us to West Virginia in 1895 where a drought has hit the state and it is making people desperate. The crops are failing and any city to be hit is starting to starve. So when a newspaper man goes missing, it is really nothing of note to anyone but the man's son. Elliot is upset when he finds out the search for his father has been called off, so he gets on a train and heads off to do the looking himself. He won't let anything stand in his way, not the dry spell and not the sudden appearance of a world he never could have imagined. Wow, this book has a little bit of everything in it. There is history, a new fantasy world to explore, child slavery - really every page you turn gives you something new to take in. This book is a feast for the senses; you get a whirlwind of emotions and the action just never lets up. You can tell Rebecca Nolen has a passion for the written word because every word is crafted into the right form for this book. I could feel Elliot's frustration and worry when he found out that his father's search was called off. I mean can you imagine being a young boy of 12 and going out to find your parent yourself? With just a few things to aid you? Truly amazing. If you want to take a gripping and wonderful ride, read The Dry.
ReadersFavorite1 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Samantha Rivera for Readers' Favorite Elliot’s world has been quite normal living with his father and then with his uncle while his father worked. But everything changes when he learns that his father has disappeared. Every day he continues to wait patiently for more news until he learns that no one is looking anymore. His father has disappeared and he’s not the only one, but no one else seems to care. It’s only Elliot and his new friend Lefty who are going to search for the missing children and Elliot’s missing father. Because something strange is going on beneath the old mines where both Elliot’s father and Lefty’s brother were last seen. There are creatures down there and those creatures will stop at nothing to destroy the world Elliot knows and loves in The Dry by Rebecca Nolan. Elliot is definitely an interesting character and he’s one that young readers can relate to. He’s curious, intelligent and brave. These characteristics are what help him so much and they are characteristics that other children would emulate. I really liked the descriptions throughout this book because you could imagine everything that was happening. There was an interesting plot line and it seemed like the entire time you never knew whether they were going to succeed or fail in achieving the goal. Elliot overcame a lot and pushed himself further than he would have thought possible, which really shows children what perseverance can do. The Dry by Rebecca Nolan is a book I won’t soon forget.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite The Dry is a fantasy written for young adults and preteens by Rebecca Nolen. It's set in Jeffersonville, Virginia in 1895, and there's been an extended drought that's badly affected harvests. Elliot Sweeney is 12 years old, and he's been living with his uncle since his father went missing. His father's a journalist who's been investigating the disappearance of a number of children who were working in the local coal mines. It's been 91 days since Elliott began watching for his father's return and, when he sees in the local paper that the authorities have given up their search efforts, he decides that it's time for him to take action. Elliot boards the train that just pulled into the station and sits down with another boy, a woman and a strange old man.  The Dry beautifully blends contemporary and epic fantasy. There are dragons, an evil being made up of thousands of tiny bugs, and an amazing army made up of otters, dragonflies and water horses side-by-side with a mine where children who've been purchased from their families or guardians toil night and day, which has historical relevance. Then there's the gigantic insects; some - like the beetles - are pawns of the evil prince, and others - like the giant wasps - turn out to be amazing and courageous allies. I had so much fun reading this book. Elliott is such a grand character, and his coming of age is marvelous to watch. I also loved the headings for each chapter which share the author's love for and lore about the much maligned wasp. The Dry is exciting and filled with action and adventure, and you really don't have to be a kid or young adult to enjoy reading it. It's most highly recommended.
224perweek More than 1 year ago
I guess I just did not see what most everyone else did about this book. I did not find it creepy or fascinating. I found it to be a little confusing at times. Nothing really stuck out as great with this story. I was reaaly looking foward to reading it too.
Wynkyn1 More than 1 year ago
Young Elliot Sweeney has a hard life. Grudgingly kept by his uncle, his world is a harsh one where the only thing more scarce than water is kindness. Elliot makes a bold decision to take off on his own in search of his long absent father. Traveling to the town where his father was last seen, he meets Lefty, a young girl seeking her brother, sold into a life of child slavery working in the coal mines, the very issue Elliot's reporter father had been investigating when he disappeared. From what appeared to be a dystopian world, Elliot finds himself in a world of fantasy and magic where an evil prince is out to destroy and enslave the world. The author, Rebecca Nolan, has a gift for description which leaves vivid images of both the world and the characters in it.  The characters are believable and sympathetic. I was struck by her ability to describe the intense physical experiences of her characters such that you feel like you are experiencing everything with them. Burning heat, intense thirst, fearsome creatures, unending blackness and more. Even non-human creatures take on memorable personalities.  Stories with child heroes can be difficult, especially when challenged by formidable villans. This is not a problem for Elliot, whose determination to save his father and his new friend drive him on.  And, everything is told with a gripping intensity that keeps you turning pages.   Well done, Rebecca Nolan.  Well done.  Five shiny stars for Elliot and his great adventure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BrandieC More than 1 year ago
2.5 stars Another reviewer has compared The Dry to Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, which is a serious overstatement of both Rebecca Nolen's writing and her world-building. While it started off as mildly entertaining, The Dry quickly became a runaway mess, with too many plot strands for such a short book. In addition to the main storyline, in which Elliot Sweeney is trying to find his missing father, there were several other stories which were hinted at but not developed: the schism between the kingdoms of Water and Dry; the betrayal of the Queen by two of her key advisors and their resulting physical alterations; the love story between those two advisors, which might or might not explain why they betrayed the Queen; the relevance of the clock face and the Twelfth Sun; the role of the Watcher; the alliance between the United Vespid Kingdom and the Dry; etc., etc., etc. The worlds created by Tolkien and Rowling were developed over several books; Nolen simply tried to do too much in The Dry, with the result being that the main plot felt weak. Nolen also opened each chapter with a factoid regarding wasps. I kept looking for some connection between the opening factoid and the events of the subsequent chapter, but there was none. I also expected, given these introductory comments, that the wasps would play a much more significant role than they actually did. By the end, I felt cheated because neither of these expectations was fulfilled. There were some fresh and interesting details in this fantasy; I particularly liked the concept of stone sickness, and I loved Beulah, the blind burro. Unfortunately, these gems were not given the opportunity to stand out amid all of the other dross. One Goodreads reviewer suggests that The Dry would appeal to middle grade readers, and I agree. However, it did not have the necessary sophistication to have cross-over appeal for adults. I received a free copy of The Dry through Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy fantasy adventures like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and The Golden Compass, you will enjoy Rebecca Nolen’s The Dry. The story will engage young readers and adults alike. Crisp dialog moves along smoothly making it a pleasure to read aloud. Chapters are short, so the book is well suited for very busy schedules. As the plot thickens, a colorful cast-of-characters offer up much to discuss about courage, fear, loyalty, ethics, love, and the cycle-of-life. Throughout the book, clever use of literary techniques paint vivid visual images and plant seeds of wisdom to ponder. Such as, “The stone yielded a bit, like old bread dough” “The revelation left him in an angry, disbelieving, fugue of shock” “Along the banks, the snow gleamed with the barely-there lilac of twilight” Elliott to Lefty “….we’d be spotted like two flies in a sugar bowl” Tosia to Elliott “…It isn’t the instrument that makes the music, Elliott. It is the musician” Little facts about wasp entomology that introduce each chapter, collectively create a tutorial to enlighten the reader to the nature of an often-misunderstood creature. Being entertained while learning is a magical combination. The Dry achieves both!