DEADLY TO THE LAST DROP .
Ninety-seven percent of the population is dead. And the killer rain keeps falling. Ruby's not sure she can make it on her own much longer. So when a chance encounter leads her to a camp with the last boy she may ever kiss (it's not easy to date during an apocalypse), Ruby gratefully accepts the army's protection.
But safety comes with a price: If Ruby wants to stay, she must keep her eyes-and her mouth-shut.
Except Ruby stumbles across a secret she can't possibly keep. Horrified, she flips out and fights back-only to make the most shocking discovery of all...
Praise for H2O:
"Creepy and realistic. H2O left me thirsting for more." -Kristen Simmons, author of Article 5 and Breaking Point
"Ruby's candid, addicting narration brought this terrifying and wholly plausible story to life. This is a book you'll devour all at once-from the safety of your umbrella!" -Jessica Khoury, author of Origin and Vitro
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I was sinking.
That's how it is when you're all alone and there's been a global apocalypse and you're just hoping your dad is going to show up like he said he would but there's no sign of him so what exactly are you going to do if your dad doesn't come and every day you try hard not to think about that because...
Everything's going to be OK
is what you have to keep telling yourself but some part of you or maybe it's all of you thinks it isn't going to be OK so you try not to think at all but you can't stop thinking because pretty much everyone is dead and you've got nowhere to go and no one to go anywhere with and anyway who wants to go anywhere when THE SKY IS RAINING DEATH?
Yes, in an apocalypse-type situation, it's very easy to think bad things. In fact, there's SO much time for thinking, it's really easy to slide way beyond even regular apocalypse-type thinking into TOTAL COMPLETE AND UTTER DOOM THINKING...because there's about a million days when you're stuck inside because it's raining killer rain or it looks like it's going to rain killer rain or you just can't face another day in the library.
Yup, that's how bad things got: I broke into Dartbridge Public Library. Studying up on clouds (I know twenty-four different types!) didn't seem like it was going to be enough to get me through this thing. (Through it and into what? That was a whole other question, one best not asked.) My specialist areas of study were:
1. The self-help section. Oddly, there didn't seem to be that much on feeling a bit gloomy because human life on Earth as we know it has been wiped out-but you could tell people meant well. Ruby usefulness rating: 4/10.
2. Microbiology for people who quit biology at the end of eighth grade, weren't really all that interested in science, and weren't any good at it anyway. It's baffling and creepy. Ruby rating: 1/10.
3. Car maintenance for people who would have dropped that too if they'd tried to teach it to us in school (which they should have done). I would not have chosen to study this, but something happened. I'll explain later. Ruby rating: 10/10.
4. Survival manuals. Frankly, I could have learned most of this stuff when I was in Girl Scouts, but I tended to opt for the cake-making side of things (the benefits seemed more obvious at the time). However, not even the SAS (the Special Air Service = very, very good-at-surviving-stuff British Army crack force), who have handy tips on surviving a nuclear bomb going off right next to you, seem to have been able to have imagined this particular kind of disaster. Or maybe they did, but when people saw the chapter on how the army would abandon anyone they had no use for and we'd all be left to fend for ourselves, they complained that it was an outrage and a lie and the SAS were forced to take it out. (Even though it was TRUE.) Nevertheless, Ruby rating: 7/10 (because you never know).
5. Oh, and...one particularly sad and lonely day, I had a quick look at cellular telecommunications. There are no phones and no Internet anymore, so I was just curious, I suppose, about how difficult it'd be to build and run a thing like that. (Quite difficult, I think. Judging from the diagrams.) Ruby rating: 0/10.
My cell phone is at the top of a list of all the things there'll be no more of (currently 402 items long with the recent shock addition of chocolate spread; I was scooping the last fingerful out from under the rim of a jar when I realized supplies will eventually run out).
There are no people on this list. Their names, the names of the dead, are written on my heart. My small, sad, human heart. Hurt so bad it will never cry again.
Don't get me wrong. I cry. I cry plenty. I howl! But my heart? It is all cried out. It is silent.
I don't do pets anymore either. Apart from the risk that a single sloppy lick from a puddle drinker could kill you, they're nothing but heartbreak and trouble...and they're ganging up. There are probably small, mean teams of guinea pigs and rabbits, but the dogs are certainly hanging out together-I've seen packs of them roaming-and I've even seen loose affiliations of cats. Not Ruby, though-that's Mrs. Wallis's Siamese; she doesn't affiliate herself with anyone. She's still hanging around in a strictly unaffiliated sort of way, and she seems to be doing OK, though I sincerely hope her well-fed appearance has got nothing to do with the disappearance of Mrs. Wallis's shih tzu Mimi (last seen absconding from a car in the school parking lot and running in the direction of home), or indeed with the disappearance of Mrs. Wallis herself.
There is a shorter list of things I'm glad there'll be no more of, currently twelve items long. Exams come top, which I never would-"come top of the class," geddit?-so that's why they are numero uno. This list is a lot harder to think of stuff for, so it's brilliant when I do come up with something. The last time I thought of something-"No one can stop me from drinking whatever I like whenever I like!"-I drank to celebrate. I hit my mom's gin.
I remember standing, swaying, at the open front door, watching the rain pour down. I think I was talking to it. I wouldn't have been saying nice things.
When I woke up the next morning, alive, I crossed the drink thing off the list.
The thing about going a little crazy is it's hard to realize that's what's happening.
I stopped going to the library. (What do the SAS know? They're buffoons!) I stopped doing anything much, other than things I absolutely had to do-and even my grip on those got a bit shaky. I'd get up and think, I must clean my teeth...and it'd be bedtime before I got around to it-although bedtime itself got a little flexible. Sometimes it happened in the middle of the day; sometimes it happened all day. And sometimes, when it was supposed to be bedtime, because it was the middle of the night, it didn't happen at all.
One such night, I shaved my hair off. All of it. It seemed easier to do that than wash it. Easier, even, than trying to find a can of dry shampoo with anything left in it-when in any case, just like chocolate spread, supplies will run out eventually, so why not face facts? That's what I imagine I was thinking...when really I don't remember thinking anything much, just picking up my (looted) battery-powered lady shaver...and watching grubby clump-lettes of (dyed) black hair fall.
It should have been the head shaving that alerted me to how serious my situation was. Bit of a clue there. But all I ended up doing was adding the result to one of my other lists: the list of stupid things I've done.
That one's not written down either; it's just burned on my brain. It hurts.
My shaved head looked like a small, fuzzy globe, a planet...inside which strange things happened. Below the spiky surface, dark, wordless thoughts massed, rose, and sunk. Popped up again, doing the backstroke. Giggling. Or hidden deep in the goo of my mind, screaming messages that bubbled up, garbled.
All day, every day, all night, every night, my head simmered with nonsense. Sometimes it boiled. Until finally, there didn't seem to be anything very much left inside my head at all. Boiled dry, I guess. I don't think the thoughts had words anymore. First off, even the sensible, normal ones got texty: "I must clean my teeth" became "clean teeth." Then it was just "teeth." Then, when the words had pretty much stopped altogether, it was probably just "."
I was lost on Planet Ruby, where weeks and days and hours and minutes and seconds (there were some very long seconds) got muddled-and dreams and reality got muddled too. And nightmares, but they were pretty much only about as awful as what was real.
And it might have all gone on and on like that until I really did walk out in the rain (then it would stop), but finally SOMETHING HAPPENED TO ALERT ME TO HOW SERIOUS MY SITUATION WAS...
I crashed a Ferrari. Totaled it.
I was flooring it, coming around a bend (up on Dartmoor, I was about to realize), when I hit a patch of mist, part of which turned out not to be mist but a sheep, so I swerved and-
The airbag thing smashed into my face. Only somehow my own hands had gotten involved.
OK, I know how. I like to do this fancy cross-hands thing when I'm turning corners. So, yeah, my own arms got biffed into my face by the airbag.
I sat there. Punched face screaming. Dazed-double dazed, because you want to know a terrible thing? I wasn't even sure about how I'd gotten there. I mean, I must have thought I should get out of the house for a bit-to go on an I-need-something-to-drink mission, most probably. (Supplies always seemed to be running low, but that was probably because time was running weird: one minute I'd have plenty of cola or whatever, and the next minute I'd be draining dregs and panicking.) But since I often thought I should do something and didn't do it or thought something had happened when it hadn't actually happened, I was seriously shocked to realize that this crash thing, apparently, had really happened. Though I only knew it for sure because IT HURT. OWWW. ARRRGH. OWWWWW.
WAKE UP, RUBY! WAKE UP!
The car was wrecked; I didn't even have to try to start it again-which I did-to know that. It had made out with a wall. They didn't like each other. Not one bit.
I got out of the car. My eyes were already stinging like something nasty had been flung into them. I put my hand up to my bashed nose and felt blood. I looked at the blood on my fingertips; then I squinted at the thing that would like to eat that blood.
Mist's a funny old thing, isn't it? Basically, it's just a cloud that's hit rock bottom. A cloud (stratus nebulosus, doncha know) that can no longer be bothered to get up into the sky. It drags its sorry self along the ground. Funny? It's hilarious, really: Is it going to kill you, or isn't it? How much of it-exactly-would have to settle on your skin before...
I could see that mist swirling and swelling toward me. I should have gotten back into the car and waited it out...but I have an emotional issue about being trapped in a car-particularly, in this case, one that had just SMASHED into a wall; probably anyone left alive in Devon would have heard that crash. Some scary someone-anyone could have been on their way to investigate. So-add this to the list of stupid things!-I didn't wait. I ran.
All I could think was: it was coming after me. But I could outrun it.
I bolted across the moor. I scrambled up-up-up. Up rocks. Up-up-up. Up-up-up. Stupid-stupid-stupid Ruby. Up-up-up.
Until there was no more up.
I knew I was at the top of Hay Tor not because I'm, like, really keen on long, rambling walks in scenic landscapes, but because there was no place higher to go; anyone who lives in Dartbridge knows this place because you can see it for miles around-when it's clear.
I stood on the rocks, where there was no place up-no place, no other or farther or higher place-watching the mist rise around me, puffing itself up like it was just remembering it could be a cloud that could get on up into that sky and rain.
I wiped at my throbbing nose, saw blood on the back of my hand. What if it could smell it? What if all those little wiggly-legged bacterium ET microblobs could smell my blood? What if they were all now paddling away like mad, waving their little tentacles, letting out little microsqueals of joy at the scent of breakfast?
I didn't know how that would be, having that thing, that disgusting little blood-gobbling, world-murdering thing get me slowly.
Bad? Very bad? Unimaginably, excruciatingly bad?
I was going to die alone on Hay Tor. My body would be pecked at by crows, nibbled on by sheep bored of grass. Foxes would come and have a good old chew on my bones-maybe drag a few back to the den for the cubs. Someone someday would put my rain-eaten, worm-licked, weather-worn skull on top of the highest stone, and Hay Tor would get a whole new name: Stupid Dead Girl Hill.
I stood. I roared.
No, that's just what I'd like to say I did.
I lost it.
I stood and I whimpered, and in the mist in front of me through stinging, weeping eyes, I saw the shadow of a someone-anyone. Fear crackled through me.
No one moved.
And they'd die if they stayed there, swallowed by the mist-and I felt my arms waving and I heard my own wrecked voice shouting, "COME ON!"
And the shadow-being waved back. She waved back.
And I saw she was me and wasn't real at all.
And I sat down on the rocks, weeping.
And the shadow girl sat too...and melted. She went away. Almost as quickly as she had appeared, she disappeared.
I knew what she was. I'd seen her in the cloud book. A rare thing-called a "brocken specter," when you see your own shadow in a cloud. Enough to spook anyone out. More than enough to spook me.
The mist went with her-the shadow ghost of me-burning off in the sun, until I was just a stupid girl with a punched face, sitting alone on Hay Tor.
Wake up, Ruby Morris.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
There should be a third one. I really loved this sequel and it didn't ruin the first :)
So much better than the first one. Ruby has straightened out. She knows what she's doing. Sort of but she's grown and its gratifying to she her change and develop as a character.
Good ending to the first book. Fun, fast read. Keeps you entertained and wanting to know what happens next. Best book ever? No. Enjoyable? Very much so.
One of the best series I've read in a long time!
I loved the main character, Ruby! Great book!
This better post
Nice! It is a bit mixed in some places though. Awesome job!
"At least you told him."
I liked Ruby in this one compared to the first one either she grew on me or just got better with making decisions, don't get me wrong she still made mistakes and what not but it just wasn't as exploding as it was in the first one. If that makes sense. Darius comes back into the picture and so does the princess, many of the people you read about in the first on make a come back. I am glad I read this duology and now can't wait for my boyfriend to finish reading it so I can discuss this with someone.
“The Storm” is the sequel to “H2O”, the apocalyptic novel about killer rain. Ruby is the same as she was in “H2O”, complete with microscopic steps toward personal growth. Many of the other eclectic characters also make reappearances, with their stories further expanded upon. This was the best part of “The Storm”. Unfortunately, the rest of it seemed to lack cohesion. The story was enjoyable, but seemed to skip around, with the most important parts cut short. Some of it made no sense at all. The ending was rushed and felt like it should have been an entirely separate book. Additionally, there was another case of “Emotional Blackmail” present, bringing in something that was wedged into the plot just to force an emotional reaction from the reader. If you read and enjoyed “H2O”, then I do recommend you read “The Storm” to find out how it all ends, but be prepared for some frustration. I hope there is a third, because I have seen the potential of the story and the author’s talent, and it would be a shame for it to end this way. This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I shuddered when I opened my box from BEA/Sourcebooks and this book was in it. I read (tried to) the first in this series and I could not stand the protagonist. In looking over the reviews, I was not the only one. Before settling down to read this one, I read over the reviews again for the second book and saw that a lot of people had said the same thing regarding the first book and that they could tolerate her a lot better in the second book. Well, I'm here to say, I concord with those reviews. Apparently, she had grown up or been through enough that she realized her complaining was not getting her anywhere. Thank goodness. I did enjoy this story and my interest was held during this book. I'm sure I missed some pretty important parts, like what happened to her dad and brother and her grandmother, but it's not worth it to me to go back and find out. I realized there was this acid rain stuff falling down and it was killing people and apparently by the second book, there were a lot more people dead. Ruby had learned a lot about survival in the first book and she had become an old pro at it. To only be 15, she knew a lot of stuff. Apparently, a lot more than her dad. And by the way, her brother had really gotten weird, he definitely was not getting any parental advisement. I would definitely recommend the second book in this series and I would be interested in reading the third book in this series. I would like to thank Sourcebooks for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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