No Shelter (No Shelter Trilogy, Book One)
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Pages: 83
Goes well with: Mixed green salad, grilled cheese & tomato sandwich, beverage of choice.

The Event—a storm predicted by Dr. Bradford Pike twelve years earlier in 2042—caused rapidly cooling oceans, which in turn placed stress on tectonic plates, setting off an unstoppable chain of Biblical flooding, earthquakes, super volcanoes, and blackout storms caused by volcanic ash. Few people made it through, and the ones who did fought for survival at any cost—and water became the new currency.

Teenager Nada meets Isaac Faulk, who’s not much older than she is, after the Whitmore High School riot where the Guardians keep a careful eye on the few supplies left after the storm. She and her mother are alone and need a man to increase their chances of survival. First thing she wants to do is leave Whitmore and the Guardians behind, for they only serve to protect themselves. When a fire breaks out, Nada and Isaac manage to escape, and they’ve been outrunning the Guardians ever since.

In their travels they meet Daedric, who is searching for his sister—the illegitimate daughter of President Kane. She’s rumored to be at Salton Sea—the last functional city in the western sector. Since Daedric saved Nada from getting mauled by a wildcat, he wants their help in finding Salton Sea. They agree, but the way is fraught with peril, and they might not make it there at all.

No Shelter is a respectable post-apocalyptic novella, with plenty of tense action and emotional drama (mostly of the teenage variety), but the characters are also mature beyond their years when it comes to endurance. Young adult emotions are weaved into the harsher realities of the end-of-time life in a plausible manner. Teen drama doesn’t step into petty territory where it might if things were normal.

Despite the fact that Nada felt she needed a man to help with survival, she’s still a strong, independent girl who can take care of herself if need be. Isaac is there for backup and to keep her from feeling all alone in a mostly dead world. He lives up to his role with a quiet steadiness that makes everyone feel safe.

Author T.S. Welti paints a destroyed world with enough imagery to suck you into a futuristic time where hope is dead, along with most of the population, but the will to survive still burns at the center of those who remain. Since No Shelter ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, you’ll want to pick up the next novella in the trilogy, Left Behind. I know I will.

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