In a changed world, kids are left to fend for themselves. Many don’t make it, but Joe is a survivor, although it’s cost him his body and hundreds of small pieces of himself he can never get back. Joe has made himself the top runner at Flights of Fantasy, a sex tourism company where anything is available for a price. But Joe is saving and waiting, and one day he will escape the desolate Texas Territory.
When Devin arrives as the new recruit, Joe is shocked for more than one reason. Devin is blond and blue-eyed and Joe didn’t think there were any more men as pale as Devin living in the region. Joe is also drawn to Devin and his protective instincts kick in as Devin has lived a completely sheltered life in the hills. The thought of being dependent on Joe, well that doesn’t sit well with Devin, but he has little choice.
Joe has to train Devin to withstand the job and they move slowly toward friendship and being able to trust each other. But Joe doesn’t see Devin as an equal partner and in trying to make Devin’s life a little more bearable, manages to only keep infuriating Devin. Joe has a lot to deal with between a horrific boss and co-workers who are willing to turn on him, but when a new tragedy strikes, Joe and Devin must face everything together and decide again when it’s time to run.
Dry Run is an action-filled book set in a dystopian world. It’s clear from the start that the world has changed and the characters here have a bleak existence. However, what exactly has happened is alluded to but the information we do get could mirror certain current situations actively seen going in today’s world. The book heavily deals with race and issues of citizenship in a world that has gone through what is called The Change.
Joe lives in the south. He has one main reason for wanting to go north, but there are many issues that he faces living in the south and he wants out. Although he knows it would be dangerous for him to attempt to head north, he truly wants to leave his life as a prostitute behind. He was on the streets for years until he came to work at Flights of Fantasy, it was never what he wanted, but Joe has made himself the best runner in the company. The company offers sexual tourism where most of the clients want to be led on an actual run of varying difficulty before they dominate the runner. Joe has been used by countless clients and he tries as best he can to leave those memories out in the field. Joe has also become the leader of the runners and in order to protect the others or to get them perks, he sacrifices himself again and again to the boss. I had some issues with getting a feel for the company they worked for. It’s never gone into why so many clients literally want to run full out on a chase for an extended period of time before dominating the runners. I could see it as a kink for a few people, but that everyone wants to run and the runners condition themselves for endurance got lost somewhere for me.
The book still is fast paced and I found myself reading this through quickly and it’s the characters you will fall for. Joe and Devin are inevitable, but their life is not their own and it’s very difficult to get through most days, but they make incredible strides to do it together. While Joe and Devin are 19 and 18, this would not be classified as a YA novel and both Joe and Devin have lived beyond their years. It’s a gradual process for Joe and Devin to become friends, to then becoming more, and they are still learning how to have a relationship and they both have a whole lot of emotional baggage to carry around with them.
Dry Run is only the first part of Joe and Devin’s journey and they have a far distance to travel, both physically and emotionally. There could still be many more challenges for them to face and if you are looking for a new series set in a dystopian world where the characters have a harsh life and many insurmountable obstacles to overcome, check this one out.