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The Man in Black, The Woman in White by K.M. Stross

The year is 2200. The Warming has been ravaging earth for the past 150 years. Sea levels have risen. Weather and migration patterns have changed. Societies have either adapted or they’ve died. What we once considered a utopia has disintegrated into a dystopia where survival means curbing hunger and fear. In this post-apocalyptic planet, the worst fear isn’t death … it’s life. Long years of suffering with only a sliver of hope to keep you going.

In the town of Present, Nebraska, hunger and pain are the norm. A drought has ravaged the land for years, destroying the crops and blighting the land. Dust storms torment the Great Plains, burying farming equipment. Burying animals. Burying cars. Burying people.

For a 14-year-old named Kyle, the arrival of the woman in white is surely a good sign. Soon, they form a friendship and discover a way to make life on the drought-ravaged farm a little easier. But in order to succeed, Kyle has to travel outside the city limits for the first time in his life, a world even more dangerous than the one he’s known. Where the dust storms bring the apocalypse, the calm after the storm brings a rebirth, a chance to wash away the dystopian terrors and find beauty in the world once again.

Then the man in black arrives. And everything Kyle thought he knew will be proven wrong.