[Review] Not A Drop To Drink

Fry's Reviews, Reviews 0 Comments 10th March, 2014

[Review] Not A Drop To DrinkNot A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis
Series: Not A Drop To Drink #1
Published by Katherine Tegan Books on September 24th, 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Source: Gift
Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn't leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own.

It took three attempts to make it through this book. Not because this book is bad, by any means, but it’s a gritty, realistic survivalist story and sometimes that leads to slow plodding chapters full of hunting and gathering. The two attempts I had at reading this before found me setting it down for something with a more clipped pace.  As they say, third time’s a charm, and I’m glad I followed through to the finish.

Set in a dystopian world where water is a precious commodity, the story follows a young girl named Lynn as she and her mother attempt to survive in a world full of uncertainties and predators- both human and animal. A tragedy early on leaves Lynn on her own and she must decide if she’s going to continue on her mother’s path of lonely survival, or feed that spark of compassion within her and help the needy around her farm.

The book doesn’t brush over any topics- gutting a deer, stillbirth and rape are all mentioned with efficiency. It fits the landscape, but for readers with a low tolerance for such things the book may come off as crude and excessive.

There is a romance, if one could call the budding relationship between a lonely girl on the cusp of womanhood and the first boy her age she’s seen ever a romance. While it didn’t feel forced, it also didn’t feel like there where hot sparks flying either. I enjoyed the minimalism of the romance, as it remained a tertiary plot point and never overthrew the main theme.

This book reads like a standalone, and was probably meant to be one. It wasn’t until very recently that a second book in the series was announced. While secretly hoping that A Handful of Dust wouldn’t be a direct sequel, I’m glad to see it is (they’re toting it as a ‘companion novel’ but when you’re following one of the main characters from the previous book, it’s pretty much a sequel). There’s some potential there. Though, even if the author decided to move away from her lone wilderness survivors and tell the story of life in the city, that would also prove sufficiently compelling.

Written by Fry


Probably in a dungeon somewhere. Game Master for the D’n’D actual play podcast Roll For Wenches .

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