Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult // Survival // Dystopia
Format: Physical Copy
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 (goodreads).
Not a Drop to Drink was a surprising tale of the importance of both survival and love. It's a quick read with a lot of feelings!
Plot: Not a Drop of Drink learned how to kill from her mother, but that's just about it. There is no compassion, there is no love - just gun shots plunging into a man's head. Brutal, I know, but when there is no water in the world, you've got to take all the precautions you can. The pacing was just right with enough action to keep me glued to the pages. The end of the novel is where most of the action is, and even though it was supposed to be very tense, I found the real to be a cheap attempt to shock the reader. While I wasn't the biggest fan of the "big fight scene," I found the ending to be absolutely beautiful.
Characters: The characters are the absolute strongest in Not a Drop to Drink. I felt as though Lynn flowered before my very eyes and it was a nice feeling to see how she grew so much in such a terrible situation. It tugged at my heart to see her experience a lot of "firsts" and to finally start letting people in. I feel like the synopsis makes this book seem like it's a fight for survival and full of action, when really it's about the characters who are left to keep their humanity while trying to survive in harsh conditions. Most of the characters won me over, especially little Lucy who came to Lynn unexpectedly. Their relationship reminded me a lot of Amy and Baby from In the After, in which a teenage girl has to play mother to a needy child in unpleasant circumstances.
World Building: The first sentence in the book is: "Lynn was nine the first time she killed to defend the pond, the sweet smell of water luring the man to be picked off like barn swallows that dared to swoop in for a drink." If that doesn't set the scene, I don't know what does! The world is desolate, people are scarce, and people no longer have the same priorities. It's a tragic world that sounds pretty plausible for our own world. Which is downright terrifying!
Short N Sweet: Not a Drop to Drink is a beautiful story about survival and the human condition. My only complaint is in regards to the novel's big reveal which seem to serve as shock value rather than the develop of the story. I'm excited to see Lucy and friend in the companion piece, In a Handful of Dust.