Review – Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

December 29, 2013 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Title: Not a Drop to Drink
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Pages: 320, Hardcover
Goodreads Rating: 3.89 Stars
My Rating: 4/5 stars
My Content Rating: PG-16 (Nothing more than kissing, though sexual assault is referred to, Violence)

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

Not a Drop to Drink was a unique dystopian tale that portrays a world where only the strongest survive.

Lynn has lived her whole life on the edge of survival.  Her mother has taught her that she must protect their water at all costs – killing anyone who comes too close.  Their life is harsh and lonely.  Lynn knows that she can trust no one but her mother.  But when Lynn is suddenly left alone and is confronted by strangers, she has to decide whether to help them or leave them to their certain death.

The negatives:
  • Not enough emotional resonance to the ending.  Lynn was emotionally detached because she was raised that way – her mother always taught her to shoot first and ask questions later (literally).  Life was hard and survival was paramount.  But, as the book moved forward, Lynn started forming attachments and emotional connection to those around her.  At the end of the book, something HUGE happens (actually a few big somethings) and I was a bit disappointed that those big moments lacked the emotional resonance they should have had.  They were dealt with in a few lines when I just wanted more, especially considering Lynn’s journey toward actually feeling something for those around her.  I wanted to feel Lynn’s pain for more than just a moment.  But, I guess McGinnis wanted to show that, at heart, Lynn was still the practical survivalist girl she had always been.
What I LOVED:
  • The concept.  This story ended up feeling very much like a survivalist tale.  Imagine living in a world where water was so scarce that people killed for it – regularly.  A world where survival of the fittest rules, where you can never trust anyone, never feel safe, even in your own home.  This is the world that Lynn lives in.  It’s gritty and it’s hard and it’s dangerous – which makes it incredibly interesting.
  • Lynn.  Lynn has spent her whole life seeing others as nothing more than competition – people who are after her precious water and who she has to kill in order to survive.  Because of this, she’s tough as nails and unfeeling in many ways.  But when Lucy, Eli and Stebbs come into her life, she starts to see the world a bit differently.  I loved seeing Lynn’s transformation as she finds people that she actually cares about – people other than her mother.  She never loses her hard edge – at her core, she is always the same old Lynn – but she grows throughout the book, which I loved.
  • Lucy, Eli and Stebbs.  I absolutely loved little Lucy – Lucy’s sweet optimism and childish enthusiasm were just what Lynn needed to break through her tough exterior.  And I also loved Stebbs’ humanity – even in a time of violence and harshness, he never lost that humanity.  He eventually turned into a father-figure to Lynn, and helped her move past some of her learned mistrust and selfishness.  Then there was Eli.  While he was originally helpless out in the wilderness, I loved the fact that he wasn’t about to give up.  He worked hard and learned what he needed to learn.  He and Lynn were perfect for each other because she taught him to be tough in many ways and he taught her to feel.  I was definitely rooting for them the whole way!
I highly recommend Not a Drop to Drink to dystopian fans.  I give it 4/5 stars.

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