Title: Not a Drop to Drink
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Series: Not a Drop to Drink #1
Genre: Teen Dystopian
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
The Overview: 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 from our own.
Yeah, I totally understand the hype surrounding this book. This first line says it all:
“Lynn was nine the first time she killed to defend the pond…”
Oh, my, where to start? I picked this book up just to flip through the first few pages and before I knew it, it was 3 in the morning and I was more than halfway through it. It grabbed me right from the start and didn’t really let up until the end. I am not a quote-gather by any means, but there were so many beautiful and evoking passages that I was tempted to pull out a highlighter (okay, I wouldn’t have actually marked the book, but I wanted to…). I have been so immersed in the dystopian genre over the past year that I didn’t think it was possible to find another one I liked this much. It was a breath of fresh air and I rank it right up there with amazing books like Partials and The 5th Wave.
Not a Drop to Drink is a prime example of storytelling at its best. It didn’t spend a lot of time focusing on the broader scope of this apocalypse, but it didn’t need to. It was a beautifully contained story of one girl’s struggle for survival, made all the more poignant by its narrow focus. I was completely lost in this story, and I absolutely love it when that happens. The plot didn’t take the direction I thought it would, but it definitely wasn’t one of those books that sacrificed plausibility for the sake of being “edgy.” It was the perfect balance of action/reaction, and I was perfectly happy to go along with the ride. Even though it didn’t have a ton of action scenes, it was just as riveting and exciting as if Lynn were fighting off hosts of zombies. The world always felt dangerous, and McGinnis did an excellent job creating a great tone and atmosphere for her story.
Although the world building an atmosphere was were superb, the characters of this book really stole the show for me. They were relatable and vibrant, and I found myself stressing any time one of them was in danger. There were some fantastic dynamics between each of the characters, which made for some profound character growth arcs that are going to be among my favorites for years to come. It was beautiful and heart wrenching, joyful and sad – all at once, putting Not a Drop to Drink at the top of my recommendation list for the genre.
I’m super fired up about how much I loved this book, especially since McGinnis is one of the authors attending the Vegas Valley Book Festival in October. You’d better believe I’ll have pristine copies of both of her books ready to be signed – I am so excited! If you like dystopians with a bit of a frontier twist (more survival-driven than that futuristic), I recommend this novel highly.
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