Sunday, 1 September 2013

Review: Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Title: Not a Drop to Drink (Not a Drop to Drink #1)
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Release date: September 24th 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Format: eARC
Pages: 188
Source: Edelweiss

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….

I'd been looking forward to reading this one ever since I saw it on Edelweiss a while back and downloaded it immediately. Not a Drop to Drink is a realistic sort of dystopian, and it centres around something we all take for granted - water. Clean drinking water, specifically. I found the concept intriguing and really liked the way Mindy McGinnis carried it out. However, I did have a couple little issues with the book.

Lynn lives with her mother in a house far away from civilization. In fact, the only people Lynn has known for her entire life are her mother and their neighbour, Stebbs. Lynn's life revolves around keeping their little pond safe from intruders. That involves shooting whoever and whatever comes within close distance of it. No questions asked. I found the pacing of this book quite slow, to be honest. I expected a lot of action, but the first few chapters had me wondering if anything was going to happen. The book does pick up later on, with the introduction of Lucy, Eli and Neva, but even so, the pace wasn't as fast as I would have liked.

I loved the premise of having limited water to drink, but other aspects confused me a little. Lynn and her mother live on meat and vegetables, but where and how do the vegetables grow? If there is a lack of water, I don't get how there are plentiful crops. There's the occasional rain, but it doesn't seem enough to grow food. But one thing I really enjoyed was the description. McGinnis shows us exactly how Lynn and her mother purify the pond water, as well as how they take down and clean a deer for meat. Survival stories like this really appeal to me, and they way McGinnis leads us through all of it is brilliant.

Lynn's had a harsh upbringing from her mother, and as a result of that she finds it hard to soften up and trust people. But I really liked the way her character developed over the course of the novel. Her walls are slowly broken down by the new people in her life, Lucy and Eli. Though the badass Lynn is still there, ever ready to defend herself and her home. With the third person narrative, it was difficult to connect with Lynn initially, but as we get to know her better, I began to really admire her and her drive to survive. Plus, Lynn's lack of contact with civilization means that she wasn't exposed to city life, and is ignorant about a lot of things we assume everyone her age knows. I thought it was quite amusing at times when Eli and Stebbs talk about things that confused her.

I found the romance a little disappointing, in a way. I didn't feel much of a connection between Lynn and Eli, and all of it seemed quite sudden. After the first time they meet, Lynn starts developing feelings for Eli that she has no idea what to do with. They don't get to spend too much time together. What I did like was Lynn's relationship with Lucy. Lucy's only five, and Lynn takes care of her. Even though I'm not really a kid person, I liked watching them become closer, and seeing how protective Lynn feels of Lucy.

Overall, Not a Drop to Drink is an admirable standalone dystopian, with likeable characters and a totally unique concept. Once you get past the first few chapters, it's great. But I will warn you about the ending. I really, really did not like it. In fact, it's the reason I knocked off half a star from my rating of the book. It's not really because of what happened, but how it happened. The ending also felt a bit rushed. The pace picked up, but there wasn't much of a transition from before, so you're thrown right into the action. I think if you're a fan of post apocalyptic or dystopian novels, you should definitely pick this one up. This is the first standalone dystopian I've read, and I think it was done really well.

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing an ARC for review*

Rating: 3/5


  1. Great review :D I enjoyed this book, somehow. Though it was not what I wanted it to be, and I wish it had been a lot better.. and that ending! My god. I just did not like it at all :\ which is why I ended up giving this book a two star. Wish it had been better, but it wasn't all that bad :) Thank you for sharing. <3
    Thank you for commenting on my blog a few weeks ago. <3
    Love, Carina @ Carina's Books

  2. I'm always up for an interesting dystopia, and this sounds like a fascinating premise (even if the follow-through wasn't that great). Might have to take a look, while being forewarned about the ending!!


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