Monday, 15 September 2014

Review: In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis

Title: In a Handful of Dust (Not a Drop to Drink #2)
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Release date: September 23rd 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Format: eARC
Pages: 237

Source: Edelweiss

The only thing bigger than the world is fear.

Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach.

When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and the prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever, only to disappear in a handful of dust.

In this companion to Not a Drop to Drink, Mindy McGinnis thrillingly combines the heart-swelling hope of a journey, the challenges of establishing your own place in the world, and the gripping physical danger of nature in a futuristic frontier.

Okay so I didn't love the first book, Not a Drop to Drink, but I was willing to give this one a chance, mostly because I wanted to see how Lynn and Lucy were living after the events of that book. After reading this, I can definitely say I liked the previous book better. This is a good book, just really slow-paced and some of the content gets pretty shocking at times, which I really did not like.

This book is set about 10-11 years after Not a Drop to Drink, but we don't even get to find that out until like a quarter of the book I think. And that was annoying because it was always in the back of my mind - how old are these two now? Though in all fairness it's kind of easy to guess. In a Handful of Dust is told in Lucy's POV, though it's still third person. Lucy and Lynn are part of a thriving community near the pond, but when it's hit with a nasty bout of polio, and Lucy is a suspected carrier, she and Lynn set off to keep the rest of the people safe, as well as to find someplace else.

This book is mostly a journey - a walk from Ohio to California. Yes, you read that right. Lucy and Lynn walk across the entire United States. How crazy is that? Plus they barely have any water and limited food, and everywhere they go is like a desert. They do meet a few people along the way; some good, some bad. It's all very slow and honestly I was bored out of my mind in the first half at least. Things do pick up later, but I couldn't bring myself to really get into the book.

I loved Lynn in the first book, and I was glad to see she hasn't changed much in this one, even though she's older. Which brings me to another really annoying thing I found - the amount of times the phrase 'older woman' is used to describe Lynn. I mean, we get it the first time! Also, it makes Lynn sound like some old grandma when she's actually only twenty-six or twenty-seven. But regardless, I still adored Lynn's badass attitude. Though her coldness is more prominent in this book.

Lucy was harder to warm to, because we didn't really know her in the previous book, and since she was only five then, she seems like a whole new person here. There also weren't any significant attributes about her. She kind of lives in Lynn's shadow, and I guess that's a underlying theme throughout the book. Lucy can witch water though, and that's an ability which is really precious in these times.

What I wanted was to find out more about the Shortage and how everything got to the way it is. We don't get to see any of the causes, just all the consequences. And if you thought things back at the pond were bad, think again. Lucy and Lynn come across some really nasty stuff in this book, and some parts towards the end were quite horrifying. I was kind of detached towards it all, though. By that point I just wanted to finish the book.

For those of you who need romance in your YA books, you might want to skip out on this, because there isn't any here. Sure, there's a hint in the beginning, but that's snuffed out later. Which makes me wonder, because the girls here are really unlucky when it comes to romance, aren't they? I won't say any more about that. But this book basically focuses on Lucy and Lynn's journey across the country, and their relationship with each other.

The ending is a hopeful one, like most dystopians are. I was happy about that, especially after everything these two have been through. I wish we could've seen more of Stebbs in this book, because he was interesting in the first one. But of course Lucy and Lynn just had to go and leave everything, and we're stuck with Lucy's thoughts throughout the book. In a Handful of Dust was an okay read, and frankly a little disappointing. But I guess if you loved the first book, you'll enjoy this too.

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 2/5


  1. Amazing review sweetie. <3 Hah. I didn't love book one either.. and I have heard bad things about this book :( and now you too. Yeah. I'm glad I did not pre-order this one :) I will not read it. But I love your review. <3 thank you for being honest :) I'm sorry this book wasn't awesome :\

  2. Awww I was really looking forward to reading this one, especially because of the characters :( Oh well, great review!

  3. Ouch, I don't think I will pick these books up! If you didn't like the first one too much, and then you liked this even less, it doesn't sound too appealing. I don't know :/


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