Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Pages: 309
Format: Paperback
ARC?: No.
Published date: 9/24/13
TW/CW: Blood, death of a parent, animal death, guns, sex trafficking, implied rape, childbirth.
Rating: 4/5

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 bought this book back in January when I was buying a bunch of books for SE-YA fest. I ended up not reading it before the festivals and after I got it signed, I just stuck it back on my bookshelf and honestly… kind of forgot about it. McGinnis will be back at SE-YA in 2018, so I decided that maybe I should read it so that I either have the excuse to buy the next book in the series or can confidently say “Nah, this one isn’t for me.”

But I read it.

And it’s definitely for me.

I love dystopians. When YA and middle grade was saturated with them, I read every single one I could get my hands on. As that dystopian rush has dampened, though, I find that I’m not nearly as excited to pick up the ones I do find because they’re all written with heavy sci-fi elements, something I’m just not into.

NOT A DROP TO DRINK, however, does not have sci-fi elements. We’re introduced to a our very familiar world… albeit one without readily available water. I liked how McGinnis gave us little snapshots of what went wrong throughout the book. Water shortages, corporate and government greed, overcrowding and cholera. This is a world where people do terrible things, like shooting strangers too near the pond, in order to survive.

I loved Lynn. I think she was a great main character who was learning and unlearning the entire book. McGinnis gives us a whole cast of characters but she did a great job in making sure Lynn’s voice was well heard above the rest. It was interesting to see Lynn as the protected and Lynn as the protector, but McGinnis was very loyal to who Lynn was as a person. Her experiences changed but Lynn was still Lynn at the end of the days.

This lost a star for me because we lost a character very early on that I feel would have added a whole new layer of issues and conflict. It would have been great to see how Lynn would have reacted to everything that was going on around her if her mother had still been around during the events.

Overall, I loved this book and I can’t wait to read the sequel IN A HANDFUL OF DUST!

This book is perfect for dystopian lovers and anyone who roots for the underdog.

Mindy McGinnis is an Edgar Award-winning author and assistant teen librarian who lives in Ohio. She graduated from Otterbein University with a degree in English Literature and Religion, and sees nothing wrong with owning nine cats. Two dogs balance things out nicely.

Mindy runs a blog for aspiring writers at Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, which features interviews with agents, established authors, and debut authors. Learn how they landed their agents, what the submission process is really like, and how it feels when you see your cover for the first time. Mindy does query critiques every Saturday on the Saturday Slash for those who are brave enough to volunteer.

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