Thursday, October 2, 2014

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis (review)

Not a Drop to Drink (Not a Drop to Drink, #1) 
Not a Drop to Drink (1)
by Mindy McGinnis

Genre(s): Dystopian, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Published: Sept 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books

Summary:  " 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."
Review:  Where to begin? I have a lot of thoughts on this book but I am struggling putting them in order. I know I deeply enjoyed this story yet I still have so much I am wondering about at the same time.

Let me start off with saying the I loved the style in which this book was written. It is rich, deep and meaningful. It drew my into the story, creating a very vivid portrayal of Lynn's life. Not many young adult novels seem to have to practical depth and maturity this book carries.

Lynn is a very impressive young woman. She has lived a harsh reality to this point in her life. It has always been just her and her mother alone. She has only briefly had contact with one other person (her neighbor Stebbs)her entire life. They manner in which they live can make farm life seem easy. Gathering and "purifying" water, gathering food, hunting, gathering wood, looting for supplies as needed. And the most important thing-scout and protect their water and land.

One fall life as Lynn knows it begins to change. She gets to know others. A girl named Lucy, a teenage boy named Eli and Lucy's mother (Neva) along with really getting to know Stebbs. I must say I think he is my favorite character. I mentally see him as a sort of uncle to her in the end. How well he takes to her showing up with Lucy was priceless.

You can quickly visualize Lynn's life and empathize with her on many levels. The reality she is stuck living is rough but it doesn't help how I can see life one day being quite similar. The current drought situations where I live do not help (haha).

Where I was confused is when this is happening? How long has life been this way. The world building left a lot to be desired. Why life was the way it was. Is the whole world like this overall? We know it has been at least 16 years for trouble. There are laws for only 1 child or they would be exiled yet Eli had an older brother. So that must have been less than those 16 years for those laws. So when where the major life turning points (such as how long since the country has water and electricity?). Lynn gets some medicine that is only 5 years expired. Where did that come from being t must have been less then 16 years old? Just a lot of odd gaps. I would love to do an interview with Mindy McGinnis with all this at some point. I guess I will simply hope the next book will explain this all better.

While the lack of world building was frustrating, the life Lynn lives is captivating in a worrisome way. I still found her life riveting. The only other thing that bothered me was how easily she adapted to all these new people in her life. It doesn't add up.

This is a mature young adult. There is language, mentioning of rapes, death, and harsh survival. Great for older teens and adults. I see lots of potential for Mindy McGinnis' future works!


  1. Too bad about the lack of world building

  2. Lack of world building can take what would otherwise be an amazing series and ruin it. I am glad that the character building was good. I will often choose characters over world.

  3. OOoh nice review! Read a few good reviews of this recently and it's in my TBR Mountain of Doom--yes, it had to have a new name besides "Mountain"! ;)

    Sounds like this will be a good dystopian read or sort of! :D Again, great review!

  4. World-building is key with dystopians...shame, because the concept does sound intriguing!

    Trix, vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com

  5. Unfortunately the odd gaps and inconsistencies are really disappointing. Otherwise I think this would be an interesting book.

  6. I hate when dystopian books have those missing pieces! I do think this book sounds very interesting though, I think I would give it a chance

  7. I've heard a lot about this one and it sounds odd but good. I'm normally not into dystopian type novels, but I think I would give this one a try!

  8. This still sounds like a good book to me. I still want to try it out.

  9. Perhaps, if I read this review before reading Blindness (by Jose Saramago - this is dystopian book too) and blurb of Momo (by Michael Ende) I'll fully agree with most of comments above. The world-building maybe su*k, but perhaps the message or something that the author want to share via her book it's good enough to make the world the better place

    Uh-oh, I hope I'm not sound pretentious, hahah.

    Great review, btw (:


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