Sunday, January 25, 2015

In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis (review)

In a Handful of Dust (Not a Drop to Drink, #2) 
Not a Drop to Drink:
In a Handful of Dust (2)

by Mindy McGinnis 

Genre(s): Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic, Adventure
Pages: 384
Published: Sept 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books 

Summary: (Taken from Goodreads)     "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.

Review:     This book takes place ten years after the events in Not a Drop to Drink. Lynn is no longer a teenager. She is now in the "mother" role of raising her own teen. Remember Lucy, the little girl she took in? Yep that is the girl we get to hear this story from. This book has a different feel to it. In many ways I liked this book better than the first book.

    To start with, Lucy is quite different from Lynn. While Lynn was untrusting and cynical from her upbringing, Lucy is full of life, enjoys being social and is much more trusting. In this book that is both a blessing and a curse for these women. After Lynn dealt with the vagabonds that looted from everyone, suddenly she has a whole community around her. I have no idea how this came about exactly as as it sounded like neighbors were not exactly close. But apparently everyone has come out of their shells and now rely on each other. I wish we had a bit more of a 'how' this came about but alas I am stuck to basic conclusion forming.

    When Lucy and Lynn are "forced" to leave their home they decide to try to trek to California. From Ohio! Talk about a long journey on foot! The reason is that Lucy and her boyfriend Carter are suspected of being carriers of polio that is killing of the community! While Carter is the likely suspect, his mother is pointing her finger toward Lucy as well. Plus Lynn is on the outs with another woman. So Lynn and Lucy set out for what they home is a better life. Leaving Stebbs, Vera and their home behind. This saddened be as I loved Stebbs' character and was so happy at first he was in this book.

    This book is very character driven. While we get many veiwpoints of different lands and terrains, and we meet other characters both good and bad, the focus really is on these two ladies. Both strong in their own rights but very different and a fierce loyalty to each other.

     I love Lynn for giving up everything for Lucy throughout much of this book. Although is seems she ended up more like her mother than I would have liked. Even after all the events that have happened in the pat ten years. She is still an amazing shot and doesn't trust anyone or anything. It complements Lucy who wants to see the best in things and people.

    While this book is written in third person, it is still focused on Lucy. How she sees things, what she feels and experiences. The result is that there are several poignant scenes but nothing over the top which was nice. Ultimately, between the two books, it gives a wonderful diverse feel of the same world seen through different aspects.

    Things I did not like- The first one being how Carter is handled. While Lucy reflects on him through their first part of the adventure, once they pass the city it is like he never existed until toward the end of the book. Which makes her reaction to what happens all the more vexing. While I cannot explain any better without spoiling things, the overall thing annoyed me. The desert scene was also frustrating. While much of the book takes on a slower pace, here I felt rushed and then like I missed part of the book.

    Overall I did enjoy this book. The world building and depth were better than the first book. Yet I will warn you now, that the ending is true to form to the first book. Neither good nor bad yet strangely fitting to the world they live in. Despair and hope fill this novel in unique ways that captured me for the entire read. While is was slower paced than I had expected, I enjoyed it. Very true to form of the prior book and well done!


  1. I don't have much to say other than this: I ABSOLUTELY NEED TO READ THIS ALREADY! What is taking me so long. It sounds sooo good!

  2. Thanks for the review! I've been thinking about reading this one. Do the two books in the series stand alone, or should I read Not a Drop to Drink before this one?

  3. This sounds like an interesting story, I think it's something that I would read, I would have to read Not a Drop to Drink first though. Thank you for sharing this review.

  4. I think this would be an interesting book. Any sort of post-apocalyptic future is interesting to think of.

  5. I've been debating on starting this series the survival as opposed to battle post apocalypse sounds good, but I'm not sure if I'll like these characters. Nice review.

  6. I don't read many dystopian books, but you made me very interested... Your review is great!

  7. I don't read many dystopian books, but you made me very interested... Your review is great!

  8. I have been seeing pictures of the covers floating around the blogosphere for awhile, but I always just kind of prejudged them based on the titles and thought I wasn't interested. Reading this makes me think I should really pick up Not a Drop to Drink. I really enjoy stories that are character driven and hearing that the endings are neither good nor bad is intriguing. Thanks!


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