Author: Mindy McGinnis (Twitter)
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publish Date: September 24, 2013
Genre: YA, Dystopian
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...
Lynn's life is defined by water...or the lack thereof. Born after the Shortage, she lives in a world where water is so scarce that people live and die in a quest to find it. Raised solely by her mother in this world ravaged by carnage, she knows that, above all else, she has to protect the pond. This, their sole source of water, is the key to their mutual survival, and she must always put the pond first. Without it, and without water, they will die slow, painful deaths. But the water isn't the only thing worth killing for, and Lynn's world is about to turn on its head when she learns that everything she knows might not be enough.
Although I've been fairly put-off by the dystopian genre in general, I've been intrigued by the premise of Not a Drop to Drink from day one. Offering readers a story that that is dark, terrifying and, frankly, entirely plausible, we're invited into a world so broken that young children learn to defend themselves and their water sources with guns from childhood. Author, Mindy McGinnis, has crafted a new spin on the dystopian genre, inviting readers a story that's dynamic, provocative and incredibly memorable. It's the type of story that will linger; haunting and baiting you with every sip of water you drink.
I'll be entirely honest and say that I wasn't sure what to think at the start of Not a Drop to Drink. It's a very internally-driven story,and although it's written in third-person, we're immediately drawn within Lynn's persona and state of mind. Because we begin with just two primary characters, we see the world in distinct and stark shades of black and white from her perspective, which can be a bit limiting. The story, however, progresses, and we get to see Lynn change from a girl with one sole purpose into someone that welcomes change and evolves as the world begins to change around her, as well. In large part, I loved Lynn's character. She had this aura about her and a carefully-constructed facade of protection around her that shielded her from the worst of her pain. Although, at times, I wish she showed more emotion, it was actually an asset to the storyline that she distanced herself from the worst of her emotions because it made the story a lot more plausible. I also loved that we got to watch as she gradually evolved throughout the novel. The changes weren't immediate, and we never lost sight of her as a person, but as the secondary characters such as Stebbs entered the picture, we began to see the walls melt. Lucy was a brilliant addition to the novel. Her innocent persona perfectly offset the frankness of Lynn's, and they counter-balanced each other well. I was worried that when Eli entered that we would suddenly have an insta-love on our hands, but their careful budding friendship and romance really heightened the tension, the drama and the ultimate stakes of the novel. I did have a few small issues with the novel including the revelation of the backstory. We don't understand how the world became the way it did until the final third of the book, which works, but left me a bit confused until I became too absorbed in the story to care. Also, I felt that the final events of the novel were rushed. The revelations of Lynn's father, the constant mentions of a city we never actually see and the untimely events that we hoped to avoid all happen in an instant, and I do think that the novel could have easily worked with a hundred or more pages. And, although I'm not a fan of epilogues for the most part, I have to say that seeing the story come full circle was a truly beautiful touch.
All in all though, I really enjoyed Not a Drop to Drink. It's not a happily ever after tale, and it's certainly not a feel-good book, but it's profound and powerful. Despite a few flaws, I give it a 4 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to fans of YA who enjoy darker dystopian novels.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.