Title: Not a Drop to Drink
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Book #: 1
Reading Level: YA
Goodreads Rating: 4.01
T.B.Published: September 24th, 2013
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.
"She twisted her finger around the faucet, imagining how amazing it would be to turn it and hear the splash pf water into the porcelain tub. Mother had seen such things, had lived in a time when taking a hot bath was a relaxing thing, not a job that required hauling and heating water. Mother had used this room when she was Lynn's age, soaking in the heat and not worrying whether someone would kill her that night"Some books are written to entertain the masses, others are written to make bold statements. Not a Drop to Drink fits this second category. It takes the genre of Dystopia and it embraces it, creating an honest tale of what really is necessary in order to survive in a decaying society. Don't get me wrong, it is entertaining and at times even endearing but it also doesn't shy away from being completely and utterly real. You will not find a "filler" scene or an unnecessary piece of YA story telling cliche. Not a Drop to Drink's raw power will undoubtedly pull you into its pages, you might even find yourself thinking about Lynn and her perilous world long after the story is done.
Sure the beginning was a tad slow going, but it is necessary in order to give us background on Lynn's character and establish her patterns. You spend the beginning of the novel going through Lynn's and her mother's day to day, it shows you how they survive and how they protect what is theirs. Action soon follows however, and events that turn Lynn's life upside down. Soon enough she is meeting new people, learning about this thing called a "conscience", and learning that in order to live a full life sometimes it is okay to care for others.
Lynn's character is all about survival, even more than Katniss Everdeen. I think that what distinguishes them is that Katniss had more family than Lynn and more people to care about and protect. Lynn's only person in her life is "Mother", whatever Mother does and says is the law. Lynn's sole purpose in life is to survive another day, another winter, another year. Water is scarce, and it is her live's work to protect her little pond. However Lynn has many other sides to her as well, she can be happy carving up a deer on one page and in the next she is able to quote William Butler Yeats like the best of them.
"Even in the dark of night she could feel him staring at her as she finished. "That's William Butler Yeats," Eli said. "How the hell do you know Yeats?""I can read, and I have books," she said stiffly."--
"You've got to be kidding me," he said, the color in his cheeks she'd noticed earlier suddenly gone."Beats eating grasshoppers," she shot back, and Eli burst out laughing, catching her by surprise and causing an unguarded smile to spread across her own face. "What?""Just you, standing there with blood up to your armpit and a heart in your hand, happy as can be." Eli stifled another laugh. "And my mom had a musician all picked out for me."I guess in retrospect Lynn's day to day is only a step back to how things used to be before all the technological improvements that have made life easier for us today, but add to it a controlling government and toxicity plus sickness in the water and you get a sense of the dystopian society. Everybody is willing to kill for a reliable source of water, and Lynn is willing to kill to protect hers. It isn't a novel that tries to solve all the world's problems and give you a definite happy ending in which everything turns back to normal, it just shows us how things are, how people react to panic and how their true colors start to show.
I positively loved the secondary characters in this novel, without them I wouldn't have been able to enjoy the novel as much as I did. Everybody from Stebbs, Lynn's caring old neighbor, Eli, the city boy who tried to survive in the wild, and little sweet Lucy, who is both adorable and has a bit of an attention span deficit. They all changed Lynn for the better and made the novel what it is. Eli is such a sweet boy too, hardworking and to the point. His scenes with Lynn had me sighing and wooing. So yes, there is a bit of romance between the pages.
"In that case, remind me to show you what poison ivy looks like, come spring."Eli glanced up at her, a teasing smile on his face. "That's a date."Lynn's brow furrowed. "It's a season.""No, I mean..." Eli sighed and looked up at the ceiling. "We're going to have to find a shared vocabulary before I can flirt.""Flirt?""Yeah, it's how a boy shows a girl that he likes her. Or vice versa," he said pointedly."Sounds like a waste of time," Lynn said carefully, trying to keep the skip in her pulse out of her voice."The ending was surprising and pretty awesome! It left a bitter sweet taste in my memory. I wanted a sequel so bad in order to stay a bit longer in this world, but it is just a stand alone novel. Nonetheless I enjoyed my time here, as I am sure a lot of others will as well.
*ARC provided via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Quotes subject to change.