Title: Not a Drop to Drink
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Genre: YA, Survival, Post-Apocalyptic(?), Paranormal
Publication Date: September 24, 2013 (Katherine Tegen Books)
Source: print ARC via Amazon Vine
Synopsis: 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.
2/5 stars – Could be great and will be for many readers, but it was too dull for me
Every now and then, my friends all really like or love a book and then when I get to it, I dislike it. Being the black sheep is rarely fun, but when it happens, it happens. It definitely happened with Not a Drop to Drink. I see where it could be really, really good and wow another reader, but for me, it was too quiet with not enough going on to really engage me.
First and foremost, this book is about Lynn learning how to open up and the story is supposed to be driven by her character development. I say “supposed” because it isn’t actually driven by her character or anything else. Though she gets great development after her mother dies and she comes into contact with more people than she’s ever known, her character simply isn’t strong enough to bear the weight of the story and this relatively short book feels much longer.
She’s a decent enough main character, but some of her leaps in logic are a little ridiculous, like expecting a sixteen-year-old boy to be getting it on with his sister-in-law, who just had a stillborn baby and is in a terrible place mentally due to that and her husband’s death. She demonstrates multiple times throughout the book that she’s well-read and knows plenty about relations between people just from her books, so why get crush-nervous over him being near her? He even denies it multiple times and she still worries about it constantly! Maybe others get it, but it doesn’t click for me.
The world itself seems a bit muddled and poorly explained. This is mostly a survival novel, but there are elements of post-apocalyptic in that something caused a large amount of fresh water to either dry up or get contaminated, leading to the hoarding of what’s left by private citizens and the government. Even more oddly, there are bits of the paranormal with the introduction of water witching, in which certain people have the genetic ability to find water. It’s brought up two or three times and is completely unnecessary, so I’m not sure why it’s here at all.
Not a Drop to Drink isn’t terrible and it’s sure to find its fair share of fans. Judging from the reviews my friends put up, it already has! I’m ready and willing to read more from her, but I hope future books from her are much more engaging than her debut and her characters can adequately carry their story if they’re character-driven instead of plot-driven.