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I Belong

Early Review: Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

TitleNot a Drop to Drink

Author: Mindy McGinnis

Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic

Series: N/A

Publication Date: September 24, 2013

Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062198505 (Harper Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062198501 (Harper Teen)

Reviewed by: Bridget


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.

Quick & Dirty: Beautiful, realistic, and heartbreaking story about love, friendship, and survival.  With a wonderful cast of characters and a very unique idea, Not a Drop to Drink is an unforgettable story that all fans of dystopian/post-apocalyptic books should read.

Opening Sentence: Lynn was nine the first time she killed to defend the pond, the sweet smell of water luring the man to be picked off like the barn swallows that dared to swoop in for a drink.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

The story is set in the future and most of the world’s water supply has run out.  At first there was just a drought, then much of the water got contaminated and was no longer safe to drink.  Now most of the population lives in a city with very strict reproduction laws, and very little room to live.  But if you were lucky and had a water supply, you could live outside the city.  It’s not an easy life because there are others who will try to take what little you have, but you are free and safe from the abuse and disease that runs wild in the cities.

Lynn is 16 years old and lives with her mother outside the city. They have a small pond on their property that they have spent most of their lives protecting.  They live in the basement of her mother’s childhood home where it is easy to defend from intruders.  Lynn’s mother has taught her how to survive and when it comes to any strangers, it’s shoot first and ask questions later.  Then one fateful day there is a terrible accident and Lynn’s mother is killed.  Now Lynn is all alone and she was never prepared to live by herself, she didn’t realize it would be so lonely.  She was taught to be ruthless and to trust no one, but she soon realizes that not everything her mother taught her was always right.  Some people have bad intentions but there are also good people in the world as well.  Soon she meets some unexpected people and she decides to open her home to them and eventually her heart.

I loved Lynn, she is an amazing character with so many wonderful qualities.  She has a very strong presence, and while she is rough around the edges, she is actually very likeable.  For most of her life she never was allowed to show compassion, but when her mother passes she is forced to venture out of her comfort zone.  It is a struggle for her to open up and trust others, but as she does you get to see the real Lynn.  Yes, she has a very tough side and she’s not afraid to fight for what is hers, but she also has a very gentle sweet side as well.  You get to experience so many firsts with Lynn which made your connection with her even stronger.  She is a character that has a lot of depth and I couldn’t help but love her.

This was an amazingly realistic story of survival.  The idea was so unique and it was written beautifully.  It was full of hope, love, friendship, and heartbreak.  There were moments the made me laugh, moments that made my heart melt, and moments where I cried.  It pulled out so many emotions that made me deeply connect with the story.  The book flowed perfectly and the plot had some pretty surprising twists.  There were parts of the story that I didn’t love, but I felt that if it had turned out differently it wouldn’t have felt as authentic and real.  So while I wish some things would have been different, I think that the ending fit the story perfectly.  Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone that’s a fan of dystopian or post-apocalyptic books.

Notable Scene:

“Shush,” Mother said. “Listen.”

The lights didn’t move, and the utter silence of the night overwhelmed

Lynn. Even though it was cool, she swiped a bead of sweat that rolled down her nose. A stunned cricket tentatively renewed its song, to be answered by another a second later. Soon a chorus had begun. The lights still didn’t move.

“Think they gave up?”

“No,” Mother said tightly. “Be quiet.”

The lights remained still, but the crickets stopped.

“Here they come,” Mother said confidently, cocking her weapon. “Aim at what you hear. They dropped their lights.”

The rustling sounds of field grass followed moments later, and Lynn fired toward it. The scuffling stopped, but another sound followed, a low moan that could only mean she’d hit her target. More silence ensued. A male voice cut through the night, a sound so alien to Lynn that she cringed.

“Come on down now, girlies. We know you’re up there,” he shouted, his voice much nearer than expected.

“And now I know where you are, you stupid son of a—” Mother used a word that Lynn had never heard before, and fired her weapon once. The sound of a body slumping to the ground followed. Minutes passed with nothing but the continuous low groan of the man Lynn had wounded.

“What’s that word you said?” Lynn asked, curiosity getting the best of her.

“Never mind that now.”

A cricket chirped and the wounded man cried out again, silencing it.

Lynn thought she heard movement farther out from the house, and Mother’s taut body reflected that she heard it too. It faded, and they sat tensely together for nearly an hour, hearing nothing but the occasional complaint from the wounded man.

“I think they’re gone,” Lynn said.

“Yeah,” Mother agreed, her eyes still scanning the darkness futilely.

“We’ll stay up on the roof, go down in the morning, get those flashlights.

They’ll come in handy.”

Another low moan rose from the grass. “That was a good shot,” Mother said, nodding toward it.

“Not good enough.”

Mother shrugged. “It was dark.” She rose and stretched out her stiff body, a sign that she truly felt safe. “You’ll get better.”

Another cry. Mother licked her finger, tested the wind, and fired once into the night.

Silence fell.

FTC Advisory: Katherine Tegen Books/Harper Collins provided me with a copy of Not a Drop to Drink. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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