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I Belong

Early Review: In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis

In A Handful of DustTitle: In a Handful of Dust

Author: Mindy McGinnis

Genre: YA Post- Apocalyptic

Series: Not a Drop to Drink (Book #2)

Publication Date: September 23, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages

ISBN-10: 006219853X (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062198532 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Bridget


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.

Quick & Dirty: Realistic story that really pulls at your heart strings. I am so glad McGinnis decided to revisit this world that I loved so much from Not a Drop to Drink and this was an amazing sequel that I really enjoyed.

Opening Sentence: Maddy died hard.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Lucy has luckily grown up in a loving community in the rural state of Ohio, filled with great friends and a loving adoptive mother. The world they live in is brutal and filled with people that will do anything to survive. Years ago before Lucy was even born most of the water became contaminated and led to the majority of the population dying off. Now clean water is the most important commodity you can possess and lucky for Lucy she has never had to worry about going without. Lucy figured that she would eventually marry and grow old in her community, but soon all of her dreams change.

A horrible disease hits their community that leaves many dead and others with permanent handicaps. No one knows for sure where the disease is coming from but it looks as if the only solution for Lucy is to leave behind the only home she has ever really known. There are rumors that California has desalination plants that make it possible to always have clean water, and offer a possible “normal” life. Lynn decides that the best course of action for them is to pack up and journey across the country, and hope that they will be able to make it to California in one piece.

Lucy was a refreshing character in such a depressing setting. She was always happy and full of hope even when times got hard. I loved her sense of humor and how she could always seem to lighten the mood. But at the same time she knows when to take things seriously, which I respected. Her life is by no means an easy one, but she has learned to be grateful for what she has. Also, it was very different being inside Lucy’s head then it was being in Lynn’s head from Not a Drop to Drink, which I really liked because I looked at the world from a completely different perspective. Lucy sees opportunity as a good thing and I felt in general this book was had a more positive feel to it. I really liked Lucy and thought that she was an interesting character to get to know!

I loved that Lynn was the same person I met in the first book, but she grew into a better version of herself. She has opened her heart to a few people but she still doesn’t trust easily. She knows that this life is hard, but she has also finally learned that there are things worth living for. Her relationship with Lucy is very sweet and her motherly side actually helped me to connect with her on a much deeper level. I also am a mother and the things Lynn sacrificed for Lucy was out of a motherly love that I can easily understand. Seeing this side to Lynn made her more human to me and I am really glad I got to see that from her.

In a Handful of Dust is a realistic heartwarming story about sacrifice, love, and the will to go on. I will admit that the setting is a rather depressing one but that just made it that much more real. The fact that there is a possibility that this really could be our world someday if we aren’t careful was both intriguing and scary at the same time. There were a few times I felt that the story moved a little slower then I would have liked, but overall, I thought that the pacing was very good. I really loved the entire cast of characters and I am glad McGinnis decided to give us another book in the series. It helped satisfy some of my curiosity after finishing the first book in the series. I really enjoy McGinnis’ writing style, she knows how to drag your heart through a meat grinder, but she also does a wonderful job putting it back together. Overall, I am a huge fan of this series and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a realistic young adult post-apocalyptic story!

Notable Scene:

“I had real plans once, you know?” Carter said. “I was starting to think maybe you and me, we could have a little place of our own, someday.”

“Yeah. I was starting to think that too,” Lucy said, tears catching in her throat.

They looked at each across the void they could not bridge, their silent, saltwater good-byes streaming down their faces.

“You should go,” Carter said abruptly, turning away from her. “Stay safe, stay with Lynn. Name a baby after me.”

“Shit,” Lucy choked. “I’ll name two.”

“Now that’s just stupid.”

Lucy laughed through her tears, and he turned around. “Go on now, Lucy. It’s not going to get any easier.”

She turned and ran through the woods, crashing through the underbrush and into the wet grass that whipped at her legs. The cold night air felt like it would burst her lungs but she kept running, sprinting past the still bodies of the sick.

Not a Drop to Drink Series:

1. Not a Drop to Drink

2. In a Handful of Dust (September 23, 2014)

FTC Advisory:  Harper Teen provided me with a copy of In a Handful of Dust.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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