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Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis - Review

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Lynn knows every potential threat to the pond from droughts and coyotes to the most dangerous of all, thirsty people who just want a drink. Every day life is a constant struggle to survival and Lynn has dedicated herself to making sure she sees tomorrow. She has no use for whatever may exist away from her home, the pond, and the nearby fields and woods. The pond requires constant protection and Mother has taught her well during their hours on the rooftop with their rifles at the ready. However, Lynn knows that what little peace they have won't last much longer - the smoke on the horizon, footprints near the pond, gunfire, and nighttime threats mean strangers and Lynn knows that they won't stop until they get what they want.

I won a copy of this book a while back and I knew it was high time to see what all the fuss was about. I particularly enjoyed this unique post-apocalyptic story. I found myself particularly drawn to the language, characters, and setting. I didn't realize quite how spare the writing style would be going into this novel considering how small Lynn's world is even though it does broaden a little over the course of story. The starkness and rawness works wonders for the book - it feels honest and sets up the realities of her world.

In regards to the characters themselves, we have a pretty great small cast. Lynn has just the right combination of tough-as-nails grit and compassion to make me invest in her journey for over 300 pages. Stebbs, Lynn's nearest neighbor, easily became my favorite character and stole the show. Lucy and Eli are both interesting additions that begin to widen Lynn's understanding of the world beyond the pond. In different ways, they are definitely the heart of the story because they teach Lynn what it means to live. The desolate and harsh setting the action takes place in really complements the writing style. We can see easily how it takes a toll on the cast and how they react to what it throws at them.

My only complaint about the novel is that I wish there was more world-building. We get enough to piece together what's going on in terms of Lynn's life, but then when the story begins to broaden I had more questions. I wanted more and more background information on Mother's life (by the way, I was pleased to find out her first name's Lauren - I love it when I share my name with a character!), the Shortage, and the Second War for Oil. This novel is also set in my home state, Ohio, which is also where McGinnis calls home, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of what's become of it.

If you enjoyed Blood Red Road by Moira Young or The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, I have a feeling you'll probably like Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis. I'm looking forward to reading it's companion, In a Handful of Dust.

I read this novel from May 7 - 17, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.


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