Early Review: Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
Not a Drink by Mindy McGinnis
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.
In a world where water is the most precious commodity, Lynn knows what it means to do what it takes to survive. Her small pond is her lifeline and she learned at a very young age to protect it at all costs, even when that means stopping people dead in their tracks. Literally. She's always been able to fight off any threat but when a new group comes along, Lynn knows it may just be a matter of time before she is overtaken and loses everything. It's a bitter fight for survival and only the one who wants it the most will prevail in the end.
This book was insanely good. It sucked me right in from the very first page. It's a story about survival, but the threats aren't in your face like an arena showdown death match, but much more subtle. The people in this story are hardened and have learned to do whatever it means in order to survive themselves. For the older generation in the story, it was quite a shock and change from their old lives to suddenly having to kill to protect their own lifeline. But for Lynn things were different as she didn't know any different and was raised from day one to work hard, and protect their homestead and small pond even harder. In all actuality, she truly had no moral compass when it came to taking another's life to protect herself and her mother. Don't get me wrong, she wasn't cold, in fact far from it, she just doesn't know anything other than the bitter fight for survival, at least until later that was. A series of events happen that I won't spoil, but they were a turning point that slowly opened her eyes to what we take for granted as common decency and to some extent a neighborly hand. It was really amazing to see her world turned upside down as she learned to care for others than just her mother and herself. Don't get me wrong, that caring at times only made her life even harder with the extreme circumstances surrounding them, but it was very enjoyable to see that kind of character growth through the book.
Speaking of Lynn's character growth, I particually enjoyed the romantic aspects of it. She goes from knowing absolutely nothing about boys/men to suddenly having these emotions and feelings for a boy. Her emotions were such a twisted mess as she tried to reconcile what she had been taught about not trusting others and what her heart was telling her. I have to say that the romance in this book was incredibly well done. It was so sweet and innocent, and did not revolve around hormones and sex. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy reading about very strong sexual tension etc, but in this case it was very nice to see something so pure that was entirely about caring and the ultimate faith and trust in another person, rather than anything physical. It is just one of those things that just makes you want to smile, and truly was one of the brightest parts of such a bleak story, even if in the long run it only played a very small part of things.
NOT A DROP TO DRINK is one of those books that will stick with you for a very long time after you finish. I'm sitting here days later writing my review, and it's still completely fresh in my mind. It's so bleak and yet the determination of the characters leaves you with a silver lining of hope that keeps you riveted as you watch the events unfurl, especially as you consider just how realistic they are. It wouldn't take much for our world to take a turn for the worst and bring this type of story to reality, making every downturn truly chilling as if they were a look into a future that could be. Trust me, this one is not to be missed!
(Received a copy from the publisher via Edelweiss)