Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Book Review: Not a Drop to Drink & In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis

Title: Not a Drop to Drink, In a Handful of Dust ( Not a Drop to Drink #1, #2)
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publishing Date: September 24th 2013, September 23rd 2014
Length: 309 pages, 384 pages
Keywords: YA, dystopia, water, survival, romance
Source: Bought, Publisher

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….

The only thing bigger than the world is fear.

Summary by Goodreads


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.

Summary by Goodreads

I witnessed readers begging for a sequel back in 2013 when NOT A DROP TO DRINK was released and I wondered what all the buzz was about. I couldn't be more glad that the actual sequel came out in fall 2014 and that I waited to read them both back to back. It sure was a thrilling reading experience. Now can we please make this a trilogy?!

NOT A DROP TO DRINK tells the story of Lynn and her mother who defend their house and pond from strangers who are looking for fresh water sources. We see how Lynn grew up, what her days at the pond look like and what it takes to change her view on the world.
   In IN A HANDFUL OF DUST the story picks up approximately ten years later when Lucy, an orphan Lynn took in in the first book, is a young adult herself. The two women go on a journey to the ocean and see if it could be true that people can obtain fresh water from it. There are many survival tests the two have to pass in order to reach their goal. I promise you won't be bored!

Despite their hard and laborious lives both women, Lynn and Lucy, find time to think about love and what it would be like to have someone who cared for them on a romantic level. The romances they got are unlike any other dystopian romances I've read so far. They are highly unpredictable but rewarding nevertheless.
   In both books the most important element besides survival and resources is trust. It's very hard for Lynn to trust anybody and so her progressing friendship to the young Lucy is something that we can follow admiringly throughout the entire duology. They are tough and strong women who fight for a better life and a chance at happiness. And they are kick-ass YA heroines!

Uncertainty, natural forces and the survival of the fittest are determining this story from its very beginning to the end. Water as you might have guessed plays a major role in Lynn and Lucy's story. People are fighting for this most important resource and the two women do anything it takes to protect what is theirs. NOT A DROP TO DRINK invites its readers to think about the consequences of worldwide droughts and water shortages and maybe think about being more careful and saving with our one most important resource.

The fighting over water often turned so violent and cruel it made me cringe. I have never read a series that confronted its readers with so many shocking and brutal scenes. On the one hand they kind of went against my happy-end-loving personality. On the other hand I appreciated that Mindy McGinnis chose the outcomes to certain events that made it into the finished book because it let the entire story appear even more honest. I definitely want to recommend this duology to readers who enjoy a fascinating dystopian read, but I advise you to keep your hearts guarded just in case something happens to one of your favourite characters. In Mindy's NOT A DROP TO DRINK books you just never know what happens next.

3,5/5 ***/* NOT A DROP TO DRINK duology - This brutally real and honest YA dystopian duology is sure to melt and break some readers' hearts!

You better test your YA survival instincts before you read NOT A DROP TO DRINK and IN A HANDFUL OF DUST. These two books were written for readers who are looking for a challenging read and who want to be pushed out of their reading comfort zone. If you are looking for a dystopian series that is different than everything you've read so far and you are ready for something new you should pick up NOT A DROP TO DRINK and IN A HANDFUL OF DUST as soon as possible.

"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." p.1


the NOT A DROP TO DRINK duology you might enjoy THE WATER WARS by Cameron Stracher, THE WARD by Jordana Frankel or ASHES, ASHES by Jo Treggiari. These are three more books confronting readers with thoughts about what would happen if the world actually had to withstand life-threatening droughts, water shortages and destructions.

* Read an excerpt of NOT A DROP TO DRINK.

* Click here to watch the NOT A DROP TO DRINK book trailer.

* For more information about Mindy and her books visit www.mindymcginnis.com.

* Thanks to Harper Collins International for sending me a copy of IN A HANDFUL OF DUST for review!



  1. I love these books. They were brutal for sure. they are worth the read though. very intense.

  2. I love brutal dystopians/fantasy, so, COUNT ME IN. I'm so excited to read this! <3 Great review!