Not a Drop to Drink: A Book Review

Book: Not a Drop to Drink

Author/Authoress: Mindy McGinnis

Cover: 3/5

Not a Drop to Drink

The picture’s accurate, I guess but what I don’t understand is the differentiation between the faded half and the yellowish half? What is that supposed to symbolize?

Plot: 5/5

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.

The plot is petty original. Survival. The end of the world doesn’t have to be dramatic. It doesn’t have to be chock full of demons and monsters, teenagers with freaky powers or inter-dimensional rips. Sometimes the biggest threat to survival is a lack of that which so many of us take for granted. Water. Air. Electricity.  A dystopian world doesn’t have to consist of  of guns, bombs or fallen angels. Simpler (probably more realistic) problems could happen.  Not a Drop to Drink is the perfect book to show you how something so easily available can become scarce and the world on its head. And honestly Lynn is the best possible character I can think of to show you this. Water’s scarce but it’s a necessity. Lynn’s been brought up in a harsh world and has had a tough childhood but she acknowledges the fact that she’s luckier than most. She does hard labour. She’s killed.  But at least she has water.

“Do you want to die like this?” Mother had asked that night and every night since then.
Lynn’s answer never changed. “No.”
And Mother’s response, their evening prayer. “Then you will have to kill.”

This book is the ultimate survival world. Mindy McGinnis’s book doesn’t have monsters, vampires or a cool technology. No it’s strength lies in it’s sheer ordinariness. Lack of water’s something that all of us have to worry about. Even though 75% of the world is covered in water, only 3% is drinkable. And of that 3%, only 1% is accessible.

Characters: 5/5

Like I said, Lynn’s been brought up in a harsh world. She has killed, she has hunted animals for food, she harvests her small farm’s crops, she has to haul in and purify the water. She spends hours sniping invaders from the rooftops of her home. Get a break? Which strange planet do you come from?  For 16 years, she’s lived in isolation with only her mother. Her mother’s strict and she’s a total bad-ass. I guess the bad-assery runs in the family.

Lauren is Lynn’s mom. mother. She remembers the time when things were normal, when water ran freely from faucets. She has an English degree, which is rendered completely useless right now, except as a tool for educating her daughter Lynn when time allows for it. Lauren is tough. She has killed before, she will kill again, and she has taught her daughter to do the same. It’s not meaningless, they have to live, and if they don’t kill the invaders, others will kill them. There is a small question regarding her morals and her trigger-happy fingers but…she’s a pretty cool character.

Lynn finds it hard to trust so I think her relationship with her neighbour, Stebbs worked out really well. It’s a gradual, paternal-type of relationship .  Their relationship grew from outright distrust to an uneasy one, at best, to one that is more complex than either would have initially guessed.

Romance: 2/5

Well it wasn’t insta-love. But I guess that’s the best I can say about the romance in the book. Eli’s a city boy. With little-to-no survival skills. He’s good at the violin and has a sense of humour (which Lynn doesn’t fully get, anyways).  I just don’t get the attraction. And I don’t see the chemistry either.

Worldbuilding: 5/5

An amazing worldbuilding (like I discussed above in plot). What’s unique about this book is that we see only a tiny slice of the world. We see Lynn’s world. We see her house, her pond, her forest, her gun and we get a few hints about the City. That’s it and that’s enough. In this case, less really is more.

Plotholes: 2/5

Lynn is a girl who’s known only her mother for her whole life. She briefly knew of Stebbs, a cripple who used to live in her neighbourhood but she’s never actually talked to him. Her mother  taught her to think of all strangers as enemies and trained her to kill without remorse. Not exactly someone who’s a hit at parties.  And if she suddenly finds herself orphaned, I think the social skills will take a deeper dive. After her mother’s death, she should have become tougher. More distrustful of people around her. Scared. Confused. Right?

Wrong? Instead she starts going soft. She starts talking to Stebbs, looking after a young girl that a stranger gave to her and falling in love with said stranger. If this isn’t OOC, I don’t know what is.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Other than the obvious plothole, this book was amazing.In fact it was so good, I put it in my special ‘books-I-loved’ shelf on Goodreads. A must for people interested in dystopia for the first time and for the old hands as well.


Well this will be my last post for a week or two. Hopefully this one was good enough. 🙂

One thought on “Not a Drop to Drink: A Book Review

  1. Pingback: My thoughts on YA dystopia | Plot Holes be Gone

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s