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Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
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Not a Drop to Drink (edition 2013)

by Mindy McGinnis

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4855031,459 (3.9)12
Member:EllenAllen
Title:Not a Drop to Drink
Authors:Mindy McGinnis
Info:Katherine Tegen Books (2013), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
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Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

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Lynn is sixteen years old, living in a world after the Shortage of drinking water. Her mother has raised her in a farmhouse near a pond and taught her not only to distrust strangers but to shoot them if they come near her water source. Lynn never hesitates—until the brutality of her world forces her to interact with others and question whether survival is enough to live on.

I read the companion/sequel, [b:In a Handful of Dust|20359647|In a Handful of Dust (Not a Drop to Drink, #2)|Mindy McGinnis|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1391706237s/20359647.jpg|28552037], when it came out last year. Lynn was my favorite character in that book, so I anticipated getting to know her as a teenager in this one. I wasn't disappointed. McGinnis again weaves her story with frank, pitiless prose, reflecting Lynn's stunted emotions as well as the scarcity of the storyworld. The strength of the book is seeing Lynn discover that she does have a conscience and feelings, that she can even make choices that seem contrary to her own survival only because they are right choices.

I didn't find much interesting about Lucy (the protagonist of the sequel) in this one, but she's only five years old here. She sometimes talks older than her years, but usually she’s just a five-year-old girl without much to distinguish her as a person. The most intricately developed relationship in the book is that of Lynn and her neighbor Stebbs, which evolves from strangers to family. Stebbs would father Lynn more if she'd allow it, but he also respects her and treats her like an adult.

As for the twist in the last twenty pages ... I should be saying it doesn't work. It's more meaningless than the tragedies in the sequel, and more meaningless than any of the tragedies in this book that come before it. But McGinnis seems to be saying something with it--maybe that trying to find meaning in loss is a futile endeavor. Having read the sequel, I at least knew this was coming, and I can see how it shapes the woman Lynn becomes. It would not be my choice of an ending, especially so near the end of the book, but it doesn’t change the respect I have for these two books together, well-described on the cover of this one as “brutal but beautiful.” I’m glad to have met Lynn, Stebbs, Lucy, and the others; and I might even read McGinnis again, when I’m in the mood for a stark voice and unflinching bleakness. ( )
  AmandaGStevens | Mar 2, 2019 |
I feel cheated by that ending. Because seriously? Closure? I’m having a lack of it.

Throughout the entire book, the pacing felt awkward. The beginning was slow, and then her Mom died andit picked up. We met Eli and Neva and Lucy and then it slowed down again. There was gigantic lull that was winter wherein nothing happened other than Eli and Lynn kissing, and Lucy getting sick and then towards the end, a lot of shit happened really quick and it felt really rushed and awkward.

Also, the plot just seemed to be a series of unconnected events. Which is fine… for real life. In a book, everything should be connected to something else and have a reason and be stemming from a prior event and… it just, it didn’t feel like there was one, unbroken thread of a plot connecting the beginning to the end.

Another thing—the world could have borne some more explaining. I mean, I understand what’s happening in the world. There’s a water shortage. What I don’t understand is how it got that way. Mother Nature has a very good system in place to make sure that we never run out of fresh water. The only things that I can imagine that would have messed with the water cycle also leave all humans dead.

I LOVED the main character, Lynn, and Stebbs. And the most charming moment in the book, I feel, was when they the sex talk. That was so delightfully awkward.

Other characters: Mother, Neva, Lucy, Eli.

I liked Lucy because she was cute. Mother seemed to serve a purpose, but she was a little boring. And I don’t feel like I really got to know Neva or Eli well enough to give much of a shit when they died

And there it is: I didn’t know the characters well enough, so when the end happened… I felt cheated.

Not a bad read, but not the best. I will go for the next one, see if it can manage those hanging threads of plot and character and resolve my feeling of being cheated. (I’m not sure how it could, but it’s been done before. Second books wrapping up impossible endings, that is.)

I want to give this book four stars, but based on all that I said, it doesn’t look like it deserves it.

FINAL VERDICT:
I give this book a 3.5, but I feel like it’s a four star book.
( )
  Monica_P | Nov 22, 2018 |
Lynn was nine the first time she killed to protect 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.
- first sentence

I couldn't wait to see how this one would end. It is the story of a young girl raised in the wilderness by her mother. In this world, water is more than scarce. The only water Lynn and her mother have comes from their pond and they will do anything to defend it. Her mother taught her not to trust anyone and to be entirely self-reliant. But how long can they survive this way?

I enjoyed the wild west feel of this one. I loved Lynn and enjoyed watching her mature and adapt emotionally as the book progressed. Her life is full of struggles and the constant threat of death, but Lynn is strong and she doesn't give up. There was a devastating event towards the end that I totally didn't see coming - it was tough. ( )
  Jadedog13 | Nov 10, 2018 |
In a futuristic world where water is scarce and tightly controlled, Lynn and her mother protect their pond with their life. The feel of a rifle in her arms is more of a comfort than her mother's arms wrapped around her ever were. With that rifle, Lynn can ensure her survival for another day. Her mother is the only person she's talked to in over a decade and the one who has taught her how to survive and she'll need those skills when strangers get closer to her pond and become more hostile and desperate to get a sip.

There's something about survival stories that makes me either hate them or really love them. This one falls into the latter category. In order to survive these kinds of situations you have to have a certain willingness to accept help and learn new skills whenever possible. Being naive and stubborn isn't going to save you when you don't have the experience needed to overcome an obstacle. Lynn is a smart girl but socially awkward because of her lack of contact with people. I'm kind of relieved that she doesn't fall into the same trap her mother fell into because that would have made for a boring novel, her shooting up any person that came within a five-mile radius.

Lynn could be cold but she wasn't closed off. Her mother taught her as much as she could but there were some things she was just going to have to find out on her own. It kept me engaged and I just wanted to follow along as she grew to be her own person without the influence of her mother. In case you couldn't tell, I really liked this book. ( )
  Jessika.C | Apr 2, 2018 |
I bought this book back in January when I was buying a bunch of books for SE-YA fest. I ended up not reading it before the festivals and after I got it signed, I just stuck it back on my bookshelf and honestly… kind of forgot about it. McGinnis will be back at SE-YA in 2018, so I decided that maybe I should read it so that I either have the excuse to buy the next book in the series or can confidently say “Nah, this one isn’t for me.”

But I read it.

And it’s definitely for me.

I love dystopians. When YA and middle grade was saturated with them, I read every single one I could get my hands on. As that dystopian rush has dampened, though, I find that I’m not nearly as excited to pick up the ones I do find because they’re all written with heavy sci-fi elements, something I’m just not into.

NOT A DROP TO DRINK, however, does not have sci-fi elements. We’re introduced to a our very familiar world… albeit one without readily available water. I liked how McGinnis gave us little snapshots of what went wrong throughout the book. Water shortages, corporate and government greed, overcrowding and cholera. This is a world where people do terrible things, like shooting strangers too near the pond, in order to survive.

I loved Lynn. I think she was a great main character who was learning and unlearning the entire book. McGinnis gives us a whole cast of characters but she did a great job in making sure Lynn’s voice was well heard above the rest. It was interesting to see Lynn as the protected and Lynn as the protector, but McGinnis was very loyal to who Lynn was as a person. Her experiences changed but Lynn was still Lynn at the end of the days.

This lost a star for me because we lost a character very early on that I feel would have added a whole new layer of issues and conflict. It would have been great to see how Lynn would have reacted to everything that was going on around her if her mother had still been around during the events.

Overall, I loved this book and I can’t wait to read the sequel IN A HANDFUL OF DUST!

This book is perfect for dystopian lovers and anyone who roots for the underdog. ( )
  DearRosieDear | Mar 22, 2018 |
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Epigraph
Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.
Dedication
For my parents. They read to me.
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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.
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"Sixteen-year-old Lynn will do anything to protect her valuable water source, but the arrival of new neighbors forces her to reconsider her attitudes"--

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