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.
Water is scarce in this apocalyptic world, but I drank up this novel in a couple days despite the lack of water that this novel holds. Three-dimensional characters that you become so involved with that it hurts to let them go when its their time. Suspense is top notch, nothing got my blood pumping more than reading this novel, turning the pages was do or die, and I was afraid that my heart would stop beating. I couldn’t bear to lose these characters, sometimes I just couldn’t watch. In a good way, though. And Lynn’s characterization, watching her grow from a completely stoic little girl fighting to survive alongside her mother into a human being with emotions, having to cope with love and loss, and learning to survive not by herself, but with other people in her life, which can be the hardest part of all considering the dangers outsiders pose in Lynn’s apocolyptic world.
World-building was what made Not a Drop to Drink. Set in the outskirts of the southern United States, Lynn and her mother do all they can to keep their pond protected from the thirsty by-passers, animals, and even from cholera possibly infecting the pond that could kill them with a single sip. The world is bleak, Lynn is tooth and nails as her mother taught her to be, quick with a bullet and no regrets. Survival means her and mother and the pond. Though the pacing is a gradual pace, the characters, their interaction, and the fight for survival make riveting impacts that allowed the gradually slow pacing to slide. Even the characters: Stebbs, the man in the woods with his bum leg; Eli, the love interest trying to keep his family together; Lucy, the little girl who is able to melt Lynn’s heart–they all have a unique voice and the ability to grow on you, especially Stebbs. He has to be my favorite character. The dialogue was just miraculous, I could hear each character’s voice through the pages. So fluid and realistic, I applaud McGinnis on a fantastic feat.
Final Summation: A harrowing world and the story of a girl’s coming-of-age as she fights to survive, Not a Drop to Drink blew me out of the water, knocked my socks off, and left me heartbroken over and over again. A fantastic debut, and a dystopian unlike I have ever read. I cannot wait to read the second installment to this series. I am absolutely captivated with the world that McGinnis has created, despite the dark elements it holds, I’ve engrossed myself in the lives of these characters–Lynn, Stebbs, Eli, Lucy–and I want to know more about their survival and the conflicts that arise. Book two don’t fail me now!