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….
From the first pages, Not a Drop to Drink sucks you into a world where water is rare and one must do everything they can to protect themselves and the ones they love. Lynn is willing to kill anyone to survive, that is until she loses the only person she had.
Mindy McGinnis’ debut novel is an inspiring journey which asks the ultimate question: what’s more important – survival or living? Lynn and her mother, Lauren, live by a pond and guard it fiercely. The rules were simple: everybody was an enemy. When a simple errand goes wrong, Lynn finds herself slowly needing to open up and accept others into her heart to survive.
Not a Drop to Drink is very much a character driven novel, with little to no actual plot. I didn’t find this to be detracting from the novel, as it gave us more time to form deeper bonds with the characters and building the world. Much of the novel is centered around all it takes to survive in this world. Hunting, logging, preparing meat.
What McGinnis’ succeeded in was creating a world which was different from ours but resembled it just enough to give Not a Drop to Drink a realistic and gritty atmosphere. She portrayed the brutality and the grittiness brilliantly, making Not a Drop to Drink a fantastic, and scary, read.
While the atmosphere is great, the actual world building could use some work. Very little was actually described and I found myself wondering what life was like outside of this little pond. We’re told a bit about the one city but it did very little to satisfy my needs. If anything, I wanted to know more about the world after the little teaser.
Lynn’s characterisation was one of the shining parts of the book. McGinnis made sure that she wasn’t rushing Lynn’s growth as a person during the course of the novel, which I appreciated a lot. However, the characterization of every other character, other than Lauren, was pitiful at best. None of them were developed as well as Lynn and that got a bit annoying.
Despite this, Not a Drop to Drink is a refreshing book, especially since good dystopia has become harder and harder to find. As debut books go, this is definitely one of the best in a while. I recommend it to anyone looking for a great gritty read!