I discovered this book a while back, after reading the blurb, I was so enticed… Imagine my surprise when I asked the librarian for this book and she took me along to the teen section! I can probably count on one hand the number of YA/teen fiction books I have read this year but I checked it out anyway and here’s what I thought…
From the back cover:
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.
I read Not a Drop to Drink in one sitting and I enjoyed every minute of it. I really enjoy dystopian fiction – reading about the characters as they fight to survive in a barren wasteland. In this novel water is gold and people kill for it and Lynn will fight to the end to protect what’s hers!
Don’t let the fact that Lynn is still a young teenager fool you, her mother trained her well, with her rifle always in reach, one shot is all she needs to hit her target. Her character was extremely well developed and you easily warm to, and root for, her. In fact, this book has several characters you quickly warm to and hope they can survive what’s coming – because if you have water, you’re a target!
What I love most about these types of novels is their settings, the descriptions of a post-apocalyptic world – I love visualising what this world would look like and what it would be like to live in the world the author has created. McGinnis has created a world I wouldn’t like to live in but one that I enjoyed reading about – from the coyotes roaming, to the cold harsh winters, to the adaptions needed to survive in a world where you can only tell the time by the location of the sun.
As a novel aimed at younger readers, I wasn’t expecting violence, blood and gore but that doesn’t mean this novel is without it’s thrills, the fight for survival is very real and McGinnis does a wonderful job showcasing this without the need for descriptive violence. Not a Drop to Drink has some heart-warming moments too.
If you’re not a regular reader of YA/teen fiction, please don’t underrate this book because it wasn’t ‘adult’ enough for you. It is aimed at a younger reading audience but, as I am proof, it can be enjoyed by an older audience too. I love the concept of a world where water is scarce; McGinnis has plotted a very enjoyable novel and I will go on to read book 2.
If this novel appeals to you but you’re not a reader of YA, I highly recommend reading The Water Knife by Paulo Bacigalupi – it’s an adult sci-fi, dystopian thriller in which water is also more valuable than gold.