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Not a Drop to Drink by [McGinnis, Mindy]
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Not a Drop to Drink Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 325 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Fans of classic frontier survival stories, as well as readers of dystopian literature, will enjoy this futuristic story where water is worth more than gold. New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant says Not a Drop to Drink is a debut "not to be missed." With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl's journey in a frontierlike world not so different from our own.

Teenage Lynn has been taught to defend her pond against every threat: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and most important, 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. But when strangers appear, 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. . . .

For more in this gritty world, join Lynn on an epic journey to find home in the companion novel, In a Handful of Dust.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 728 KB
  • Print Length: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books; Reprint edition (24 September 2013)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #186,279 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a world where water was scarce? Mindy McGinnis has deftly explored a dystopic future in which the world is quickly running out of water. It's a bleak tale of survival and if you have water, then you must protect it at all costs. Our protagonist Lynn is guarding a pond against any who would try to take it from her and her mother. They shoot first and ask questions later. Theirs is a daily struggle, whether it's the laborious task of purifying the water or hunting a deer and trying to smoke the meat. The constant threat of coyotes, groups of looters and the harsh weather that can make or break their survival. Both women have learnt to endure the world around them and it has made them strong.

Lynn is one of those characters you can't help but love. She's tough and a little rough around the edges; having had to kill since she was a child. Her mother taught her her that compassion was a weakness, they had to stay strong and do whatever they could to protect their small water source. After a tragic accident, Lynn is left to guard the pond by herself. Things start to to get dangerous for Lynn; there is a group of men that want her pond and will do anything to take it. She also has to contend with strangers that need her help. This is where we begin to see more to Lynn's character. Her conscience makes her question a lot of what her mother taught her, and she struggles to find a balance between the skills her mother taught her and her fierce new protective instinct. She realises that having friends is not always a bad thing, they give her a sense of hope. I think this is when she really comes alive as a character. Her small group is a target and she'll do whatever it takes to keep them safe.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.2 out of 5 stars 266 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Bleak, brutal, but there's something beautiful about this book and its sequel. 31 May 2015
By ProneToWander - Published on
Verified Purchase
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, IN A HANDFUL OF DUST, 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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...trying to survive..." 30 October 2013
By Cheryl Stout - Published on
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UPDATE November 29, 2014: I just re-read this great story, reacquainting myself with the characters because I'm getting ready to read IN A HANDFUL OF DUST, the next book in this series. I actually thought this book was a stand-alone novel, which I appreciated since there are so many series books out there any more. But in this case I'm looking forward to catching up on the lives of Lucy and Lynn.

"Not a Drop to Drink" is one of the best dystopian stories I've read in a long while and based on the premise that there is a shortage of fresh water in this future world. Scarily realistic with fully drawn characters, this is a story I "drank down" quickly and am now reading again to make sure I didn't miss anything.

One thing I especially liked - it is a standalone book in these days of book series. I appreciate having the whole story in front of me at one time.

I love the strong female protagonist Lynn. She is in-your-face, mouthy, brave and willing to fight for her home and loved ones but also young and incredibly naive.

And I like the supporting cast of characters a lot too. Stebbs, Lucy and of course, Eli.

There is some of a coming-of-age thread to the tale but just as much shoot-em-up old-time western feel all taking place in future Ohio. Excitement, danger, romance, some timely environmental considerations (that make this tale seem too likely) - all tossed together in a grand dystopian adventure. This is definitely one book I'm keeping for my library.

WARNING: This is a Young Adult novel targeted towards ages 14 years old and up. There is violence in the book and some foul language.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. 20 March 2014
By Gary E. Thorn - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is better than your typical apocalyptic novel, unless of course you try and compare it to Stephen Kings "The Stand", which of course can't really be compared to anything, irrespective of the genre. Still, I would rank "Not a Drop to Drink" just about right up there with McCarthy's "The Road" which is saying something, especially if you are a McCarthy fan as I am.

This novel is a little different in that, instead of the main characters trying to survive out on the road, the characters in this book are located in a place of their own and instead of walking into trouble, the trouble comes to them. But this is not what sets this novel apart from other novels in this genre. What sets it apart is the maturation of a young girl, left on her own after she accidentally shoots her mother. It is this young woman and her gradual letting go of her fears that sets the novel apart.

Taught to be wary of all strangers, she slowly begins to develop a degree of empathy and compassion for the travelers that pass by her farm. She is not the only well drawn character in the book. She befriends a neighbor, with whom she has only incidental dealings with in the past, and most of the men and women that pass her farm are more than just a bunch of survivors trying to take what they can get.

I give the book only four stars because the theme is pretty much used up by now, despite the authors somewhat original take on the end of the world. Also, while the novel is an easy read, the prose is not anything special nor is the plot particularly complex.

Still, if you want a good, kick back on the couch read, one that will go down easily and keep your attention, then "Not a Drop to Drink", is probably one of the books your looking for.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it! 27 July 2014
By PamM - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Water is a hard thing to come by. Lynn as ben lucky enough to grow up next to a pond with her mom teaching her how to purify the water and how to protect it. They keep to their selves and keep all others away from their place. She really doesn't have anyone but her mother and while the life is hard they are surviving. Now from their lookout on the roof they see smoke. Smoke is a bad sign as it means someone is close to them. Lynn will have to use everything she know as well as learn more if she is going to survive. New people coming close is just the beginning of a change coming for Lynn.

Lynn is a very smart girl. She doesn't know a lot about interaction with other people as she has only met one other person before. Their neighbor Stebbs is the only person her mom aloud to get close to them. She is strong and she knows what to do. She hates to but she will kill to protect her stuff. I liked her as she wasn't a whiney character and actual had a lot of strength.

This is a fantastic book as it was a joy to read from beginning to end. Lynn has so many struggles to face in this book. In the beginning you see what all she has to do to make ends meet and how they get their water. She has to work hard almost every day. When something horrible happens she has to learn more about the world than her mother taught her. She has to learn to open up to strangers and they show her what it is like to love. She knows nothing really about flirting and what it's like to care for someone other than her mother. She also learns she has to take charge and get rid of the men who are moving in on her place. She shows a great strength in someone her age. I have to say the ending is one I did not see coming and while I hated it I also think the author did an amazing job with it. If you enjoy dystopian books this is a must try.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty and heart-wrending, but scattered with tenderness. 17 June 2014
By fefferfit - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
**Review originally appeared on**

Not a Drop to Drink has been on my to-read list for several months, and I was so excited to finally have a chance to read this. It gets all kinds of rave reviews, and so I'd been dying to get to it. Turns out, I thought it was... well, bleak. Heart-wrending.

It's not gruesome, or dark. It's not un-uplifting. But it is a novel that doesn't pull many punches. Not a Drop to Drink paints a picture of a country without much water left, and what happens when people have to fight (including, at times, one another) to survive. Their existences are solitary and suspicious, the land stark and bare, the animal populations sparse and dangerous, and nearly everything and everyone is a danger.

The book follows Lynn, a teenaged girl who lives alone with her mother. They have a home, enough food to feed themselves, as long as they're able to get it preserved in time, and a pond. The pond is what makes them vulnerable, and they spend the majority of each day watching it, guns at the ready. They have a neighbor, Stebbs, who lives a fair piece off, but they never speak to him. They're isolated, by choice. And then everything implodes.

The world McGinnis creates is extraordinarily unforgiving, and yet her characters have a sort of tenderness, when they're able to relax enough to let it show. When they're able to form bonds to one another, they care deeply, and share a strong loyalty. Their lives are often tragic, but filled with intense emotion. Less a story about physical survival, Not a Drop is really more a story about learning how to survive, emotionally, under such extraordinary physical circumstances.

Moreover, McGinnis is a good, strong writer with a clear voice, something that's lacking, sometimes, in a debut novel. There are all kinds of lovely passages, e.g.:

"Her affection and gratitude were too subtle and burned away under the harsh light of day. But in the familiar darkness of the basement she let her unspoken feelings pour out of her like water and hoped that somehow the flow would reach him while he slept, and he would know without her having to say. "

The book was hard to put down, but difficult to read, if that makes sense. Because I cared so much about her characters, it was tough to bear what she was putting them through. And in the end, I liked it so much I felt like it deserved at least four stars.

In any event, I think it's a book you have to make up your mind about, yourself. I ended up downgrading it a bit for language. There is a lot of it, so consider yourselves warned. I would not recommend it for younger teens. 3.5 stars.