Published by Katherine Tegen Books on September 24, 2013
Reviewed by: Abigail
Kissing. Numerous references to rape.
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.
NOT A DROP TO DRINK is a grim, startling portrayal of survival in a post apocalyptic world where water has become the rarest resource on the planet. Lynn and her mother endure daily struggles to defend and safeguard the pond that ensures their survival. They fend off ravenous coyotes, packs of merciless marauders, and the endless cycle of natural forces that attack them. It's essentially a post apocalyptic version of Little House on the Prairie and it's riveting.
In this bleak day in and day out struggle, Lynn's mother has hardened herself against the world around them. She's taught her daughter how to shoot a man at three hundred yards and strip him of all his valuables. She taught her how to field dress a deer and purify water. She taught her how to survive when most of the world around them has died. She taught her well, and yet skipped over so much that became irrelevant when their only 'neighbor' is a man that Lynn hasn't spoken to since she was a child.
As an ardent Little House fan (the books not the TV show), I relished watching the ingenious ways that Lynn and her mother survived each day. Everything from the elaborate and labor intensive process of purifying water to various ways they found and preserved food. The animal and human threat was constant and survival often meant unbelievably hard choices had to be made. As a result, Lynn is such a capable and strong character who, understandably, has a stunted concept of compassion.
Painful, bloody, and tragic, NOT A DROP TO DRINK doesn't try to soften or sanitize the realities of this world, but it does temper them with love, sacrifice, and hope. The prose isn't elegant or showy, but it's no less powerful. Gutting is a better word for some of the more devastating scenes, but they only made the triumphs, the romance, all the more tender. Mindy McGinnis is definitely an author to watch.
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- Razorland series by Ann Aguirre