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Friday, September 20, 2013

Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis (Review)

Young Adult, Post Apocalyptic
Publication.Date  September 24th 2013
Published By:  Katherine Tegan Books
Author's GRMindy McGinnis 

Not A Drop To Drink on Goodreads
My review copy:Review copy from the publisher via Edelweiss
Where to get:

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.

There's a famous line from a poem about the ocean," Mother had finally said to end the discussion. "'Water water every where, but not a drop to drink.
"Do you want to die like this?" Mother had asked, that night and every night since then.
Lynn's answer never changed. "No."
And Mother's response, their evening prayer. "Then you will have to kill."
Just know that there's bad men in the world, and dying fast by your mother is a better way than theirs.
“Why do you always quote poetry at me when all I want is a straight answer?”
“Type of men who gather up seven of themselves to attack two women in the middle of the night generally won't go back for dead friends.”

     Mindy McGinnis' "Not A Drop To Drink" is one phenomenal debut novel. It's a gritty survival story with a beating heart - meaningful, moving and intelligent. A no-nonsense depiction of a post-apocalyptic world in which the rivers have dried up and the thirst, hunger and desperation are all that's left. 

     This is a powerful story. A rare gem among YA books that can be enjoyed by teens and adults alike. Filled with incredible insights, memorable quotes, and emotionally affecting moments, it gripped  me right from the very first page and left me.. changed. Heartbroken, but satisfied and hopeful. This story really pulled on my heartstrings. At times I had tears in my eyes and had to pause and take a deep breath, and remind myself that "this is only a fictional story". Because it was all too easy to forget that. This story felt so real, so honest. Brutal yet utterly beautiful. Most of all, it felt terrifyingly plausible. A fictional scenario that could become our own grim reality in a blink of an eye. There's no doubt in my mind that this is a book I won't ever forget. 

     The writing was exceptional. I inhaled it all. I loved McGinnis evocative descriptions and sharp dialogues. I enjoyed how straight-forward and raw the narrative voice was, it really spoke to me. And it definitely fit the story well, giving it an extra edge. There are passages in this book that will make you pause and wonder about certain things, from more practical things, like how you'd react to certain situations, to more abstract ideas, like friendship, love, fear and what it does to you, isolation and how it affects you. This story is filled with memorable life lessons. 

     I loved all the characters, I really did. How could I not? They're so real, so different from the usual flat, angsty teenagers and nonsensical adults that rule the YA universe. McGinnis' characters are brilliantly fleshed out, with distinct character traits, skills and personalities. Full of complicated  - often conflicting - emotions, fears, hopes and dreams. You genuinely care for these people. Especially the heroine, Lynn, who is a girl that will make your heart ache. She entered the adulthood at a very young age, had to learn how to survive, fight off people who would come and try to steal water from their lake, be tough, even merciless. To stay alive she had to learn how to kill. Her life was virtually joyless. Even with her mother still alive and there to keep her company, she was devastatingly lonely. But then horrible things happen. Her mother's death, the unexpected friendship with the old neighbor, the arrival of strangers with unknown and possibly bad intentions- Lynn has to face all that, change her old way of thinking and adapt to this new situation. And her personal growth, inspired by so many gut-wrenching and heart-pounding events - is immense. 

     Not A Drop To Drink is filled with breathtaking action and it makes for a fast-paced, captivating and deeply moving read. The plot, the action, the setting and the evocative writing - all that is fantastic and top-notch. To me, though, this is most of all a phenomenal character-driven tale. It's a story of survival, yes, but it's also so much more. It's about letting go and finding your own voice and way of life, it's about opening yourself to the world and allowing yourself to trust another human being, it's about fighting for what's yours but also fighting for what's right, it's about so many things.. you will be blown away and reeling from it for a very long time. Don't wait another moment, pick it up.

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