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Monday, October 14, 2013

Grim, Gripping Not a Drop to Drink Not to Be Missed

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Lynn knows survival in her harsh, drought-plagued world depends on one thing: water.  If she and her mother want to live—and they do—they must protect their pond with everything they've got.  The 16-year-old has been taught to show no mercy to trespassers; if someone edges too close to their precious supply, Lynn shoots to kill.

It's not until tragedy strikes and the teen finds herself defending the pond alone that she begins to question her mother's extreme caution.  Is it possible that some strangers can be trusted?  With danger lurking on the horizon, does Lynn dare ask for help in defending her water?  Or will showing even an ounce of weakness make her a bigger target?  Lynn's mother taught her to trust no one, depend on no one, help no one, but now she's got to make her own choices—can she risk putting her life in someone else's hands?  What about her heart?  As threats to her priceless pond creep closer and closer, Lynn must learn to defend more than just her property.  Only one question remains:  Will she survive?

Describing Not a Drop to Drink, a debut novel by Mindy McGinnis, well enough to do it justice is pretty much impossible.  At least for me.  Suffice it to say that the post-apocalyptic YA story is a grim, gripping tour-de-force made all the more horrifying by its utter believability.  No other tale of this type has spooked me quite as much as this one.  Harsh as it is, though, Not a Drop to Drink has plenty of heart.  Surprised? It's true that Lynn can be a difficult character to like, but as she opens up, she reminds us what it really means to be human.  While I won't go so far as to label this novel "hopeful," I will give it a few other adjectives: strong, mesmerizing, thrilling and, yes, lovely (in a bleak, brutal kind of way).  If you read only one YA dystopian this year, make sure it's this one.  I can pretty much guarantee you won't be disappointed.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of any that are really similar.)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for violence/gore, language (1 F-bomb, plus milder invectives) and sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Not a Drop to Drink from the generous folks at Harper Collins.  Thank you!

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Swimming in a Sea of Stars by Julie Wright

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The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myer



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