Teen Book Review: Mindy McGinnis’ ‘Not a Drop to Drink’

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If you’re a fan of The Hunger Games, then you should totally get into In the After. But if you’re looking for something darker — yes, even darker than teens fighting each other to the death a la THG — then try your hand at Mindy McGinnisNot a Drop to Drink, the latest book reviewed by our columnist, Rani Lee

Katherine Tegen Books

Katherine Tegen Books

Book: Not a Drop to Drink

Author: Mindy McGinnis
“Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink” (Samuel Coleridge).

The Plot: Lynn grew up with a rifle on her hip. She learned early on to shoot strangers on sight or risk losing her most valuable asset: the pond. Living in a world where clean water is a limited resource, Lynn knows that everything beyond the woods that line the horizon is either useless or a threat. When pillars of smoke begin to appear regularly on the horizon, she realizes that the threat is now stronger and looming. She has what they want — a reliable water source — and she will do anything to protect it.

What’s Hot: I have always been a fan of books that explore the big “What-ifs.” What if the sun stops shining? What if zombies attack? What if our most essential resource all but disappears?

Not a Drop to Drink explores a world where clean drinking water is in limited supply. People without a stable water source die wandering in search of one. Lynn has seen her fair share of people crazed with dehydration, stumbling into her clearing for a drink of water. Many of them she shot.

Lynn’s character is one of the things I liked about the novel. Lynn was born into an apocalyptic world, so she has no idea what life was like before. She was raised to value nothing higher than self-preservation, which is why she can shoot a man without flinching. Having grown up with only her mother, her knowledge of emotions, vocabulary, and human interaction is very limited. I liked her character’s consistency. In one of the later chapters, a character is described as “chivalrous” and Lynn states simply that she doesn’t know what that means. Lynn’s limited exposure is her greatest character strength and her greatest character weakness, and it carries the novel from start to finish.

There is never a dull moment in the novel. Between the plot twists and the characters, it is definitely entertaining.

What’s Not so Hot: Not a Drop to Drink is a dark novel. At times, it was hard to keep reading. The plot twists were stomach-churning, heart-wrenching, and cringe-inducing. There was so much death, violent and savage. Having read novels in this vein before, I hadn’t expected Not a Drop to Drink to go as far as it did. Any joy in the novel was either snuffed out or stomped down to fading embers.

Bottom Line: I can only recommend Not a Drop to Drink with conditions. If you like apocalyptic novels and you have a strong constitution, then you might like it. If not, I’d suggest you leave it on the shelf and maybe try In the After instead. The two novels have a lot of similarities, but Demitria Lunetta’s novel is easier to digest.

Rani Lee Meets Delirium Author Lauren Oliver!