Not a Drop to Drink - Mindy McGinnis


“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.” 


I must admit that the captivating cover caught my attention at first. I especially liked that it was done in third person and that it is a standalone book in these days of book series. The world of dystopia young adult fiction is pretty crowded right now but it is still one of my favorite genres. This was such a different kind of dystopian novel then I'm used to reading. It was really good, and I adore the refreshing honesty and realism that Not a Drop to Drink presents. It is a slow paced book but it's real and focused on the characters. We learn how the day to day living would be like in a post apocalyptic world, the hardships and fears that survivors face. It's a great tale about love, sacrifice, loyalty, death, and survival.


Not a Drop to Drink takes place in a world where there was first an oil shortage and then a severe water shortage. A world where the water has been contaminated and clean water is a precious commodity The countryside has been abandoned by the government in the US and the cities are tightly controlled. Lynn grew up with her mom, and her mom taught her everything she knew. She’s taught her daughter how to shoot a man at three hundred yards and strip him of all his valuables, to field dress a deer and purify water, to survive when most of the world around them has died...basically everything that keeps them alive in a world without help, stores, electricity, or running water. In this world, their pond is the most important thing, and they defend it with their lives, and for them that also means taking lives. Strangers are people to be afraid of and Lynn and her mother shoot first, ask questions later.


She’s killed by the age of nine, and will not hesitate to do it again. There was no guilt or remorse for those acts, she was simply doing what needed to be done to secure her own personal survival.  Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn't leave at all.


Lynn is such a capable and strong  bad-ass character. She grew up solely with her mother, only seeing glimpses of a single neighbor. This life has made Lynn hard and closed off by all accounts completely unaccustomed to social skills or people in general. Being someone who hasn't interacted with anyone else but her mother, she's weary of others. I enjoyed reading and watching her personal growth  through her interactions with the other secondary characters in the novel. Early on in the book her life changes quite abruptly and she soon meets other survivors who become big players in this novel  They each teach Lynn something about herself, whether it be to have humanity and show mercy, or teaching her how to love.


Lucy - the adorable little girl. She was the catalyst Lynn needed to begin opening  herself up to others around her and created a little family.

Stebbs - the father figure, who makes her think about what it means to survive and whether she really wants to do it alone.

Eli - the cute boy who makes her blush. With Eli she learned how to be soft, trust and to depend on others-  for a change. There is a little romance, but it is far outside the main focus of this book.  Romance is not the driving factor of the story and the book is not working toward a predictable happily ever after. Not everyone gets a "rainbows and butterflies" ending, but they get the RIGHT one.


If you're looking for an action-packed adventure or a heart-wrenching romance, this isn't it. Not A Drop to Drink is a perfect book for those who enjoyed books like Ashfall or The Road. It's a scarily realistic story of surviving in a harsh and grim world, with fully drawn characters. I would recommend this book to everyone.