I am sometimes surprised when I find a book that’s so good, but I have never heard of it. Mindy McGinnis’ Not a Drop to Drink is one of these books. McGinnis makes us care about her characters without giving too much backstory away too quickly. The world she paints, for the most part, is believable and terrifying in its own way.
The novel takes place in a world where a fresh water shortage has left the government and economy in shambles for many years. There isn’t a lot of background on the main characters; you sort of are dropped right into the worlds of Lynn, a teenage girl born during the shortage, and her mother, a woman hardened by the harsh new world. Lynn and her mother were lucky enough to have a pond on their property, which provides them with fresh, drinkable water. However, the winter is coming and new threats keep them from adequately preparing for the cold, Ohio winter months. Both women fear most everything, and with good reason. But circumstances beyond Lynn’s control soon have the teenager asking herself whether or not “shoot first ask questions later always” is the best policy.
I truly enjoyed the story telling in this novel. I was amazed by what Lynn was taught by her English-degree-holding mother, and even more perplexed by what her mother decided not to teach her. There were times that I had to grit my teeth as I read about the worst sides of humanity, and others that I smiled because of the generosity some people still could find to give in such a world. I did have to question how long it would take for the first world to bounce back from such a shortage. It seemed to me like there would have been some semblance of a government after almost 16 years of building back up from the shortage. This did not detract from the novel; I was merely interested in the realistic factor behind such a premise.
Not a Drop to Drink will leave you running to the store to buy extra gallons of water. It will make you think about how the world works and the nature of humanity. Though I couldn’t get enough of this novel, I was surprised to hear there was a companion novel that had just been released. The end to this book is satisfying, which is a rarity for me these days. I would recommend this to a wide variety of people because the themes are more mature than a lot of teen fiction, and I think that nearly anyone can learn a little from humanity’s darker moments.
Sarah Emily Lelonek has a BA in English Literature from Kent State University. She is currently enrolled at Tiffin University in their Master’s of Education program. She enjoys traveling and gaming while on breaks from working on her novel.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by HarperCollins Publishers. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.