Published by Katherine Tegen Books on September 24, 2013
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.
In Not a Drop to Drink, Lynn ekes out an existence with Mother. Lynn was born into a time of extreme water scarcity, and she knows little beyond the area surrounding her house and small pond. That small pond is not only the source of life for Lynn and Mother, but it is also a potential killer, since desperate people are willing to die to get a drink from it. Lynn and Mother will kill to protect it, setting aside any compassion they might feel for someone risking death just for a drink, because the pond’s existence must be kept a secret.
Throughout her life, Lynn has experienced almost no social interaction with anyone other than Mother. Mother has taught Lynn that no one is to be trusted, and every stranger is a potential murderer. Mother kills the people who venture onto their property with no remorse, and she teaches Lynn to do the same. Lynn’s world eventually opens up beyond the borders of her property, and as it does, new dangers and new opportunities present themselves. Lynn’s whole world previously revolved around Mother, and now there are new people in her life. Lynn has to make the choice to either remain isolated or to try to trust these outsiders, violating every lesson Mother ever taught her.
Not a Drop to Drink was even better than I had hoped, and my hopes were high. There was so much to love here. Lynn is a fabulous heroine, and she grows throughout the book in a very realistic way. Mother’s views of the world are harsh, almost robotic, but she managed to keep herself and her daughter alive when many others perished. McGinnis makes us feel compassion for even the least sympathetic character in the book as we gradually learn the reasons for her behavior.
About the ending… Did McGinnis really just do THAT??? Oh, yes, she did. When I managed to pull myself back together, I could fully appreciate the beauty of this book, the best I’ve read in 2013.
I can’t wait to hear what you all think about Not a Drop to Drink. And if you’d like to discuss THAT ENDING, please put a prominent spoiler alert in your comment!
Review posted at Goodreads.