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Book Review: Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

A straight-up, hardcore dystopia coming atcha – Not A Drop to Drink adds something great to the genre. I hope you agree!

Book Review: Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

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not a drop to drink mindy mcginnis book review

Title & Author: Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy – Dystopia

Release Date: January 28, 2014

Series: Stanalone

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

How I Got the Book: Bought


“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….”

Strong Standalone Dystopia

A true dystopian-style YA story, Not A Drop to Drink is as dry as the setting it presents. Lynn and her mom live alone, set apart from all but on neighbor and are likely to shoot you on sight, no questions asked.

But everything changes when smoke is seen in the distance, and Lynn realizes things in the world are changing…

The language in Not A Drop to Drink is short and to the point. Although it sounds harsh or boring, the sparseness of language only draws more attention to the emotion and drama in the novel. And, oh there is drama. And violence, tons of violence.

The clean, clinical look at life takes place more in the first half of the book, giving way to a burst of feeling in the second half. Lynn is a great character who I grew to love more and more throughout the book. A lot happens to her and a lot is demanded and yet she trudges on. Survival is demanding like that.

Although I certainly enjoyed this story – the concept and the execution were done very, very well – there were a few incidents and stories that I wish had continued on. Maybe I’m just trained to expect sequels, but I honestly think Not A Drop to Drink could have benefited from another book.

There just seems like so much is left unsaid at the end. I wanted more closure, and I wanted to experience more from the world McGinnis created. This definitely goes to show she built something truly interesting and fully-fleshed for me to say that.

That being said, because things were left the way they were, I was disappointed with the ending. It’s tough to know in dystopias if some things are done just to fit in with the genre or avoid being cliched.


This book takes a harsh environment and enriches it with emotional growth and development and coming of age-ness. I appreciated the very vivid world McGinnis created and would have gladly signed on for another book, had there been on. Just prepare yourself when opening up Not A Drop to Drink, it’s violent and shocking at times (I thought it was worth it, though).

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Lisa Schensted

    I have heard SUCH good things about this one! Unfortunately, I need a break from dystopia for awhile but when I come back, it will be for this one!