Review and Giveaway (PH only): Not A Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

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Rating: 4 / 5 stars
GenresYoung Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Suspense
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Number of Pages: 320
Source: Book from Publisher
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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.

REVIEW

It is incredibly painful that out of the wide range of YA dystopias I’ve read in 2013 alone, the majority of them has left me incredibly sad and disappointed. They’d usually have one or two or more of the following: shaky world-building, a tedious narrative, annoying characters, bigger plotholes than YO MOMMA SO FAT jokes… you get the picture. So, while I was looking forward to reading Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis, at the same time, I was preparing for the worst, too. I mean, it has happened again and again, so why expect anything different, right? This is what makes me sad – when you know books of quality are rare in your favorite genre.

But, fortunately, this book caught me by surprise. It was good! It was really good. And at the same time, it was different, too. I was so used to dystopias where characters go from one place to another in search of resources or what-have-you that the portrayal of a protagonist’s quiet account of survival felt absolutely refreshing to me. Instead of plots of revolutions or overthrowing governments, of fast-paced action with big guns and large machetes, of talks of escaping an oppressive government, of searching far and wide for allies to come help, what we have is a young woman and her friends, who want to live and survive with what they have in their own little patch of land, with a ferocious will to protect it and the people living in it.

I have to say – the narrative here is outsanding. Usually, in many of the dystopian books I’ve read, there is a great emphasis on what is happening *outside* of the character, but I felt the narration here was personal. I guess it’s great as the context calls for it, seeing as the setting is strictly limited to Lynn and company’s area. Yeah, there is not much world-building, and the greater scheme of things unfolds slowly through word of mouth from other survivors, but I didn’t mind this tiny detail at all. Instead, we get a more personal feel of the main character and a well-polished atmosphere suitable for the situation. Even with its being heavy on the main character and her struggles, there is an air of constant threat hiding in the shadows – be it wild animals or unfamiliar men looking to steal the water they have, keeping you on your toes and at the edges of your seats despite the slow pace.

And seriously, it’s not hard to feel for Lynn. Even though she has a tough exterior, she is extremely likable. She is strong and capable; she was raised by her mother not to take things lightly. She ensures survival over anything else, instantly making her a beacon of light in my book. Yes, her decision to take care of a child in the middle of the book was a bit off-putting (I mean, if there’s one thing I learned from the Walking Dead, it is that kids are a burden… *gets bricked*), but I understood it given the circumstances and that strong urge to protect an individual after failing to protect someone else. Although the middle part of the book with the romance was somewhat lacking, the book is successful in truly making you connect to her and the characters she start to care for. This book teaches, through Lynn’s journey, that while survival is important, so is compassion. Being selfish may be good for one’s survival, but the human spirit cannot grow without humanity.

This was truly a wonderful dystopian book, and I recommend it for those who would like to read something different in this worn-out genre. A novel with a beautiful narrative and an engaging atmosphere, it will show you the worst of society while at the same time give you hope that kindness of heart can blossom even in the most dreadful situation.

GIVEAWAY (PH ONLY)

Given that this was a really good book and I really want to share the experience, I will be giving away my finished copy to one reader living in the Philippines! It is a hard copy with an extremely gorgeous cover. The font here is awesome as well and really motivates you to read even further. There are only a few rules:

* You must be 13 years or older to enter.
* Once a winner has been announced, an e-mail will be sent. No reply within 48 hours will disqualify that entry and a new winner will be announced.
* The Social Potato is not responsible for any losses or damaged goods.
* No cheating allowed.

Here is a picture of the beauty:

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Faye

Faye

A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena

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  1. says

    THE ENDING. THAT ENDING. THIS ENDING. HOLY CRAP. I still can’t believe it ended like that. It was perfect and heart breaking. I wasn’t really expecting this one to knock me off my feet either, but it did and I’m so glad I ended up picking up a copy!

    Lovely review, hun! <33

  2. says

    Uhmmmmm… this is kinda hard. I don’t think I could answer that question. I don’t even go through the day without having at least one liquid mixture in my body (Specifically coffee)……….. I might die without water…. no scratch that, I WILL DIE WITHOUT WATER XD

  3. says

    YAY glad to hear you found a dystopian amazing Faye! I’m jealous of your PH followers for a chance to win the book. I love how this one delves not only into survival but compassion as well. I’ll have to pick it up sometime.

  4. says

    I’ll probably die, honestly. I don’t think I could drink pee or anything like that, although I hope I would get the courage to if the time comes!

  5. says

    Okay, WHAT is going on with this book? Everyone loves it. But see me here! I will resist! Unless this book has a very terrible(as in, makes me sad) ending! Then I will consider!

  6. says

    I will eat hydrated fruits, you know like coconut and others that are really more liquid like apple and watermelon. But I’m probably sure I’ll eventually die, a week or two tops.

  7. says

    Oh gods. I’ll die when that happens. That’s why I’ll probably transform into Katniss and fight someone if they have some water. Seriously. I’m willing to kill just to have some water. But I do hope that will never happen.

  8. says

    I really don’t know what I will do, thinking of it makes me insane. Maybe sea water? I’ll die anyway so why not?

    Thanks for a chance to win this book Faye, I’m really rooting for this book since day 1. Your review is the first one that I’ve read, gonna put it on my top shelf. Thanks!

  9. says

    Awesome review! I have this on my TBR for a while and I think I will just have to read it soon. If there’s no more water, to survive, I’d probably look for fruit trees, and scrounge up some dried fruits, or maybe I’d just die. LOL!

  10. says

    Yay! We’re twinsies on this topic. I agree with your assessment of the general quality of YA dystopians, SADLY, but I really liked this one. The narrative was perfect, and I did like the smaller scope. I think a lot of them try for what McGinnis did, a scope so small you don’t have to explain much world building, but they didn’t get it right. I think what makes this one work is how much it feels like a slice of life. It’s very quiet and not trying to shock you. It’s what she’s used to.