Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis (2013)
Suggested age range: 13 and up (Katherine Tegen Books, 320 pages)
Genre: Young Adult, Post-apocalyptic, Survival story
Rating: 4/5 stars
The Book: Think of a world where people kill one another for water. Something all living things need in order to survive. It’s an alarming idea, and this sets the stage for Not a Drop to Drink. A post-apocalyptic survival story, Mindy McGinnis’ novel opens with its female protagonist Lynn, who knows how to defend her home’s pond from humans and animals alike. Lynn is taught by her mother how to shoot, save up food and firewood for the winter, and be self-sufficient. She has also learned from her mother to trust no one.
When a tragic accident takes place, Lynn has to make significant decisions about trusting and believing in other people in the midst of danger. She is offered an opportunity for friendship, but will she accept it?
McGinnis’s story features action, romance, and themes that elicit reflection about maintaining hope in the midst of dark times and believing that people are capable of good.
Spirituality in Not a Drop to Drink: Spirituality as relational connectedness is certainly an aspect of the narrative to explore. I love the way Lynn’s character develops throughout the story and how she begins to open her heart to other people. At the beginning she is cautious and skeptical about others; she is quick to shoot, no questions asked. However, by the end of the story her perspective about people, survival, and sacrifice has evolved, and I was left very satisfied by her character development.
The story brings up significant questions: What do I owe my fellow human? To what extent can we trust one another in times of extreme duress and difficulty? How valuable is a human life? How valuable is an animal life?
Who Should Read This Book: Young adults who enjoy post-apocalyptic fiction and survival stories and can handle some violence and disturbing situations should pick up McGinnis’s story. This book gets into the nitty gritty of survival in a world where you can’t just turn on the tap for water. There are some brutal aspects to this survival story, but certainly there would be in a world such as the one McGinnis depicts. In that way, it seems realistic. I recommended this book to my father, who is currently reading it.
The Final Word: I had a feeling I wouldn’t be able to put Not a Drop to Drink down when I started it, though I was feeling thirsty as I read. I was right; I finished this book within two days. There were some aspects of the ending I was disappointed with, but this was due to what happened to certain characters I was invested in. Certainly, this was a realistic dimension to the conclusion, so I could appreciate the author’s choice. In conclusion, I strongly recommend Not a Drop to Drink!