Not a Drop to Drink is an interesting and deep read. From the first pages, you're sucked into a world where water is rare and one must do everything they can to protect themselves and the ones they love. Lynn is willing to kill anyone to survive, that is until she loses the only person she had.
Mindy McGinnis' debut novel is an inspiring journey which asks the ultimate question: what's more important - survival or living? Lynn and her mother, Lauren, live by a pond and guard it fiercely. The rules were simple: everybody was an enemy. When a simple errand goes wrong, Lynn finds herself slowly needing to open up and accept others into her heart to survive.
Not a Drop to Drink is very much a character driven novel, with little to no actual plot. That, however, is far from a bad thing as it gives us more time to form deeper bonds with the characters and building the world. Much of the novel is centered around all it takes to keep this operation moving. Hunting, logging, preparing meat.
What McGinnis' succeeded in was creating a world which was different from ours but resembled it just enough to give Not a Drop to Drink a realistic and gritty atmosphere. She portrayed the brutality and the grittiness brilliantly, making Not a Drop to Drink a fantastic, and scary, read.
While the atmosphere is great, the actual world building could use some work. Very little was actually described and I found myself wondering what life was like outside of this little pond. We're told a bit about the one city but it did very little to satisfy my wants. If anything, I wanted to know more about the world after the little teaser.
Lynn's characterisation was one of the shining parts of the book. McGinnis made sure that she wasn't rushing Lynn's growth as a person during the course of the novel, which I appreciate. At times, McGinnis seemingly got a bit OOC for the sake of showing how much Lynn was changing. In the beginning, there were a few 'what' moments, especially when it came to the Lucy, the five year old girl that Lynn, for all practical purposes adopted.
I'm going to get sidetracked for a second and talk about Lucy. I think that Lynn's adoption of her was incredibly OOC. Lynn had just had some very rough things happening and she was emotionally a wreck, but this made her almost even more determined to protect the pond and survive. I honestly do not think that Lynn would have adopted Lucy that early on in the book. Maybe later, after getting to know her but definitely not that early.
The characterization of every other character, other than Lauren, was pitiful at best. None of them were developed as well as Lynn and that got a bit annoying. Eli, the love interest, was so underdeveloped and boring that it made it hard for me to understand why Lynn would ever get together with such a wimp.
Despite this, Not a Drop to Drink is a refreshing book, especially since good dystopia has become harder and harder to find. As debut books go, this is definitely one of the best in a while. I recommend it to anyone looking for a great gritty read!