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….
The good news? This book is so far my favorite book of 2013, hands down. As soon as I got my eager hands on Not a Drop to Drink, I started reading it. I read it while I ate breakfast, I read it at the stoplight in front of the kids' preschool, I read it at the reference desk, and I read it in the shower (which isn't unusual, I always read in the shower, which is why my friends won't lend me books anymore.) I already knew from the jacket copy that I was hooked on the premise, but what I didn't expect was how thoroughly McGinnis's tense storytelling ability would draw me into Lynn's stark world. McGinnis writes in almost Hemingway-like prose, the clipped sentences of our heroine echoing the harsh landscape around her, allowing the raw emotions and fears to shine through the text. The freshwater crisis feels real and vibrant without being over-explained, and everything from the vicious coyotes to the drudgery of purifying water feels gritty and harsh.
Of course, no novel stays in the status quo, and Not a Drop moves swiftly, introducing new characters and new crises, and most importantly, a chance for Lynn to grow outside of the isolated and paranoid life her mother has raised her with. Her emotional growth, helped along by a band of three-dimensional and compelling characters, was more fascinating to me than all of her survival skills put together. This is a fantastic read for boys and girls, adults and teens alike, and will especially appeal to fans of The Hunger Games.
Time for the bad news. Are you ready?
Not a Drop doesn't hit the shelves until September 24.
I know, guys. I know.
The librarian in me can't leave you hanging, so here's some titles to keep you occupied until the fall:
Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
When a group of teenagers go camping in the bush, they return home to find their country overrun by a vicious enemy. They are forced to survive in the country as they think of a plan to rescue their families--and to give the invaders hell while they're at it.
Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
After an asteroid hits the moon, natural disasters ravage the globe, and Miranda must learn to survive in a world where heat and food and comfort no longer come easily and each day is a struggle.
After the Snow by S. D. Crockett
A new ice age is ushered in, and Willo survives by trapping animals and selling their furs. When his family vanishes, he must travel to find them, and on his way, he meets a lost girl named Mary, whom he decides to help. A definite read for fans of The Knife of Never Letting Go.
Now away with you to the library or the bookstore!