Grace is one of the new blog contributors here at YA Booklover blog! You can check out this post to find out more about her.
Did you guys know that 3.4 million people in this world die each year from a water related disease? Clean drinking water is something that many of us in today’s developed world take for granted and probably don’t even think twice about every time we drink, cook, or shower. Water is accessible to us by simply turning on a faucet or by waving our hands by a sink in some super swanky places, but what would happen to civilization if we lost access to that privilege?
Not a Drop to Drink depicts a world where a lack of water is an everyday battle for our protagonist named Lynn. All Lynn knows is the constant worry of watching the water level of her pond drop lower and lower due to lack of rain and the constant threat of strangers desperate to do whatever it takes for some of her vital water. Lynn had grown up tough with her mother, doing whatever it takes to protect their home and pond, even if it meant taking the lives of daring coyotes or people.
Proper world building is absolutely essential for any type of dystopian book to make any sense, and Mindy McGinnis absolutely nails this important aspect. We learn that there was a time before what is known as the Shortage where life was just like ours; worry free with a plenitude of clean water. After the shortage, cities restricted family size and marked up the price of water for their citizens and many flocked to the country where they were faced with even more hardships due to lack of knowledge about how to survive in the wild. Even though Lynn and her mother lived in the Ohio countryside with their own fairly reliable source of water, they still had to spend hours a day purifying their own water due to the fear of cholera that had reemerged and claimed the lives of those who knew nothing about purifying water.
Another aspect of this novel that was so incredibly refreshing was the greater emphasis on family relationships and friendships instead of just romantic relationships. Lynn’s naïveté about romance and men in general was a source of humor in the midst of a survival story, because who wouldn’t be naïve if you had to kill any man who came within a specific range of your only water source? (Lynn’s own neighbor had to give her The Talk at one point,which literally had me laughing out loud!). There was a little relationship thing going between Lynn and another prominent male character later in the story,but there was more emphasis on her relationship with her neighbor Stebbs and with a little girl named Lucy. It was especially heartwarming to watch Lynn transform into someone a little softer around the edges who began to question human character instead of mercilessly shooting people without so much of a second thought.
Not a Drop to Drink is a story about survival without the frills that some other dystopias possess; there were no elaborate rebellions or zombies or genetic mutations that brought civilization crashing down but the simple lack of clean water for everyone. The likelihood of this future made it easy for me to be captivated by the plot and the absence of a love triangle and a strong female character who didn’t need no man to take care of her were major bonuses for me as well. My one and only problem with Not a Drop to Drink is that I felt that the plot dragged a bit in the middle which resulted in what felt like an abrupt ending. I would’ve so much rather have had the ending be less rushed and have not so much “fluff” at some parts that did not really relate to the story line.
With the rushed ending in mind and new found knowledge about cholera and purifying water, I’d give Not a Drop to Drink 4.5 birds and a strong recommendation to anyone looking for a realistic, no nonsense survival story.
(Awesome water facts courtesy of water.org)