Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Pages: 320  drop 

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books 

Summary from Goodreads: 

Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water. 

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.


Layered with emotion, Not a Drop to Drink is full of stunning writing and heartfelt characters.

Each word in this story felt deliberate and added to the story. The world building is simple but present. With every action or dialogue the setting and mood are revealed, creating a brutal backdrop for this somber story.

Lynn’s portrayal as a strong yet desperate heroine is so honest. Never once is the reader shielded from some hard truths about the her, but it only works to endear her more. There is only a small cast of main characters, and each completes the story in some way.

The novel moves at its own pace. It’s a bit slower than readers looking for lots of action typical in a post-apocalyptic might like. Nothing happens too fast or too slow, but rather a nice blending of the two.

One thing I especially liked about Not a Drop to Drink is that though there is a small romance, it is nowhere near the most important relationship of the novel. Each character connects to one another in a vital way, and I think writing these connections is McGinnis’ strong point.

Oh, the ending! By that point, most of Lynn’s walls had come down, making each emotion she felt bolder. McGinnis’ didn’t take any shortcuts when crafting that conclusion. The last few lines are still stuck in my head. 

Not a Drop to Drink doesn’t pull any punches, making it one of my new favorite post-apocalyptics.