Review: Not a Drop to Drink

Not A Drop to Drink is set in a future where water is scarce, and the main character Lynn is left to defend her pond.

Not a Drop to Drink - Mindy McGinnis

This is how I felt most of the time while reading Not a Drop to Drink

olivia-who-caresThe short, non-spoilery version of my review: This book only engaged me occasionally. I never connected with the characters. And at the end of the book, I never felt there was a purpose to this entire story I just read.

The longer, WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW version of my review…

The first four chapters were a COMPLETE snooze. I cared nothing about Lynn, Mother (I hate that she was referred to as Mother in third person, but more on that later), or their lives. We spend four chapters eavesdropping on their day-to-day battle with purifying water (which is as boring as it sounds), and it’s quite frankly way too slow of a start for a YA novel of this length. If they had both died in the second chapter to make way for more interesting characters I would not have cared less. In fact, when Mother died in chapter five my reaction wasn’t sad so much as, “Finally, something happened!” But  then the next several chapters dragged as well. Lynn has to cope with daily life alone, as well as the emotional impact of accidentally killing her mom. Except we’re only kind of told she feels the way, and we certainly never feel that she feels this way. Or at least I didn’t feel it. In fact, this book made me feel very little at all, except angry for wasting my time.

But to be fair, I didn’t hate everything about Not A Drop to Drink. Actually, I didn’t really hate any of it. It just felt meh most of the time. When Stebbs finally came along, my interest was piqued. I was also interested when Lucy and Eli came along, and it was sort of neat to watch Lynn soften up to them.

The former felt natural and earned. The latter felt a little more rushed. I can believe that a teenage girl who had basically zero knowledge about the opposite sex (and what little she did know was the very negative connotations her Mother gave her) can quickly become attracted to a teenage guy, and that she would quickly attach to him, especially considering he’s literally her only option for the time-being. But the fact that she literally just learned about sex and has an extremely negative image of men, and then turns around and has no problem with spooning with Eli in the dark in her bed when he has no shirt on makes zero sense to me. It also makes no sense to me that this is the form of affection he immediately jumps to after back-rubbing, especially for a guy who claims he’s not trying to have sex with her. Hmmm.


All the character moments with Lucy and Eli and Stebbs felt too small in the large scheme of the story. All I feel I can really say about the people Lynn gets to know is that they had potential to be interesting. Weeks fly by with very little actual interaction happening, which can be fine, but it in this case did nothing to help advance the extremely shallow-feeling relationships among all the characters in this book. Even though this book was not written on the same simplistic level as The Testing, it felt almost as detaching. Sometimes even more so. When What’s-Her-Name (Eli’s sister-in-law whose name has escaped me) lost her baby, that had a lot of potential to be heartbreaking. But it wasn’t. It was very sad, sure, but not heartbreaking like it should have been. And she could have been a great character, but instead she just felt like a flat, emo character. Depression is real and she went through some real crap, but again, I didn’t feel it. I should have known this book would be lacking emotionally from the first page when Lynn’s mom was referred to as Mother in a third person narrative. It sounded ridiculous in my head. The fact that Lynn actually called her Mother instead of Mom seemed ridiculous, but even more so for the narrator to do so.

And speaking of feeling things, Lynn and everyone is supposedly living in constant danger. They have wolves circling around, people shooting at them, some real jerks taking women (more on that later)… but I rarely ever felt the danger. There would be moments where Lynn and Stebbs would be like, Oh crap, this means trouble! But I never believed them.

Besides, how bad off are you when you somehow have UNLIMITED AMMO?! Lynn’s been living in this house for like 16 years, shooting off people and wolves on a weekly basis, and they still have ammo after all this time, yet they were never able to find a better way to get or purify water? They have instruments and canned food and enough clothing to last Lynn’s entire life but production of water purifiers ceased? Seriously?! I just don’t buy it.

Now, let’s get back to the jerk guys who were taking women. Basically, they were enslaving them for sex trade. THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN AN ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING TOPIC FOR THE STORY TO EXPLORE. Human trafficking is happening today in the United States, and for a moment I thought this story was building up to actually be a commentary on this heinous crime that happens in our very own backyard. But NOPE, it’s completely glossed over. Lynn spends time watching all this happen and all she can think about who she is going to shoot. I mean, I guess that’s how she knows how to bring justice, but I don’t know how much she was even thinking about that. And when she goes back to report  to Stebbs what she saw, she just says, “They’re building a dam!” I didn’t even know that before she said it. I was just thinking about those poor women.

Which brings me to what happens at the end. Eli dies. And it felt cheap. I felt like Mindy McGinnis was trying to prove something by killing off the main character’s love interest. Again, it didn’t feel real when it happened, and there didn’t seem to be a point. I never even understood why Lynn and Stebbs felt like they had to shoot these people down. I mean, I understood academically, because it’s the Wild West mentality, but again, I never felt what they felt about it. 

Which brings me to Lynn shooting her father in the head in cold blood. Uh, congratulations, you’re bad-a? Am I supposed to care? Or be impressed? Because I didn’t and I don’t. I was neither pleased or displeased that she did it. I didn’t feel like she had earned the right for me to feel it was vindication, and I didn’t care enough about him to feel one way or the other about it. SHE KILLED HER OWN FATHER AND I HAVE NO FEELINGS ABOUT IT. That just seems strange to me.

And when the story came to the end I wondered: What was the point to everything I just read? What did I learn about Lynn? The other characters? What was their journey? What did I learn about humanity or love or loss or anything while reading this?

mal-speechlessI’ve got nothing.

One last rant… What kind of society finds the birth of a second child so heinous that they will kick you out of the city for it, but doesn’t perform operational procedures on every mother and father to ensure there are no second births? Again, it just didn’t feel real.

This book could have been worse, but it also had the potential to be a lot better.

2stars2I know a lot of people enjoy this book, so if that’s you, where did you find the connection in the story? What resonated for you? 

Content Advisory: There is a fair amount of language throughout, violence is the norm, and there are several mentions of rape. And there’s the spooning. 


My Rankings of 2013 Movies Seen

Very surprisingly, I have only seen 10 new releases from 2013, 9 in theater and only one outside the theater (usually, I would have rented all the summer movies I missed by now!). This isn’t due to a lack of interest so much as a lack of time, and then  forgetting to hit up Redbox for rentals (because I’m lame and don’t have Netflix yet. One day I’ll cave). Because of this, I have yet to see several movies I was anticipating this year or later became interested in, including, most notably, The Book Thief and the second installment of The Hobbit. So all this being said, this is based solely on what I have actually seen so far, and I certainly intend to see more.

Out of the nine 2013 movies I watched, I gave 1 at 4.5 star rating,  6 of them 4 star ratings, and two 3 star ratings. The one I did not review I would say is a 3 star movie, which I do elaborate on later. Also, I have included what number the movie ranked on my most anticipated movies of 2013 list I created last March. Titles link to my reviews. On with the rankings!

1. Catching Fire

catching-fire-comic-con-trailerI was so excited for this movie so much that I made a  list of my Top 10 Anticipations for the movie. And I looooooved this movie! It was a definite improvement over the first installment of The Hunger Games movie franchise, and I cannot wait to see it again!

Ranked #2 among my most anticipated movies of 2013 

2. Star Trek: Into Darkness

startrekThere are a few things in this movie that bother me more in hindsight than they did while I was watching it, but… I still love the movie overall. So many feels. Many tears shed. And there were truly a lot of great moments. Not to mention what JJ has done to bring in new fans into the franchise. Have I mentioned you should seriously watch some older Star Trek? Because you really ought to.

Ranked #3 among my most anticipated movies of 2013 

3. Iron Man 3

IRON MAN 3I know a lot of people did not love the third Iron Man movie, but something about it resonated with me. Tony was more real to me, the twist of the villain truly surprised me, and oh yeah, he goes to Tennessee (where I live! Except the TN parts were actually filmed in North Carolina. Boo hiss. But anyway…)! Look, it’s an Avengers movie, not Oscar material. Enjoy it for what it is.

Ranked #4 among my most anticipated movies of 2013 

4. Monsters University

mike-monstersUI was anxious about a prequel to my favorite Pixar movie, afraid that it would get the dreaded Disney sequel treatment, but I found that this story was great in its own right, as well as providing us additional insight to the characters we already knew! Again, it’s fairly light, but has a message that I think is actually very relevant for kids and adults alike, that you can’t necessarily do anything you want, but if you work hard, you’ll find your place!

Ranked #7 among my most anticipated movies of 2013 

5. Thor: The Dark World

thor-2Thor’s second movie proved to be another fun and interesting exploration into the Marvel universe as well as Thor’s. And though I’ve never considered myself a Loki fan, he completely stole the show in this movie.

Ranked #6 among my most anticipated movies of 2013

6. Ender’s Game

enders_game_movie-wideI really enjoyed this adaptation quite a bit, but it was just too short and everything felt too fast. It left me wanting more, but thankfully, everything it did show looked really good and felt true to the book.

Ranked as an honorable mention among my most anticipated movies of 2013

7. Man of Steel

manofsteelThis was a movie that I really enjoyed when I watched it, but I have forgotten about a lot since my viewing of it. I loved all the flashback stuff about Clark Kent growing up. I hated the all the freaking property damage that was caused by Superman and Zod’s battle over who is more indestructible. This movie was considerably better than the 2006 Superman Returns, but Superman still doesn’t have the same impact on me as Batman does.

Ranked #8 among my most anticipated movies of 2013 

8. The Wolverine

the-wolverineIf I was ranking these movies more objectively and less subjectively, this would be lower on the list. But I had fairly low expectations for this movie and they slightly exceeded them, mostly in the stinger scene but oh well. It was pretty fun. Some of it lacked logic and it bothered me that the evil villain lady looked like a Poison Ivy wanna-be but… whatever. It wasn’t as good as X-Men: First Class, but probably better than the other X-Men movies.

Ranked as an honorable mention among my most anticipated movies of 2013 

9. Oblivion

oblivion-shipThis movie was undoubtedly my biggest disappointment for movies in 2013. The trailer led me to believe that this was the most awesome, epic sci-fi dystopia story EVER and it just fell way short of what I expected. Overall though, it was still a pretty decent movie, which is why I rated it 3 stars, but I had so many problems with it. Why weren’t you EPIC, Oblivion?!

Ranked #1 among my most anticipated movies of 2013 

10. World War Z

world_war_zI never would have seen this movie if it had been left entirely up to me, but I was with a group and decided to keep an open mind. Despite the fact that it’s on the bottom of my list, I didn’t hate this movie at all. In fact, since I had low expectations for it, I almost enjoyed it. I say almost because 1.) This isn’t exactly a fun movie and the subject matter is pretty dark and 2.) I don’t have a desire to re-watch it. The funny thing is though, I am almost interested in reading the book, because from my understanding it delves more into the parts of the movie that were lightly skimmed over that I think would be fascinating to explore (i.e. more about the nature of world politics that happens rather and less of Greasy Haired Brad Pitt running away from zombies). Needless to say, putting this movie at the bottom of the list is not at all meant as a diss for a movie I had zero interest in seeing, and though I never reviewed it, I would give this movie a rating of 3 stars. I liked it alright.

Not ranked among my most anticipated movies of 2013 

What were your favorite movies of 2013?