30 August 2015

Not a Drop to Drink

Author: Mindy McGinnis
Series: Not a Drop to Drink #1
Rating: 3 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow

The last three paragraphs of this novel easily earned it a half a star from me.  It's a little bit heart wrenching and at the same time, it goes to show just how far Lynn's come over the course of this novel, which turned out to be very different than what I expected at the beginning.

To be fair, I probably could have seen the shift in the plot coming if I have read the synopsis on the jacket cover.  But, me being me, I wanted to go in blind.  It's always better that way (almost always).  So, as I made my way into the early stages of this novel, I expected it to be the tale between a daughter and a mother, and the struggle to decide whether to stay to defend the lake and the home they know, or try to venture south into the unknown in order to escape from the rather unforgiving climate.

It turns out, and rather quickly at that, that this book isn't about that at all.  A part of me is still bummed about the fact.  I think this novel could have been so engaging if it had focused on that sometimes precarious relationship between Lynn and Lauren, and how they both saw different sides of what was right for them (although, I will admit, McGinnis did an excellent job of doing this on the philosophical side, as I point back to the final three paragraphs of the novel).  Instead, that relationship falls to the wayside early on, and Lynn's relationship with others becomes the prime focus.  And, since this is a YA series and, for some reason, we can't have a YA series without - you guessed it - romance, even that type of relationship rears its ugly head.

The biggest issue I have with this novel is I felt no empathy towards these characters at all.  While Lynn shows a lot of character development throughout the novel, the others don't at all.  And it's not that they are hard to relate to.  If anything, they are so easy to relate to it's almost scary.  But there's just something lacking in the writing that makes me care and these characters and their outcomes.  This novel has a plot that could so easily have been heart wrenchingly unbearable, but it doesn't come out that way at all, which is why I didn't like it more.

The other big issue I have is the scene with the coyotes.  After all, we spend the entire novel with seemingly everyone running their mouth off about what a great shot Lynn is.  And throughout the novel, especially towards the end, McGinnis portrays her that way.  But with the coyotes?  How could she have missed?  I realize what it means to the plot, but I could not get over that pivotal moment throughout the entire rest of the novel, and it still bugs me a little now.

While hardly a thought provoking nailbiter, this novel does deliver a great, completely plausible future, completely terrifying world.  And the plot is packed with plenty of action and twists and turns to keep you reading.  It's also relatively short, which is an added bonus too.  So while I'm not gushing head over heels for it, I'll at least pick up the sequel from the library to check it out.

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