Review: In A Handful of Dust (Not A Drop To Drink #2) by Mindy McGinnis

Author: Mindy McGinnis
Series: Not A Drop To Drink #2
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Expected Publication: September 23, 2014


The only thing bigger than the world is fear.

Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach.

When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and the prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever, only to disappear in a handful of dust.

In a Handful of Dust is a book I went into reading quite reluctantly. To be honest, I wasnt thrilled with this being a companion instead of a direct sequel which in my opinion the first book certainly warranted, nor was I really keen on revisting characters and situations that frustrated me to no end while reading the first book. So why did I inevitably pick this one up?Call it curiosity, heck, call it me being a glutton for punishment but read it I did, and here's why:

 The characters- As with the first book I liked Lynn. Sure she's become a bit jaded over the years but her spunk, resourcefulness and love for Lucy is still the same. Speaking of Lucy, she is all grown up and that was bit of an adjustment at first, however, her more adult persona grew on me rather quick. I also liked seeing Vera and Stebbs again. It made me happy to see both of them still kicking.

 The World Building & Pacing- Since we already know the situation (ie no water, lawlessness), more time could be spent focusing on the characters survival and the dialogue within those situations. However, that didn't stop the characters from exploring parts unknown and from us being visually dazzled by all the people and places they come across. I'm pleased to say there were very few lulls within the story. In fact, I think I read this one in about half the time than I did with the first.

 The Villains - Although survival was enemy number one that didn't mean that all was peachy keen for Lynn and Lucy. In fact, one of the biggest villains turns out to be way more sick and twisted than even I guessed. Let me just say, what this character does is gross but even so, a small part of me was going, "huh, makes sense".

 Now even though I enjoyed In a Handful of Dust, it did still leave me feeling annoyed at a handful of things.

 First off, the water situation really bugged me. It is made clear early on that it does rain and yet, nobody has any rain catchment systems installed. Lynn even mentions running around with buckets and feeling odd not being able to do so while traveling. Really? Buckets? Surely the local Home Depot has rain gutters left and all those farms left abandoned have some tanks just perfect for rainwater collection. They don't even need electricity to run the pumps, a windmill would work just fine or hell even a hand pump would do. Boom problem solved. I just don't believe nobody at all would think to do this and that really, really bugged me.

 I also took issue with the "twist" 3/4 of the way through the story. It was what Id call (very uneloquently) a dick move and I just don't buy it being true. If it is true, then you know what? Carter is a dick as well and that is all I'm saying about that! However, my biggest issue with the story was the ending. Why the hell would someone go through all that pain and suffering, find basically paradise and then go, "Sorry dear, Id rather smell like swamp crotch and struggle for every drop of water because I'm to stupid to seek a better alternative rather than be here with you happy, healthy and safe." Who does that?! Oh yeah, Lynn. I literally wanted to throttle the character after reading the ending. It was just incredibly stupid for the reasons given. Honestly, until that ending I was teetering on calling In a Handful of Dust a redemption read but that ending was just too awful to allow me to do that.

 Overall, while Not A Drop To Drink paints a picture of a bleak world after a global catastrophe interspersed with what it means to live in a time where food, safety and shelter are fleeting. In a Handful of Dust follows what it means to survive and thrive in a world of uncertainty, where every moment may be your last so its best to make of it what you will while you can. Although In a Handful of Dust isn't perfect it was certainly worth the time I spent reading it and in the end, I'm o.k. with that. I am especially happy considering my overall doubts going into this read. 

With that being said, I'll be rating Not A Drop To Drink ★★★.

*Copy provided by publisher to review. All opinions are my own and I am not compensated in any which way for providing them. 

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