In A Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis
Book Two of the Not A Drop To Drink series
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
Summary (from Goodreads):
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 this companion to Not a Drop to Drink, Mindy McGinnis thrillingly combines the heart-swelling hope of a journey, the challenges of establishing your own place in the world, and the gripping physical danger of nature in a futuristic frontier.
What I Liked:
I'll be honest - I didn't love the first book. In fact, I gave it three stars, just like I gave this one three stars. Both books are unique in the YA world, raw, survival-based, authentic... but neither really stuck out to me. I didn't really love or even really like either book, but I didn't really hate them either. I enjoyed the stories, but probably will never read them again (unfortunately). They're not stories you read and re-read and cherish and hold dear. They're brutal stories of survival, which isn't a bad thing, but maybe they just weren't *my* thing.
This is Lucy's story. Ten-ish years later, Lynn and Lucy live by the pond, guarding it just as Mother and Lynn did. Lucy is more innocent than Lynn though, more good. When an outbreak of polio sweeps through the area, Lynn and Lucy leave Vera, Stebbs, and Lucy's best friend/crush Carter behind, with many sick people. Lucy wants to go to California, to see if Carter is sick, if he is a carrier, if he will die. Lynn wants Lucy safe.
This book takes on a road-trip feel, which, honestly, I really wasn't feeling. It's kind of boring in that sense. Lynn and Lucy want to go from Ohio to California. I feel like a road-trip isn't the best plot out there. Yes, it apparently builds character in Lucy. But I feel like on the surface, events in the plot seem stupid. Like, Joss. That whole deal with Joss seems insignificant. Even Carter seems insignificant, even though he is the reason why Lucy is looking for California.
One thing I really liked was McGinnis's use of third person. This book is written entirely in third person, with no one person's perspective or dual perspectives or anything. I really like third person narratives, so I was happy about this.
I think I understand Lynn more in this book. I'm not saying I like her more (or less), but I understand her more. I'm not Lucy's biggest fan - she's not someone I would like in real life, probably.
Basically, I think I enjoyed this book for the book, the story, etc. Meaning, it was a great way to pass my time, but I wasn't wholly interested or invested in the book. I wouldn't re-read either book in this series again. Not trying to be mean.
What I Did Not Like:
I don't even know what I didn't like. I can't pin it down. However, I know I wasn't really interested in this story, once the story got going. Even though I had problems with book one, this book wasn't like book one. I didn't like the road-trip feel to this book. It felt empty and made the book boring, in my opinion.
I didn't really like Lucy, which is a problem, because while this book isn't written in first person, she is still the protagonist. I didn't really like her in book one, and I don't like her much in this book. I did like Lynn more though.
No romance. There is no romance in this book. Not that there needs to be romance in every book. But this book was already boring enough... not having romance didn't help.
Basically... I didn't like the structure of the plot, the nature of the story, the protagonist, the lack of romance. That's basically everything. Except that I DID enjoy the story while I was reading it, and I don't regret reading it!
Would I Recommend It:
Ehhh, nahhh. Lackluster, this one. It's not necessary to read book one to read book two. It's not necessary to read book two if you've read book one. Maybe I'm the cynical one, but I wouldn't really recommend this book. Or series. Unless you request them for review and in that case you should read/review them.
3 stars. Glad I read it, had a smidgen more positive feelings than negative feelings towards the book (though it probably doesn't seem like it). Won't be re-reading the series! But perhaps I will keep reading works by this author. Assuming they're not post-apocalyptic survival stories. They don't seem to be my thing.
Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!