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!
I really want to read this one but I haven't read book one yet. I met Mindy in July and she was so cool. Sorry you didn't totally like it.ReplyDelete
Erin @ The Book Nut
You don't have to read book one to read book two, but book one was slightly better, in my opinion. That's okay, Erin! Thank you for commenting :DDelete
I loved Not A Drop To Drink myself but I agree that this one lacks a bit of an omph to it... I didn't connect and felt so much for Lucy as I did for Lynn, so since this is more Lucy's story... I was a bit more wishy washy about it.ReplyDelete
I definitely agree - I didn't feel for Lucy like I sort of did for Lynn. There was something missing!Delete
I totally agree with you about this one. I didn't love the first one either, and liked this one even less. Couldn't manage to care about the characters much :/ReplyDelete
Oh well, I do hope Mindy writes more, though! I like her writing style :)
Phew, glad I'm not the only one! But like you said, I'll be looking out for Mindy's future books, despite my neutrality towards her debut series. Thank you for visiting, Richa!!Delete
UGH. I didn't like book one either. But damn it. I have pre-ordered this one. Should I cancel? Because I think it will be boring. And I don't think I will read it. And NO ROMANCE? What the hell? Is upset, lol. I don't approve. Especially with what the author did with the romance in book one. Wtf. Not for me, hah. So yeah. I don't really think I will read this one.. but was planning on pre-ordering it. Should I not? Anyway. Amazing review Alyssa. <3 Thank you for sharing :)ReplyDelete
Honestly, I think you should cancel. This one wasn't better than the first one (and we both struggled with the first book). I guess to compensate for the heartbreak in book one, she sucked out all the romance in book two. Actually... there was romance, in the beginning of this book, but then McGinnis made the boy disappear (no spoilers!). If you read this one, you'll have to see what I mean. BUT. Honestly, it's not worth the pre-order.Delete
You're very welcome!
You have convinced me. I will not pre-order this one. Sigh. (I was going to pre-order it tomorrow with a bunch of other books.) But I will take it away, hah. That just.. SUCKS. I do not approve. I will instead look at better books, hih :)Delete
If you have an eARC, then I would read it. But to pre-order it might be wasting your money. There are better books out there, lady! Like - Lark Rising by Sandra Waugh. *pushes Lark Rising on Carina* :DDelete
I.. do not have the eARC. And I will NOT download it, hah. I don't want it :) And yesss. I am going to pre-order Lark Rising :) I'm also on the upcoming blog tour for it. <3 (will post a review. Just need to get a copy to read first, hah.)Delete
I HOPE YOU LIKE LARK RISING, CARINA!! It's one of my favorites of the year. A rare five stars from me!!Delete
I hate when I can't figure out what exactly didn't do it for me. At times I chalk it up to just not clicking with the authors style of storytelling and writing. And yah I wouldn't picture survival stories being ones you'd want to read over and over again.ReplyDelete
Right?! It's difficult to pinpoint, at times. Honestly, I was just not a fan of these particular survival stories...Delete
Thanks for visiting!! <3
I am glad I skipped this series. Is just doesn't appeal to me and it sounds like a middle of the road read. Good but not great. I want something in my dystopian that will blow me away.ReplyDelete
I'm happy that you're happy about that, Heidi! Definitely "meh", or "middle of the road", as you said. I agree - I want dystopia novels that pack a punch. This one did not, unfortunately, which is sad because I expected so much from these books!Delete
I surprisingly enjoyed the first book quite a bit. I say that it was a surprise because of the writing style. I listen to it in audio, which might be a bit different. I will still read this one, it was a surprise to me that it had a "sequel".ReplyDelete
That's great! And this one is a companion sequel - not quite a sequel, because you can read this one without reading book one. But you already read book one. I hope you like it, Liza!!Delete
I enjoyed the first one even though survivalist stories are not usually my thing. But I also am not such a fan of sequels that skip way forward in time, so I am in no rush to read this...ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics
I definitely think you should read it since you enjoyed the first one, but as you said, no rush... companion sequels aren't always the best. In this case, I didn't like reading about Lucy's story.Delete
You're so welcome - and thank YOU, Jen!!
Boo, Blogger just erased my comment! I'll write it over..ReplyDelete
Great review. I actually like the first book, despite its crazy ending. But, I thought it was a standalone and now I think it should have been one. I felt like nothing was accomplished in Handful of Dust that wasn't already conveyed by Drop to Drink. And the romance. The author is playing a serious game of bait and switch with those love interests.
AH! I'm sorry to hear that! It does that entirely too often -.-Delete
Technically, you can read these as standalone novels, but yes, I agree with you. There was almost no point to this book. And I hated the "romance", whatever you want to call it. Non-existent nothings, in my opinion.
Thank you for commenting (again), Ellen! I appreciate it :D
Hmm...I'll definitely need to be in the right mood to tackle one or both of these, but I think I'll still give Not a Drop to Drink a shot. Great review! :)ReplyDelete
"In a mood" sounds about right. Thank you, Kel!Delete