Sunday, 12 October 2014

In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis: Review

Title: In a Handful of Dust (Not a Drop to Drink #2)
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Buy This Book: Amazon / Book Depository
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. (Goodreads summary.)
Bed Scared animated GIF
Me before reading this book.
I recently reviewed Not a Drop to Drink and it got 4.5/5 from me, I absolutely loved it. I was so mad at myself that I had owned it for months and hadn't bothered to get to it. I had been missing out. It's a beautiful story and so well written that it earned McGinnis a spot on my auto-buy list. I loved how much Lynn developed over the course of that novel, she showed such a large amount of growth, and all for the better. McGinnis introduced character after character that I came to care for and root for. She devastated me with the end of Not a Drop to Drink, but I was still desperate to read In a Handful of Dust and see what would happen to Lynn, Lucy and the others next. 

I didn't know what In a Handful of Dust was going to be about. I'd had a few guesses when I was about halfway through the first book, but then McGinnis went and gave me that ending and I knew I was completely wrong. This book actually takes place about ten years or so after the events in Not a Drop to Drink. And this time we get the story through Lucy's point of view, something I was quite excited to get but also nervous about. I knew I'd miss Lynn's, and I really did. 

After the end of Not a Drop I was actually really pleased we had skipped ahead ten years. I know I wouldn't have been able to deal with the characters emotions after the events of book one. To put it more accurately, I couldn't deal with my emotions after the events of book one. So it was nice to see them all years later, to see how each character has changed over that time. Lynn made me fall in love with her in book one, she's such a strong, determined character and I loved how she grew throughout that book. She's changed even more over those ten years, she's become a proper mother to Lucy and it was so touching to watch them together. At the start of Not a Drop to Drink, I could never have imagined that Lynn would be someone who'd help build a community, who'd surround herself with people that she could help. Lynn is just one of the strongest characters I have come across in a long time.

It felt a little strange to suddenly see Lucy all grown up, considering she was a five year old the last time I saw her. It's nice to see the woman she's turned into, so different to Lynn because her upbringing was so different. She brought out a softer, motherly side to Lynn that you'd never have expected. Lynn gave her a childhood so drastically different from her own, she made it so Lucy would never have to kill for water. She didn't want Lucy to have to spend her whole life just fighting to survive.

I really should have learnt my lesson from book one though, McGinnis wasn't going to leave them alone to be happy for long. An outbreak of polio leads to the deaths of many children and adults of their settlement. When Lucy is suspected of being the carrier who infected the others, she's made to leave and of course Lynn goes with her. They plan to make their way to California, where there's rumours of a large city that has desalination plants that mean water isn't something you have to fight for every day. I knew this wasn't going to be an easy trip, they would be tested and pushed to their limits and I was scared. I've learnt my lesson from book one, Mindy McGinnis can't be trusted because she will happily break my heart at any moment.

I'll confess that I didn't enjoy this book as much as the first, although I find it hard to put my finger on why exactly that is. I think having the book from Lucy's point of view instead of Lynn's didn't help. I like Lucy as a character, but I don't connect to her as much as I do with Lynn. Her story doesn't touch me in the same way that Lynn's does and there's just something about her that I struggle to connect with in this book. Lynn is still my favourite character and I really did miss her. This book also has similarities to Not a Drop to Drink, it has moments where the pace slows up quite a bit and then a lot of the action happens right at the end. The pacing just felt a little off in this,  and I was also sad to see us leave behind such brilliant characters and then not really see any new ones introduced.

The ending was my least favourite part of the book. It not only felt quite rushed but it leaves it open again to another sequel. I don't exactly mind that but I am not sure I would read the next book. I think it's partly because I really am still heartbroken about what McGinnis did to me in book one. I know that I can't really trust her to give the characters a happy ending and that scares me. I found this one enjoyable but it didn't affect me as deeply as Not a Drop to Drink did.

4/5 Butteflies

I still love McGinnis and her beautiful writing, but she scares me. I am not sure I could deal with reading another book in this series, she really has me worried about what she might put the characters through. I'm not sure I can handle it. Lucy is a character I like, I'm just not entirely sold on her point of view. I missed Lynn; wonderful, hilarious Lynn. Yes, she's in this book but it felt wrong to not be getting her story. The pacing was a little off in this one, it slows down a lot in places, which is understandable in a book where the characters are walking a large distance. But I then feel like the ending gets rushed and leaves it open again. Why can't McGinnis just give me one slightly happy, satisfying ending? WHY!?!


*I received a copy of this novel from the author/publisher/publicist via Edelweiss in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.

24 comments:

  1. I enjoyed Not A Drop because it surprised me so much! So it sounds like this book has that too, but the long walking portion sounds kind of dull. I'm not a huge fan of traveling stories. I may give this a shot though.

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    1. I think it's worth reading if you enjoyed Not a Drop, I just had a few issues with it. I think the main problem was that I was still heartbroken from the ending of the first book. It was jarring to suddenly jump so far into the future.

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  2. I was "meh" about NADTD and actually thought that was it. It felt more like a survival guide until the end. Then I got the arc for this on Edelweiss and jumped right in because I'm masochistic like that and wanted to know what the deal was. I liked this better because we actually ventured out from all things surrounding the pond. Such a vast contrast to the first book. I really loved this one and I'm glad that I read it.

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    1. I did enjoy it but I missed the characters from the first book. I loved the first book, I think it was more about Lynn as a character than the plot side of things. It's a very character driven book, where as this ventures out and deal with a lot more plot wise. I enjoyed it, I just missed a lot of elements from the first book.

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  3. Being in a major drought out here in CA and reading about viral disease crossing species and borders, has left me drained in the real world. Right now I think re-runs of You've Got Mail are about all I can handle on the emotional level. Her theme is right on, but I'm looking to escape.

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    1. Definitely would't be the book for you then. It's very hard to read because of how easily you can see it happening.

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  4. Oh goodness. I still don't know if I could handle book one's ending if it did that much to you. lol That's always a risk taking such a big time jump between books. That's awesome it worked out with this one :)

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    1. It really did, that ending destroyed me. I was still heartbroken whilst reading this one, which was probably why I struggled with it so much.

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  5. Aww, this review makes me want to get to Not a Drop to Drink sooner but omg everyone talks about their feels and I'm just not ready for that yet, oh no oh no.. However, wonderful review hunnuy, you've sold this series to me and I promise, I promise I will get to it at some point, okay? Okay! :D

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    1. You are ready for it! You need that kind of pain in your life ;) ;) ;) Get on it!

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  6. Ah, it's a shame about the rushed ending! But I am glad you liked the first book so much, and I am pleased that this one was alright as a sequel. Skipping time in a book can be a sensitive thing to do, but it sounds like this book does it right!

    http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2014/10/sisterhood-of-world-tag.html

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    1. It really can be but I think she pulled it off well. I was just a bit too heartbroken from the first book and that made reading this really hard.

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  7. I thought I would be sad this one jumped so far ahead but I wasn't, it really was great and I loved seeing where everyone was, especially after the sad event sin book one.

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    1. I didn't mind that it jumped so far ahead, but I was trying to recover from book one. That ending killed me! I also missed the characters from book one after we leave them behind, I wanted more of them.

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  8. This sounds like an emotional roller coaster. I read reviews about the first book and generally heard good things about it. I definitely want to check this one out. Thanks for the review.

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    1. I highly recommend the series. It's so well written and I love the characters.

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  9. I am really curious about this series. I've heard nothing but great things about it!! Your review has me even more excited to read it :) Interesting premise!! Great review, Charnell!!

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    1. I highly recommend it! It's so well written and it touches your feels and breaks your heart.

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  10. I can still barely deal with my emotions after reading book one. I'm excited to see where book two takes us and I'm glad it is 10 years in the future. I can't wait to get this from the library! I'm glad you liked it. I am also slightly nervous about reading it since this one seems to be just as emotional as the last one.

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    1. It really is such a brilliant series, but I am nervous about a third book. I don't know if there is any plans for one but I would be scared to read it. The first book completely broke my heart, I was not prepared for that ending at all.

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  11. "They plan to make their way to California, where there's rumours of a large city that has desalination plants that mean water isn't something you have to fight for every day."

    This is completely random, but can I just state the irony in that sentence? I live in California, and currently we're actually going through a really severe water shortage, so the fact that McGinnis chose California as the rumored water source is definitely a bit ironic.

    Anyway, I am really excited to read this! I absolutely adored the first one as well, and am really interested in seeing what the second one has to offer. I think McGinnis made a wise choice not making this a direct sequel and having it be a companion novel instead; and I'm definitely anticipating reuniting with all the former characters.

    Thanks for sharing and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

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    1. It really is, but they do actually have plans to have up to at least 17 desalination plants there so it does make sense in that way.

      My heart was so broken by the end of the first book so it made this quite hard. Although I did really enjoy it, I did miss some of the old characters.

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  12. "I still love McGinnis and her beautiful writing, but she scares me."
    LMAO. Laughing so muchhh. XD
    I am definitely getting round to this. <3

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    1. She really does scare me, she can't be trusted not to break my heart and put my favourite characters through hell.

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