Genera: Dystopian Sci-fi/Speculative Fiction
Subjects: survival, drought, post-apocalyptic, water, Ohio
Age/Grade Level: Teen
Length: 309 pgs.
List Price: $17.99
Publisher: HarperTeen: Katherine Tegen
Summary/ product description: “Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.
Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn't leave at all.
Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.
But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….
With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own.”
My Review: This book was a scary, realistic, near-future thrill ride. So parts of the book were fast and exciting, and there were some very gruesome parts too. I felt near the beginning the story was kind of slow. Lynns mother did have a lot of survival advice, though. This book definitely will teach you about survival in a drought environment. Cholera was mentioned. It’s true that you shouldn’t drink water from the wild unless you boil it first to kill the bacteria. I learned that from Bear Grylls in Man vs. Wild.
The issue I had with this book was the 3rd person narration. Also the slow plot. I feel like so much more could’ve happened in the story. Especially if the was a sequel, which there won’t be. But there could have been adventure. Instead they mostly defended the pond and hunted. The disruptions in their routine are what make the story so interesting. The setting is a very secluded farmhouse in the southern Ohio countryside.
There’s very few characters, which makes it easier to know who’s who. The character development is pretty good. I really think Lucy is the most interesting character. She’s only five and has a personality that reminds me of Ellie from Ashes by Isla J. Bick. I love it when there’s little kids or siblings in books. The main character usually cares so much about them and would do whatever they could to save them. I’ve seen this a lot in dystopian YA.
There was a little romance in the second half of the book between Eli and Lynn. Eli, who’s 16, wasn’t survival savvy like Lynn. He used to live in the city and is very new to fending for his life. Lucy is his niece/his older brother’s kid. He teaches Lynn about things he knows, and she teaches him survival skills. I liked the scene when he explains what flirting is. Also, I really like Lynns neighbor, Stebbs. He’s at least 40 and kind of like the father figure that Lynn was missing out on since he father left Lynn and he mom before she was born. Stebbs is like a helpful uncle. Lynn hasn’t spoke to him in person in years. He helps her out in her time of need and becomes a comfort. He’s crippled in one leg, but can still help with hunting deer and storing food. I really liked the part when he talked about water-witching or dousing. I don’t think it’s genetic like he said. Anyone can do it and I’ve seen many demos of it on TV on documentary shows about Stonehenge.
I didn’t like how this book ended. It wasn’t happy or nicely wrapped. It also didn’t leave much room for a sequel. I kind of wanted to cry, but didn’t. I had the feels, but not very strong ones. I was kind of angry and wanted more. I recommend this book if you liked Ashfall by Mike Mullin, Ashes by Isla J. Bick, The Water Wars by Cameron Stratcher, The 5th Wave, In The After by Demitria Lunetta, The End Games by T. Michael Martin, Life as We Knew It and other survival/post-apocalyptic YA books. This book also reminded me of NBC’s Revolution. I kept picturing Lynn as the character Charlie, and her mom as Charlie’s mom. Also, if you enjoy Man vs. Wild, read this.
Cover Art Review: I love this cover so much and I have a lot to say about it. The yellow and green hue contrasts well with the bleak grays. The teal title looks like it has depth in the landscape. I love that it’s stacked. I love the color scheme in general. I like the satin finish/texture of the dust jacket. I love how the pond and the title have a gloss finish. The landscape is very cool and dystopian. The girl standing on the roof of the house fits the story. Sadly the house in the book is much bigger (2 floors, plus an attic and a basement). The scenery looks too much like a desert in New Mexico rather than a wooded countryside in Ohio. I’m also not to crazy about the typeface used for the author’s name. It should be sanserif instead of an oblique serif.