By: Melanie | September 10, 2014 | (8) Comments

Review: In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnisIn a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis
Series: Not a Drop to Drink, #2
Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Genres: Post Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, YA
Pages: 384
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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.

It always breaks my heart when I find out that a standalone which I loved and was satisfied with, has a sequel coming out. Not a Drop to Drink was one of my favourite science-fiction books of 2013 and when I found out that there was a sequel coming out this year, I was quite confused. I mean, what else do you want to write about? Just to clear up some things, this book is a mix between a sequel and a spin-off. Reading book 1 would be a wise choice, because as the stories are tied. We do still have the same old characters, but, we are also introduced to new characters as well as having a different major lead, which happens to be the little Lucy. But in this book, she’s already in her late teens.

In a Handful of Dust worked surprisingly well for a sequel that I was really iffy about. We are once again brought back into Lynn and Lucy’s world—a truly terrifying one where water is scarce and the conditions are poor and diseases are floating about everywhere. Mindy McGinnis excels at creating a realistic atmosphere which feels like it could really happen to us in the future. It’s a gritty and bleak story full of a few shocking facts that we as people right now can even relate to.

Once again, the highlight of Mindy McGinnis’ latest for me was her characters. Lynn is now around 27 years of age and it took me a while to get my head around that, because I always remembered her as the bad-ass teenager. Don’t worry, she’s still just as bad-ass though. Lucy, now a teenager happens to be more of the lead in this story. Lucy is very open-hearted but strong and a capable young lady—I really appreciated how these two characters were both kick-ass in their own way, and both their voices were very distinct. There wasn’t a moment when I got the two mixed up. Their mother-daughter relationship is another strong element for In a Handful of Dust. While they aren’t a blood bonded relationship, it was just as strong and true. Their dialogue is really sweet and and acts as comic relief–Lucy is always trying to lighten the situation whereas Lynn tends to be the serious one. They balanced out each other perfectly.

In a Handful of Dust also brings many interesting topics to the table. Lynn and Lucy go on a trek to California, and on the way, they meet many different types of people. It’s really interesting to see how people can be act so differently and cruelly when desperate for survival, and to what extent. The author brings up the fact that people are only living to survive, not living to actually live. 

Once again another fantastically crafted novel, Mindy McGinnis offers a book full of entertaining characters and a brutal world that I would never want to live in. That’s probably one of the reasons why I really enjoy it so much.

~Thank you Katherine Tegen for sending me this copy!~

4 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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8 Responses to Review: In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis

  1. Ha! I think the jump in age would be hard for me to grasp too. Great review! I think I need to read this series soon. 😀
    Lisa (Lost in Literature) recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West & The Boy Next Door by Katie Van ArkMy Profile

  2. I loved Not a Drop To Drink and I’m just sure about the need for another book. Aging the characters up is an intriguing idea, but … I don’t know why I’m so reluctant to try this one. Loved your discussion of sequel vs spin-off though. I never thought of it that way!
    Jen @ YA Romantics
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  3. Zoe N. says:

    I had the same reaction when I saw there was a sequel coming out – ha! 😉 I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it though – even if it wasn’t quite up to par wit NaDtD. I really like the sound of the relationship between Lucy & Lynn. Relationships between parents and children are so fascinating and wonderful, but they’re such a rarity in YA, so I’m so glad this one focuses on familial relationships vs. romantic relationships.

    Thanks for sharing Mel, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3
    Zoe N. recently posted…Of Metal and WishesMy Profile

  4. I NEED IT. I was actually insanely excited when I heard there was a sequel coming out! Although…I mean, it can be sort of disappointing. Standalones are like an endangered species these days. *sigh* BUT I’M STILL EXCITED FOR THIS ONE. I really loved book #1, and I know this is more of a companion…I just love Mindy McGinnis’ writing style too. Plus survival. I luuuurve survival stuff. I’m glad this was a 4-star for you anyway, Mel. I’m totally reading it at some point. 🙂
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…10 (Awesome) YA Authors You’ve Probably Never Heard OfMy Profile

  5. I’m feeling really iffy about this companion novel but I’m glad to see you enjoyed it despite sharing similar emotions prior to picking it up. I’m still not sure this is for me–I’m definitely going to be struggling to get my mind around the huge age jump!–but it seems worth it. Thanks for such a helpful review, Mel! 🙂
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  6. My opinion about standalone books getting a sequel is always mixed. Sometimes I liked them especially if I love the book so much. But if the book only got a 3-4 star rating, I think a sequel is not needed anymore.

    It seems the Mindy really know what she’s doing because this book clearly has something new to offer and that she’s not only dragging the whole story to make more money. Hahahaha. It always feels weird whenever you get to meet your beloved character all grown up. There’s always fear that he or she might not be the same person anymore. Glad to know that Lucy still retained her badassery. 😀

    Lovely review, Mel!
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  7. The first book was good enough for me to actually read the sequel. I find Lucy interesting, and I look forward to seeing their world in her perspective. I hope when this becomes a reality, people would choose to actually live alongside surviving.
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  8. Tanja says:

    Oh so this actually happens. Usually when I get to read a book which has great ending and everything figured out and then when sequel is announced and I get to read it I usually end up disappointed. So I’m really surprised to see you loved this one. Well not entirely as while reading your review I figured that this one is actually quite different from the previous one. Both seem amazing to me. Great review, Mel 🙂
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