Review 290. Mindy McGinnis – In a handful of dust.

20359647Title: In a handful of dust.
Author: Mindy McGinnis.
Pages: 384.
Published: September 23rd 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books.
Sort: Part #2. Not a drop to drink.
Review part #1. Not a drop to drink.
Source: I received an ARC from HarperCollins international.
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.

This book is pitched as a companion novel to Not a drop to drink, but I recommend to see this one as a sequel. The story relies on information you get in Not a drop to drink and I think it will make this story much more impressive if you know what happened to the characters in the first book.

Lucy grew up in the care of Lynn, her adoptive mother. Lynn has been thought all her life to take care of their pond, the only way they can survive in this world where water is scarce - until she and Lucy are forced to leave the only safe world they know. Lynn has heard rumours about a desalinization plant at the coat in California and she and Lucy set out on a dangerous journey across the land to reach that destination.

This book has the same tense and creepy atmosphere as Not a drop to drink. The only difference is that the situation is even worse, because now they have to survive without their safe haven. Their adventure across the country would have killed me. They have to be careful and are always aware of the potential dangers that surround them. I was constantly fearing for their lives, waiting for something to happen. There are some gruesome situations, which was perfect to show the desperation and how that forces people to do horrible things.

It’s obvious Lynn’s mother taught her well; this girl has a crazy talent for survival. I admire her and how she finds a solution for all their problems. There is something breakable about her though, despite her cold and strong behavior. This is the Lynn I met in Not a drop to drink, but it’s also clear she has grown over the years. Her bond with Lucy is heart-warming. These two met under strange circumstances and it’s clear they care a lot for each other.

I liked that this book focuses on Lucy and it’s written from her POV in third person. Her soft and somewhat naive heart have an interesting effect on Lynn – something we also saw in Not a drop to drink. It’s good that Lucy never changed and that she strays true to her real nature: that no matter what Lynn says, she’s always able to see the good things in humans.

There is one thing that disappointed me and that’s the lack of romance. I know! This is coming from me. Mindy touches the subject very briefly, like in Not a drop to drink, but I felt it should have played a more prominent role in this book or she should have kept it out of the story completely. It felt a bit like a plot hole, as if she sometimes forgot about it and then suddenly remembered it was there. She could have handled it with more care, but it also shows that she can be brutal and isn’t afraid to put her characters into misery.

The ending is satisfying, but also made me wish she was planning to write another book about Lynn and Lucy. I’m not done with them.


  1. Oh YES, I'm so glad you liked this one!! I'm really extremely excited about it and I just hoped it would live up to my expectations. I can't wait till I get to read it. :) Maybe the author will write a 3rd??! I mean, this one came out of the blue, right?!

  2. I've been put off dystopias for a while but I always see positive reviews for this duology/not really duology. I just want to read a dystopia that is true to it's genre--full of that tense atmosphere, surrounding and desperation. Perhaps I should give these a try. Great review, Mel!

    Jess @ My Reading Dress

  3. Great review Mel. <3 I'm glad you enjoyed this book so much :D I have decided not to read it, as I didn't like book one :p and I need romance. When even you say you wanted more! ACK. Then I know I will have issues with it, lol :) But glad you loved the rest. <3 thank you for sharing sweetie :)

  4. OOH. I've had a copy of Not a Drop to Drink for a long time now, but didn't feel too much of an urge to pick it up until now. Between seeing your review of it and this one, I need to try these out! I like that these are more companions than a direct sequel, too, but I'll definitely read the first book first. Shame about the romance--I always want more! :) Great review, Mel!

  5. I was devastated by the ending of the first book and was worried a bout this one but it looks like I have nothing to worry about! :D I also really liked the first book so I'm pretty sure I will like this one just as much, the dynamic between Lynn and Lucy seems so great.

  6. Good thing to know that I should read book one first, though that now means that it is likely to get pushed off.. for a while D: One of these days I'll read both though! Maybe for a read-a-thon :D

  7. Oh, this book sounds so good, Mel! I've seen Not a Drop to Drink everywhere but it doesn't really convince me to pick up this book. However, your review definitely makes me wish to pick this ASAP! I'll take your advice and read Not a Drop to Drink before I pick up this companion novel. I hope it's as good as you said! The bond between Lynn and Lucy sounds very heartrending. <3

    Amazing review, Melanie! :)

  8. it was a little weird reading about Lynn, ten years into the future, but I don't think Mindy ruined her character at all which I loved. Yes Lucy and Lynn had such a heartwarming relationship, they are quite different but work together so well.

    Fabulous review, Mel! <33

  9. I haven't read a dystopia in awhile, might check this series out!

  10. That is SO great to hear! I wasn't a big fan of the first one so even though THEY say it's a companion, you say it's more of a sequel so I might have to go back and finish the first. This duo sounds enjoyable as does the book. Too bad for the romance though :)

  11. Now that you mention it I completely agree about the plot hole. The romance started to play a role and then just disappeared. I do remember thinking while I was reading when is he going to come back into the picture... then bang, you find out the news. I do give her great though for her fearless writing! Great review Mel!

    Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

  12. Weeee! After reading your review for the first book, I was pumped to see this one already up on the blog! And I appreciate you saying this reads more like a sequel and less like a companion novel. I'd definitely read these in order then (not that I wouldn't have anyway haha!) The fact that they leave their safe haven in this one sounds like it heightens the tension and increases the steaks! The character sound like they evolved too from the first book which is always a plus. Fantastic review Mel, as always ^^ xx

  13. I admit that I enjoyed this one, but less than the first. I think that's partly because my heart was still breaking over the ending of Not a Drop. It broke even more when I saw that Lynn hadn't ever really moved on from that in some ways. I really loved it, but I did miss having the story from Lynn's POV. I love Mindy McGinnis's writing and character development, I'll be reading whatever she releases next.

  14. So I've read Not a Drop to Drink and was pretty impressed for the most part. I, crazy fangirl, am such a huge fan of dystopians, so I try to read as many as I can. I'm always looking for ones with new concepts and ideas! This series is very survival-type, as I can see. I'm really glad to see that you loved this one, Mel! I LOVED LYNN! I'm super excited to see what Lucy will have in store for me. Awesome review!


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