Review: In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on September 22, 2014 | 1 Comment

Review: In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnisIn a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis
Series: Not a Drop to Drink #2
Published by Katherine Tegen (9.23.2014)
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 384 pages
Source: Edelweiss

3.5 Stars

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.

My thoughts

In a Handful of Dust quoteI loooved Not a Drop to Drink. I gave it 4.5 heartbeats in my review (the link is below if you want to see it). I’m sad to say that this one didn’t quite live up to the first book. But, I did still enjoy it.

The pacing was a tad painful at first. I had a lot of trouble getting into it, despite how excited I was to read it. It didn’t start picking up until after 35%, but after that I was more on board for the story.

It was very interesting to see Lynn as a grown woman! She was still the same hard ass, stoic Lynn from the first book, though. She still had the “every woman for herself” and “it’s kill or be killed” mentality, too. The focus was mostly on Lucy, though. The difference between her and Lynn was kind of like whiplash from the first book. Lucy is very eager to learn about the world, very trusting of strangers, and kind of naive. The complete opposite of Lynn. To be honest, there were times when Lucy felt more like she was 13 or 14 rather than 16 or 17 because of her naiveté. With the difficult world she was living, on top of being raised by someone like Lynn, you’d think she’d be more mature…

I mentioned in my review of Not a Drop to Drink that it was a very character driven novel. All of the characters felt very real. I think some of that was lost somewhere along the way, because I didn’t connect to the characters this time around like I did before. I honestly think it was just Lucy, though. It’s not that she was a flat character or anything….I just don’t know. Maybe it’s simply that I didn’t like her. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Perhaps she just wasn’t quite as multifaceted compared to Lynn, who was a very complicated character.

I have to say that my favorite part of this book was the world building! It has such a dark and gritty feel to it, which was the selling point for me. I also love the concept – it’s eerily realistic and it’s easy to imagine something like that happening in the future! It’s a scary thought, really. All of our water sources depleted? Just think of all of the times we use water without a thought of how much we’re actually using. Even the simple things that we take for granted – washing our hands, rinsing things off, (cleaning paintbrushes!) swimming pools….it’s crazy to think about.

View Spoiler »

I can’t say I’m 100% satisfied with the ending. It made sense, but…still. It left me feeling somehow incomplete.

Overall Assessment

Plot: 3.5/5 
Premise: 5/5 
Writing style: 4/5 
Originality: 5/5 
Characters: 3/5 
World-building: 4/5 
Pace: 2.5/5 
Feels: 3/5 
Cover: 4/5 
Overall rating: 3.5/5

Previous books

not a drop

Jessi (Geo)

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One response to “Review: In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis

  1. Haha, yes, that thing you talk about the spoiler was horrifying! Imagine that you find out you’ve been drinking that stuff.. I love the dark and twisted atmosphere in this duology. I fell in love with it in Not a drop to drink and she managed to capture the same feeling in this story. I really liked seeing Lynn through Lucy’s eyes :)

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