In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis

In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnisIn a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis
Series: Not a Drop to Drink #2
Genre: Post Apocalyptic
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-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.

Last year I loved Not a Drop to Drink because I really enjoy (post-)apocalyptic stories. I love the survivalist aspect of them, and the fact that humans are often a bigger threat than any natural disaster or virus. Originally, Not a Drop to Drink was going to be a standalone novel, and I think that would have been absolutely fine. McGinnis ended it perfectly. However, she obviously decided to expand the world and write a companion novel, and I must say that I approve of this choice!

I loved that we got to see Lyn again, and to see more of her now that she’s all grown up. McGinnis has done a really good job with her characterisation because even though Lyn has grown up, at her core she’s still the same person and she has remained a consistent character. She seemed so natural, and her feelings and her actions made so much sense after the events of the first book.

Lucy is the new protagonist and the point of view character for In a Handful of Dust. I must admit, I was a little hesitant at first because in this companion novel we see the world, and also Lyn, from Lucy’s eyes, and it’s drastically different from Lyn’s image of everything. Whereas Lyn is more closed off and hesitant to step out of her routine, Lucy is passionate about exploring and discovering what else lies outside her little settlement in the east.

Lucy provided a great contrast to Lyn throughout the novel, as the latter was distrustful and sceptical whereas Lucy was more open and innocent. She still had the skills necessary to survive in this world, but she was more willing to see the good in people instead of instantly declaring them the enemy and wanting to destroy the threat.

It is said that this book is more of a companion novel to Not a Drop to Drink than a sequel, and that is true… but only to an extent. I think it’s best to read Not a Drop to Drink before reading In a Handful of Dust because you would get a lot more out of this one if you do. I think someone who read Not a Drop to Drink first would be more understanding of Lyn and obviously her backstory. However, I don’t think it’s entirely necessary to read McGinnis’ debut first, and if you want to jump right into this book then you should go right ahead.

The world in In a Handful of Dust has been expanded immensely, due to the characters’ journey across what was once the USA to the west coast. Again, this was a fantastic contrast to Not a Drop to Drink because in that book everything is very closed off and centred around Lyn and her pond. This tied in nicely with both Lyn and Lucy’s personalities.

Loved the ending, but I am a little disappointed to hear that there isn’t going to be a third book. The ending is left very open in regards to a certain character, and I want to know what happens to them. It makes it seem like it’s going to be a sequel, but McGinnis says that’s not the case. Maybe the publisher will buy the third book. Or maybe the character’s adventure will come back in the form of short stories.

There is still a lot of this world to discover, such as the South, more about a certain new character, perhaps some more information of the water crisis as it was happening… there is so much potential there. But whatever, that’s not important. What is important that In a Handful of Dust is chilling, brutal, harsh, and one of the best post-apocalyptic stories I have ever read.

7 comments on “In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis

  1. ailynk September 12, 2014 1:56 pm

    that is a strong story, I wonder if it justifies post apocalyptic?

  2. Susan (Bloggin' 'bout Books) September 12, 2014 1:57 pm

    I loved NOT A DROP TO DRINK because while it was yet another YA dystopian, it had a unique feel. IN A HANDFUL OF DUST didn’t seem quite as original, so I was a little disappointed. Still, this is a great series!

  3. Mel September 12, 2014 2:14 pm

    I haven’t read the first one yet because someone wrote a HUGE SPOILER on Twitter and I saw it. I was angry (and I’m still angry a bit) so I haven’t read it yet >.< However, the plot sounds so interesting and it seems such a good series! It is a different point of view in the post-apocalyptic stories. I think I tried to read the first one and then read In a Handful of Dust, I will try to enjoy it as much possible as I can! "One of the best post-apocalyptic stories I have ever read." I'M IN!

    Wonderful review! ♥

  4. Teen Underground September 12, 2014 3:58 pm

    Thanks for the review! Sounds like an intriguing concept, so even though post-apocalyptic stories aren’t my favorite, I think I’ll give it a shot!

  5. Kat September 12, 2014 5:25 pm

    Yeah for post-apocalyptic books! I really liked this one too, possibly not quite as much as Not a Drop to Drink but I love how harcore Mindy McGinnis is with her plots. And I agree, it’s a companion novel, but it could also kinda sorta be a sequel, and I’d also recommend reading the first one first.

    Great review lady 😀

  6. Liza @ Reading with ABC September 19, 2014 2:08 am

    I finished reading this one last week and I really enjoyed it. It is just as raw and brutal as the first book and I found the ending to be too open ended as well, I need a bit more than that!

  7. Mel@thedailyprophecy September 22, 2014 7:15 pm

    I completely fell in love with this duology and I wouldn’t mind getting more of this world. The ending leaves so much potential open for more. It’s terrifying, brutal and I loved every part of it. I really liked Lucy and seeing Lynn through her eyes. I liked you could see their change over the years, but at the same time they are the characters we met in Not a drop to drink. Great review! :)

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