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.
I was surprised by this book. Honestly, I wasn’t even planning on reading it, but it was $1.99 on B&N for my Nook, and a lot of the people I follow on Goodreads had read it and enjoyed it, so I went for it. And I am really glad I did! It was a fresh take on the teenage girl survival story. It’s not really a dystopian, but I also wouldn’t call it a post-apocalyptic either – it’s really, truly, a survival story. I loved how naive Lynn was about everything – a state her mom seemed to keep her in on purpose – and how she bravely admitted her cluelessness on things like sex, technology, and the general state of the world.
I also really appreciated, that though there was a romance element between Lynn and Eli, the central relationship is that of Lynn and Lucy. Lucy, the girl Lynn finds herself somewhat reluctantly taking care of, brings the sensitive side of Lynn to the surface. Lucy is the Jimminy Cricket to Lynn’s Pinocchio, teaching her the little things that make a person good or bad. With her mom, Lynn was simply surviving, but with Lucy, and the people Lucy brings into Lynn’s life, she learns to truly live.
I thought the book did well as a stand alone story, so I am kind of hesitant to move forward to the sequel, especially since a lot of time has gone by since the first one, and I have a feeling there is a change of voice. But, there was also some foreshadowing in the first book, and I am confident enough in McGinnis’ writing to think that it will be good – and maybe have the same stand-alone feel of the first one.
Speaking of McGinnis, I really enjoyed her writing, it was easy to follow and though there wasn’t much action, there was so much going on in the protagonist’s mind that I was never board. The central action of the story was Lynn’s emotional transformation, and it was done beautifully. Though the language was written in jargon – which I usually don’t really like, it worked. You picked up on the characters go-to phrases, the multiple contractions in a word rolled off the tongue and didn’t bog you down in unusual wording. Overall, I really enjoyed this story, and McGinnis’ style.
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