Batty About Books presents
Not a Drop to Drink
by Mindy McGinnis
by Mindy McGinnis
If you've missed any discussions, check out Cover Appeal, Part One, and Part Two below. Also, feel free to stop by the Batty About Books Facebook page! Join the discussion!
Now here we are at the end. Maria's thoughts are in purple. For her full discussion, check out Maria's Melange (@mselke01).
Part Three - pgs 196 - end
There were several unexpected things that happened in these final pages. And since these are final pages, they are spoilery. I decided to write them anyway but I changed the font color on most though I left one intact but labeled, so that you can skip them if you want. “If you do want to read them, highlight the text for the full effect. As I mentioned on Goodreads, this is one of those rare books that would have benefited from more pages.
Maria: Ahhh, good plan. I struggled with how to talk around the spoilers. And I agree - I wanted a lot more development of a variety of plot points during this section.
Vera and Lucy and Neva
As we knew she would, Grandma arrived. The way she arrived was wholly unexpected to me though. I expected more of an entrance and even though she arrived with the men from the south. And did I know she was Neva’s mom? Why was I thinking it was Eli’s mom? She did not add anything to the story for me, not sure why we needed her as they could have gotten medicine without her.
There’s an undercurrent of sexual assault that comes to the surface several times throughout the book but particularly in this last part. It was counteracted, somewhat, by Lynn and Eli’s relationship. I found it nice of Stebbs to take Lucy for a spell so that Eli and Lynn could have some time alone. This gave Lynn a chance to be a somewhat “normal” teen-aged girl for a change. But, the progression to the cot seemed un-Lynn-like to me. She had just wondered if he was going to try to have sex with her (p.209 ) then she didn't understand why he would need to take a bath in a snowbank. (p. 214) If the cot was as small as it was described (he carries it to the stream house later) and they were wrapped in an embrace...well.
Maria: Yes, I found this confusing as well. I’d be curious to know if teens would find it more understandable. It’s been a GREAT many years since I teetered on the edge of “knowing but not really understanding”.
Spoiler - I didn't understand why the men wanted Neva and not Lynn. We had already been told how pretty she was and they seemed to be running a trade shop, why didn't they take her too? Despite the father.
Maria: Exactly. This was a spot I found underdeveloped as well. Even with that we find out later, I found this jarring. I talked about the assault aspects on my post as well. I found it so disturbing, and I want to believe it’s unrealistic. But with what is going on in Nigeria right now - that we think all those girls were kidnapped and sold into “marriages” (really sexual slavery) - it feels all too likely. In a world where societal niceties break down, this is the kind of horror that real people actually do.
1st UNEXPECTED THING - SPOILER
I figured Neva had something crazy up her sleeve, we’d been told often enough that she wasn't right in the head. But, I did not expect her to kill herself. Especially so soon after being reunited with her mother and knowing that Lucy was sick. I I would have expected her to believe in Lynn and Stebbs a little more and see if they would rescue her. I thought she would find a way to let them know where she’d gone, leave a trail somehow.
Maria: YES. I know we've had the build up of her being a bit unstable, but this event still felt unlikely.
2nd UNEXPECTED THING - SPOILER
Lucy’s father is alive. I guess I should have expected that since he was mentioned quite often. But, in my head, he would not have been in great shape. He was also supposed to be crazy, so I pictured him alive but noticeably mental. But, he was ruling a town. Making trades. And, like no time had ever passed, building a dam. He knew she was alive and how she was living yet offered no assistance.
Mara: I think I would have liked this plot twist if it didn't feel so…. twisty and abrupt. Yes, I think there were bits leading up to this point that let us know that her father is important to the story. But because the ending was so quick, I didn't feel like it carried through well. More development with her father might have made me like this part better.
3rd UNEXPECTED THING - SPOILER
Eli. Unbelievable. I thought maybe Stebbs or Lucy but Eli? I was for sure Lynn and he would make it to the next book and possibly get married. Raise Lucy. “...unable to look away from the path of the only bullet she had ever fired with love in her heart.” (295)
Maria: I know, right?!? I mean, on one hand her actual action fits with what we know about her. She’s decisive, and she doesn't let emotion get in the way of what needs to be done. On the other hand, I was angry about this loss. I expected her to lose someone at the end… but NOT this character!
4th UNEXPECTED THING - SPOILER
She shot her father in the forehead.
Maria: I did like how she phrased her decision. I think that -- again -- more development in this part of the book would have given this choice greater impact.
EpilogueI would love to know how old Lucy is now. I've always wondered how Lauren was able to get all the furniture, including a piano, into the attic. When I picture an attic, I can’t see a piano going up the steep stairs, let alone one being carried alone. I’m so happy that Lynn found the “safety of community”. It tempts me to read the second book.
Maria: I put the description of the companion novel on my post. I was hoping I’d get to hear about the city - but instead the book jumps ahead in time to describe this community. I’m interested enough in the characters that it will go on my list to read in the future.