Before your eyes glaze over at the word “apocalyptic” just wait. It’s good. Really. Yes, I know the genre has been way overdone the last several years. And I myself have strategically avoided many books described as such because I was just that burnt out on end of the world stories. But this one caught my attention.
A virus has wiped out most of the population. Only a handful (relatively speaking) of survivors remain, trying to forge their way in a new world. But there’s no scavenging to be had in this story. You see, humankind was wiped out so quickly that unlimited resources remain for the survivors. Grocery stores are fully stocked, gas tanks are full, houses and cars are available for the taking. But there’s one thing that isn’t as easy to come by…
“Sugar” is nineteen, without family, and a loner at heart. So a world without people suits her just fine. As a diabetic, however, a world without the insulin she needs to survive is a death sentence. There’s enough for the immediate future, but what about after that? So she sets out on a journey to save herself. And she’ll need the help of others along the way.
Parts of this story, heck most of this story, were so unbelievable. But isn’t that what fiction is? If I’m being completely honest, the main character wasn’t even particularly likable due to her lack of emotion. For some reason, though, I kept reading. And at the end of the book I realized that it really was a pretty good story.
So go ahead, suspend your disbelief and your sense of rationality for the duration of this story. It’s just different enough to be enjoyable.
Buy It Now: Sugar Scars
Readers of post-apocalyptic and/or dystopian stories must suspend their disbelief for the duration of most of these stories. Plague-induced flesh-eating zombies, alien or cyborg invasion…these make great stories but are a little too far “out there” for the average reader to truly believe. Scarcity of clean drinking water, however, is something that is far too believable.
Not a Drop to Drink takes us into the lives of Lynn and her mother as they try to survive in a harsh, futuristic world where safe, clean drinking water is a commodity worth killing for. Their primary focus is to protect their pond at all costs. Cut off from the rest of the world, they rely on nobody but themselves. Lynn, in fact, cannot recall ever talking to anyone besides her mother. She’s a tough survivor who knows what has to be done when faced with danger. After all, her mother has raised her that way. But when tragedy strikes, Lynn is forced to let down her guard and allow others into her life. This comes in the form of their long-standing neighbor as well as strangers Eli and young Lucy. Of course Eli becomes the love interest. Isn’t that a requirement for a young adult novel? Still, the romance is more of a sideline and doesn’t distract from the inner toughness and maturity that Lynn exhibits throughout the story. It was also nice to see her transformation from a hard-as-nails, unemotional teenager into someone who truly cares for others and puts their well being before hers.
I enjoyed this book tremendously, and in large part because it felt more plausible to me than most of the other books of this genre that I’ve read. Clean water to drink is something that most of us take for granted. But how long would we be able to survive if our supply was limited? What measures would we take to protect what little we had? And what would we be willing to sacrifice for the benefit of others? While I won’t pretend that this was a particularly deep or thought-provoking story, it did make me think “what if” a bit more than others have recently. This book has great character development and the author provides a well-described environment that helps the reader understand why certain tough decisions had to be made. This one is a well-written, strong story!
Buy it Now: Not a Drop to Drink