In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis

Title:In a Handful of Dust
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date:September 23rd 2014
Pages: Hardcover, 384 pages
Source: ARC, traded through YA Book Exchange

Summary from Goodreads:
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.

In this companion to Not a Drop to Drink, Mindy McGinnis thrillingly combines the heart-swelling hope of a journey, the challenges of establishing your own place in the world, and the gripping physical danger of nature in a futuristic frontier.


WOW, McGinnis did not disappoint, I really enjoyed Not a Drop to Drink and was thrilled to hear she was writing a companion novel.  In a Handful of Dust brought all the intensity, fear, and strong characters from the first book and added a life threatening adventure.

Lucy and Lynn had to embark on a cross country trek to run from disease and to find a safer water source. The two strong willed and independent women headed to California on foot.  Just thinking about it is stressful; the two had all the water, food, and supplies they could carry,  I think one of my favorite aspects of the story is the strength of both Lynn and Lucy.  The character development for not only the two main characters but also the secondary characters was fantastic.  As reader I could feel the worry and stress that they faced while holding my breathe and rooting for their success.

Romance takes another back seat in this companion novel, even though there are hints of some romance it fades rather quickly.  The focus of the plot is the survival and overall journey to a better place.  Similar to Not a Drop to Drink, the entire premise of having no safe drinking water is a scary futuristic thought; In a Handful of Dust does not hide the dark depths individuals will go for survival.

The author is not afraid to take risks and make some hard/tough decisions.  While I cannot say that I was happy about all the choices made, I can respect and appreciate the unexpected plot points.  If you enjoyed the first book or are interested in reading a brutal story of survival, I highly recommend this book!

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