In a Handful of Dust

In a Handful of Dust

by Mindy McGinnis


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Fans of classic frontier survival stories, as well as readers of dystopian literature, will enjoy this futuristic story about an epic cross-country journey.

In a Handful of Dust is set ten years after the first novel, Not a Drop to Drink, as a dangerous disease strikes the community where teenage Lucy lives. When her adoptive mother, Lynn, takes Lucy away from their home and friends in order to protect her, Lucy struggles to figure out what home means. During their journey west to find a new life, the two face nature’s challenges, including hunger, mountains, and deserts.

New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant says Not a Drop to Drink is a debut “not to be missed,” and this companion title is full of Mindy McGinnis’s evocative, spare language matched with incredible drama and danger. In a Handful of Dust is perfect for fans of the Partials, Enclave, and Legend series.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062198549
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/08/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 5.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile: 870L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Mindy McGinnis is the author of Not a Drop to Drink and an assistant YA librarian who lives in Ohio. She cans her own food and graduated from Otterbein University magna cum laude with a BA in English literature and religion. Mindy has a pond in her backyard but has never shot anyone. You can visit her online at

Allyson Ryan is an Earphones Award-winning voice actress who can be heard in commercials, promos, animation, and audiobooks. She has extensive experience on stage and television. In New York, she acted in and directed more than thirty plays. Her television credits include roles on Eleventh Hour, Law & Order, and One Life to Live. She has also appeared as "Mom" in several television commercials. Advertising Age nominated her for a Bobby Award in the best actress category for her work as the Duracell mom.

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In a Handful of Dust 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Come on guys, writing a review for a book doesn't mean "write a total spoiler for anyone curious about the book"-people are jerks......jerks!!
bmamca36 More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not a professional reviewer. I love to read what humanity rises to in a dystopian or apocalyptic world. I marvel in a well laid out novel containing the character development and their conversations and the landscape descriptions that draw me in and make me part of the story. Mindy McGinnis has perfected this in "Not a Drop to Drink. " I followed these characters through their fight to survive and protect their property. It doesn't matter your gender to live the lives of these women. It's a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book as much as the last! Great read, kept me reading and then wanting more when it was finished.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JCasey31 More than 1 year ago
Love this book just as much as Not a Drop to Drink! Keep writing MINDY!!!
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
    I wanted to read In a Handful of Dust since I devoured Not a Drop to Drink. Ten years have passed and Lucy is a teenager now. She is a helper and unlike Lynn she is more of a people person, wanting to be around and surrounded. So when polio wipes through the community that Lynn and Lucy had accumulated since the first book. Lynn is still mourning Eli and the others that were the first that she let in. But Lucy is so full of hope, optimism, and she has this sweet romance with Carter.      It is neat to see Lucy grown up and the changes that were made in their camp. But when Lucy and Carter are both suspected of being the carrier to polio, and their lack of knowledge about such diseases, both are to leave the community before anything else could happen. Lucy leaves food for Carter as they travel after seeing him, and she so wants to find answers about the disease... If they can one day have a life together if the incubation period was shorter rather than something that never went away.      Lucy and Lynn meet a few people on the road and while Joss always rubbed me the wrong way, I loved Fletcher. He had such a kind and generous spirit. He helps the women with their horses, and gives them more news and a traveling companion part of the way to California, where there were rumors of a desalination plant as well as electricity. This dream really settles in Lucy's heart and Lynn supports her completely and they journey to California across the plains and mountains in hope of a brighter future and a community.       They had their fair share of hardships from altitude sickness, to being shot at, near drownings and lack of the amount of water and food they need. But things keep working in their favor at the end.       So again, the writing as well as Lynn's strength of character, her fighter's spirit, along with her rock solid determination to live as well as take care of Lucy. The plot kept me riveted and I didn't want to put it down. It did have some pretty disturbing twists in a community that took them in after a particularly bad time... and they see the lengths that some will go through in order to have water to drink and feel safe. It really blew my mind and I totally couldn't believe what I was reading.      Lucy grew so much in this one. She went from being afraid of everything and so dependent on Lynn to a girl with a fire in her heart and okay to start standing on her own two feet with the help of community.       While the Lucy and Carter thread was present, romance was never front and center in these books. I was a diehard and hoped for a way for them to eventually be together. That is why I don't give it a 5 star. It just didn't give me quite what I wanted as far as romance and the ending that I would want. I think that this ended better for me than the first one, but I still wanted a bit more closure. I have a lot of hope on Lucy's end, but Lynn I am so afraid of what happened with her and her decisions.      If there is another in this series I will jump at the chance to read it and I would love more in this world and find out what happens next and maybe they can have the romantic ending that I wish for them. The ending is laced with a lot of hope and promises of better times for the most part.  Bottom Line: Enjoyed their journey and Lucy's character growth.
kydirtgirl68 More than 1 year ago
Lucy has had a different time growing up at the pond than Lynn. Lynn made sure she grew up knowing she was loved, had friends and what it was like to care for others. Lucy is content at the pond but that is about to change. A disease is running wild and the community thinks it is coming from the pond or Lucy. Lynn and she have heard rumors of a better place in California so they decide to head that way. They have a long journey a head of them as the world is a scary place. Water is hard to find and survival is hard to do. Lynn is tough as every in this second book. I was glad to see she was sharing her feeling now and not closed off as much. She will do anything to protect Lucy and see that the girl makes it to safety. Lucy is a carefree girl at first. She likes to joke, have a good time and has friends and even someone special. When she has to face a change she meets it head on. She is to trusting at times and has to learn to toughen up. I was thrilled to et the chance to read this book. I was curious after the first book as what the rest of the world was like and now you get to see. There is deserts and mountains they have to cross and a lot of trials they didn't se coming. While some people they meet are evil and have their own plans for the two they do meet a nice stranger who helps them when it seems they need it the most. Lynn has to face the fact she does have a weakness and it comes out in this book. Lucy while keeping her sweetness learns to not trust everyone. There is all kinds of crazies in this book. People will use any means they can to survive and find water. The journey is a hard one and to be honest at times I wondered if both would make it or what they would find. It is a wonderful companion book and I liked getting to see how both Lynn and Lucy had changed. They are survivors above all else and you can see how much they love each other. If you like dystopian books you will like this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** In A Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis Book Two of the Not A Drop To Drink series Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books Publication Date: September 23, 2014 Rating: 3 stars Source: eARC from Edelweiss 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. What I Liked: I'll be honest - I didn't love the first book. In fact, I gave it three stars, just like I gave this one three stars. Both books are unique in the YA world, raw, survival-based, authentic... but neither really stuck out to me. I didn't really love or even really like either book, but I didn't really hate them either. I enjoyed the stories, but probably will never read them again (unfortunately). They're not stories you read and re-read and cherish and hold dear. They're brutal stories of survival, which isn't a bad thing, but maybe they just weren't *my* thing. This is Lucy's story. Ten-ish years later, Lynn and Lucy live by the pond, guarding it just as Mother and Lynn did. Lucy is more innocent than Lynn though, more good. When an outbreak of polio sweeps through the area, Lynn and Lucy leave Vera, Stebbs, and Lucy's best friend/crush Carter behind, with many sick people. Lucy wants to go to California, to see if Carter is sick, if he is a carrier, if he will die. Lynn wants Lucy safe. This book takes on a road-trip feel, which, honestly, I really wasn't feeling. It's kind of boring in that sense. Lynn and Lucy want to go from Ohio to California. I feel like a road-trip isn't the best plot out there. Yes, it apparently builds character in Lucy. But I feel like on the surface, events in the plot seem stupid. Like, Joss. That whole deal with Joss seems insignificant. Even Carter seems insignificant, even though he is the reason why Lucy is looking for California. One thing I really liked was McGinnis's use of third person. This book is written entirely in third person, with no one person's perspective or dual perspectives or anything. I really like third person narratives, so I was happy about this. I think I understand Lynn more in this book. I'm not saying I like her more (or less), but I understand her more. I'm not Lucy's biggest fan - she's not someone I would like in real life, probably. Basically, I think I enjoyed this book for the book, the story, etc. Meaning, it was a great way to pass my time, but I wasn't wholly interested or invested in the book. I wouldn't re-read either book in this series again. Not trying to be mean. What I Did Not Like: I don't even know what I didn't like. I can't pin it down. However, I know I wasn't really interested in this story, once the story got going. Even though I had problems with book one, this book wasn't like book one. I didn't like the road-trip feel to this book. It felt empty and made the book boring, in my opinion.  I didn't really like Lucy, which is a problem, because while this book isn't written in first person, she is still the protagonist. I didn't really like her in book one, and I don't like her much in this book. I did like Lynn more though.  No romance. There is no romance in this book. Not that there needs to be romance in every book. But this book was already boring enough... not having romance didn't help. Basically... I didn't like the structure of the plot, the nature of the story, the protagonist, the lack of romance. That's basically everything. Except that I DID enjoy the story while I was reading it, and I don't regret reading it! Would I Recommend It: Ehhh, nahhh. Lackluster, this one. It's not necessary to read book one to read book two. It's not necessary to read book two if you've read book one. Maybe I'm the cynical one, but I wouldn't really recommend this book. Or series. Unless you request them for review and in that case you should read/review them. Rating: 3 stars. Glad I read it, had a smidgen more positive feelings than negative feelings towards the book (though it probably doesn't seem like it). Won't be re-reading the series! But perhaps I will keep reading works by this author. Assuming they're not post-apocalyptic survival stories. They don't seem to be my thing.