In a Handful of Dust is the sequel to Not a Drop to Drink, a post-apocalyptic novel I enjoyed greatly. While this one is good, it's not quite as enthralling as the first installment. Let's recap.
In a Handful of Dust focuses on Lucy, not Lynn, and it's obvious that Lucy is still young in many ways, though we learn she's sixteen. Still living in Lynn's house, disaster breaks out when polio hits the small community and many children and adults die or are paralyzed. As the epidemic is studied by Lucy's grandmother, it becomes obvious that the outbreak is centered on either Lucy or her friend Carter as a carrier. Forced to leave the community, Lynn and Lucy trek across the country with a goal of California, which they've heard has desalinization plants for ocean water. Along the way, their path is filled with peril, not least of which arrives in the form of other people, including a horrifying stop in Las Vegas.
This novel seemed to move much more slowly for me than Not a Drop to Drink; there's a lot of action but I just wasn't as engaged for some reason. Not that it's not good by any means; the dangers the women face are real and brutal and there's never an assurance that they will reach anything worth the travel. I suppose I just got tired of Lynn's continuously dour demeanor and Lucy's rather childish actions. The final payoff is quite short and could have stood at least a couple more chapters of explanation and resolution. But overall this is a good book and it continues the story in a mostly satisfying way.