Genre: Dystopian / Apocalyptic
Synopsis: A chilling vision of a contemporary USA where the sinister Church of America is destroying lives. Our cynical protagonist, seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple, is awaiting the fated ‘Rapture’ - or rather the lack of it. Her evangelical parents have been in the Church’s thrall for too long, and she’s looking forward to getting them back. Except that when Vivian arrives home the day after the supposed ‘Rapture’, her parents are gone. All that is left are two holes in the ceiling…
Viv is determined to carry on as normal, but when she starts to suspect that her parents might still be alive, she realises she must uncover the truth. Joined by Peter, a boy claiming to know the real whereabouts of the Church, and Edie, a heavily pregnant Believer who has been ‘left behind’, they embark on a road trip across America. Encountering freak weather, roving ‘Believer’ gangs and a strange teenage group calling themselves the ‘New Orphans’, Viv soon begins to realise that the Rapture was just the beginning.
200words (or less) review: Vivian Versus The Apocalypse definitely stands out.
At the beginning of the book Vivian and her best friend Harp are having an end of world party. Come the morning a slightly hung over Vivian returns home to find her parents gone. The world didn’t end but thousands of believers have disappeared and no one knows where.
It’s not surprising that Katie Coyle is the 2012 winner of the Hot Key Books Young Writers Prize because this is such a strong debut. I was impressed how vivid and convincing the world-building is. I also really liked the characters, Vivian is easy to care about and has great character development but it was actually Harp that won my heart.
There a couple of things that you need to let slide, which I can’t really explain without spoilers but in the end you don’t mind because you’re so convinced by the characters. The ending will certainly stay with me and I know I’ll be reading more books by Katie Coyle in future.