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Book Review: Vivian Versus the Apocalypse by Katie Coyle

Vivian Versus The ApocalypseTitle: Vivian Versus the Apocalypse
Author: Katie Coyle
Series:  ~
Pages:  288
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Date of Publication:  5th September, 2013
Source: For review from publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.


My Thoughts:
Vivian Versus The Apocalypse was one of the two winners of the Hot Key Books Young Writers Prize 2012. It sounded so different to anything I'd read before, or even heard about before, and I find books about faith really interesting (as long as they're not too preachy) so I couldn't really pass it up. I read it during my work experience and devoured it in just two train journeys, and I can definitely say that it was a very worthy winner of the Young Writers Prize. Definitely.

It's described as post-apocalyptic but while I was reading it, it didn't really feel like it was, if that makes sense... I mean, it is one, but I thought it was kind of pre-apocalyptic at the same time, if that's even a thing (I'm aware that that makes NO sense but hopefully it does sort of, if you've read it at least?) There was a lot of build up to the second 'Rapture', where all Believers are taken and everyone else is left to wither away on Earth. It sounds like it'd be really sort of preachy, and a little bit extreme, and it is extreme I guess but it definitely isn't preachy, if that makes sense. I just don't want people to see the whole Church of America thing and think eurgh, that'll be really preachy. It's not! :)

I thought the characters in Vivian Versus The Apocalypse were really great. I really loved Vivian and I loved watching her grow up and mature as a person as the book went on. At only 288 pages, it's not very long, but Vivian's character development does not seem rushed or unrealistic at all. She's forced into a difficult situation and to grow up very quickly and she kept her cool and was mostly sensible. I also really liked Viv's best friend Harp, even though I'm sure she'd be that one girl in school that I really can't stand... Sorry Harp! However, in the book as we get to know her it becomes blindingly obvious that she's so broken and so alone that I couldn't help but feel sad to read about her. She wasn't wimpish or anything though - I admired her strength despite everything that was going wrong for her. She had a few wobbles but ultimately she was there for Vivian and she held it together, and I really loved the emphasis on the importance of reliable and strong friendships throughout the book, because that's something that is so important to me.

The plot is definitely very thrilling - it's a page turner! I thought that the idea of the Church of America was really well thought out and it was written brilliantly and in such a way that I could believe that it could actually happen. I needed to keep reading to find out what actually happened to all the Believers - did they actually get taken, or did something else happen? And was the second Rapture actually going to happen? Oh it was so frustrating, not knowing, but I think Katie was absolutely right to keep the reader hanging on until almost the very end to find out what actually happened and what's going to happen next. I wasn't expecting the ending at all and it's impossible to predict, which of course always makes the most exciting stories!

Overall I really enjoyed Vivian Versus the Apocalypse and I cannot wait to read more of Katie Coyle's work in the future! I definitely recommend you check it out, especially if you're looking for a fresh take on young adult apocalyptic fiction.

*Huge thanks to Hot Key Books for sending me this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

Comments

  1. I've heard so many good things about this - it sounds awesome, great review! :)

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