Title: Vivian Apple at the End of the World
Author: Katie Coyle
Publisher: Houghton Miffling Harcourt Books for Young Readers
Publication date: January 6, 2015
I’ve been looking forward to reading Vivian Apple at the End of the World for ages! I’ve heard nothing but good things, and of course the cover is gorgeous. (Plus, I really needed a “V” title to fill out that slot in my Alphabet Challenge.)
A brief summary of the book from Amazon:
Seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple never believed in the evangelical Church of America, unlike her recently devout parents. But when Vivian returns home the night after the supposed “Rapture,” all that’s left of her parents are two holes in the roof. Suddenly, she doesn’t know who or what to believe. With her best friend Harp and a mysterious ally, Peter, Vivian embarks on a desperate cross-country roadtrip through a paranoid and panic-stricken America to find answers. Because at the end of the world, Vivan Apple isn’t looking for a savior. She’s looking for the truth.
First of all, I have to say that this is one of the most ingenious YA stories I’ve ever read. Crazed religious fanatics sweep America as the world is about to end, and one set of teens decides to take the apocalypse into their own hands and brave the elements – and the converted – to try to find out what really happened to their families? Yeah, count me in.
Of course, I couldn’t fall in love with every aspect of the novel. Hurricanes and earthquakes sweep the nation, there are snowstorms in May, and crazy fog in California – which, when you find out what’s happening in America at the end of the novel, doesn’t make sense. Also, Viv & co. reach one specific town and literally nothing has changed about it. If the world was ending, wouldn’t there be a greater reaction? There’s never any mention of widespread panic to the extent you’d expect, or looting, or… well, it just doesn’t seem to mesh, even in this alternate/near-future universe. Also, almost every adult is ridiculous/crazy/over-the-top, which was just annoying.
But the characters were so compelling that in the end, I was able to overlook the (minor) annoyances and (many) plot holes. Vivian is kick-ass, even though it’s a constant struggle for her not to fall apart while the world is doing so around her. Her best friend, Harp, is equally lovable, the more “rebellious” of the two friends, and one who actually serves a purpose rather than just being a sidekick. Peter is cool, too, but less so than the ladies of the book. Together, these three and the cohorts they run into along the way made me actually, literally laugh out loud too many times to count.
I’m really looking forward to seeing where Katie Coyle takes the story next, so I hope the sequel gets published soon. If you like slightly unbelievable comedy with a heart of near-gold, I’d recommend this one.
4 out of 5 stars.