Vivian Apple at the End of the World was last modified: November 2nd, 2015 by Jenny Sawyer
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Posted on by Jenny Sawyer
Title: The Hired Girl
Author: Laura Amy Schlitz
Title: Bellweather Rhapsody
Author: Kate Racculia
Author: Katie Coyle
Genre: Fiction (YA, dystopian/apocalyptic)
Year published: 2015
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Length: 262 suspenseful, entertaining pages
Vivian Apple was sure that everything was about to get back to normal. So what if the crazy guy heading up her parents’ new crazy church was predicting The Rapture? Vivian refused to believe. All she had to do—she thought—was wait for the rapture date to come and go. Then everything would be just like it always was—before her parents got all absurdly religious.
Except the day after The Rapture, Vivian returns to an empty house, and two parent-shaped holes in the ceiling. Plus, everything’s getting very weird. Weird weather. Weird predictions of things to come. Weird behavior by the people who were “left behind” after the alleged Rapture. What’s a teenager to do? Vivian Apple decides to seize the days she has left. So she sets out on an epic road trip to discover the truth. But what she and her best friend and love interest find along the way may leave these brave teens with more questions than answers.
I’m pretty well dystopia-d out. Just trawl the archives of the 60second Book Review and you’ll see that I’ve read (and mostly disliked) many, many YA dystopias over the last several years. But while dystopias are out now, apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic literature seems to be on the rise. And while I can’t say that I’ve loved every piece of apocalyptic fiction I’ve read recently, I did enjoy Vivian Apple at the End of the World.
Well, I mostly enjoyed it. I had a few issues with the end, which I won’t give away. And it’s hard to know if these had to do with Vivian Apple being book one in a planned…duet? Trilogy? I don’t know the author’s vision. I do know, though, that some of the details that emerged at the end of this book caused me an eyeroll or two. But I’m hoping that some of those prove to be red herrings as the mystery of this book plays out over any planned sequels.
Besides, what I liked about Vivian Apple at the End of the World far outweighed the quibbles I had with the ending. For instance: the fun suspense of Vivian’s quest. The mysterious love interest. (Yes, every girl loves a good romance.) And most of all, this book’s clear (but not heavy-handed) message about embracing your own destiny. In the end, what propels Vivian forward is a dawning understanding that she can’t wait for anyone else to save the world; she has to do what she can, in whatever way she can. That’s a message that any teen—or adult—should take to heart.