Review: Vivian Versus the Apocalypse by Katie Coyle

Review: Vivian Versus the Apocalypse by Katie Coyle Vivian Versus the Apocalypse Series: Vivian Apple #1
on September 5th 2013
Pages: 287

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.

**Note: This book will be published in the U.S. as Vivian Apple at the End of the World on January 6th 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers**


Have you ever wanted to like a book so much that you actually tried to pretend you did? Like during the actual reading of the book, you feigned enthusiasm, ignored things that drove you crazy? I gave that a solid effort, but in the end, I just couldn’t. I am sad about this, just so we’re on the same page. It wasn’t all bad either, it just simply wasn’t as amazing as I’d hoped.

What I Liked:

  • Cults. Guys, religious cults are my jam. I am obsessed with them, and their origins, and how and why people end up in them. Fascinating stuff! This book does delve into that a bit, which was quite good.
  • Road Trips. Um, I love road trips. I once drove from Pennsylvania to Las Vegas for funsies. Road trips are epic. So when these crazy apocalypse pals grab a car and roll west, I am all for it!
  • Mystery! I love a good mystery, and I was pretty excited that there was a mystery piece involved in this book, because I didn’t know there would be.
  • The Characters* Vivian started off pretty weak, with her ridiculous indecision, timidness, and selfishness. Of course, she evolved during the book, which wasn’t particularly surprising, as a book about some scared girl hiding in the corner would be awful. However, her friend Harp kind of outshines her as a character. Harp got the personality in this group for sure. Peter was a pretty decent character too, albeit a bit forgettable.
  • Entertainment Value. It was entertaining at times, it was a quick read, and I was curious about what would happen in the next book.

What I Didn’t:

  • I just didn’t believe it. Plain and simple, though I tried to just pretend in its believability, it wasn’t there for me. How exactly did some guy get an entire country to believe that he was a prophet who could predict the end of the world? Sure, I get convincing a group of people, but society as a whole? I just don’t see how that is possible. Especially since it seemed silly even while reading. Yes, some of these things could have happened on a small scale, but for an entire nation to buy in? Nope, not buying it.
  • Speaking of nations, where is everyone else? Seriously, aren’t a few other countries wondering why the U.S. has collectively lost its shit? If Canada started predicting the apocalypse and citizens went missing… let’s just say I’d be concerned.
  • Logical Inconsistencies. Okay, maybe I am nitpicking, but here’s an example: There’s a hurricane, one of the firsts of the season. They’re talking about it because it is unusually early, and perhaps a sign of the apocalypse? Anyway, the hurricane is dubbed Hurricane Ruth. But that isn’t how hurricanes are named. And the adults, except for one random (and awesome) teacher, act like complete asses throughout the entire book. Some people being awful makes sense. Everyone being awful for no apparent reason? Does not make sense.
  • The Characters* Yes, again, hence the asterisk. It’s a mixed bag. Vivian’s character growth was just way too severe, way too fast. I get that if you think your parents were raptured, you’d probably change your tune in a hurry. Vivian did not agree. She spent a good portion of time wallowing in pity, and thinking snarky things about her grandparents, all while ditching her friend. Then she’s like “oh, sorry, nevermind, let’s melt this popsicle stand!” and heads off to save the world or whatever. And as I have said before, 99% of the adults in this book are just wretched human beings.
  • The plot never really went anywhere. There was a lot of meandering that didn’t really fit. There was discussion of weather patterns and then…  it was dropped. There was talk about exorbitant fuel prices… but then they were over that too. Basically, there was no real sense of urgency about anything, which is ironic considering it may or may not be the end of the world.

Bottom Line: It wasn’t the worst book I have ever read or anything, but it was far from the best too. It had entertainment value, so that’s a plus, but the story itself just didn’t come together as I’d hoped. I would read the second book if it were lying around, but I am not rushing off to get it, unfortunately.2hstrs

What would you do if the apocalypse was upon you? Road trip? Hiding at evil grandma’s? Try to debunk said apocalypse? Take a nap?(That might be my choice)

Posted December 8, 2014 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Review / 9 Comments

9 responses to “Review: Vivian Versus the Apocalypse by Katie Coyle

  1. First your question; if it was the end of the world I would also probably take a nap, or road trip to New York because the world cannot end until I’ve visited New York City! Unless it was zombies, if it was zombies I’d grab a sword and start killing them….

    So, I’m about half way through this book and am not impressed. I’m kind of bored actually. I think I’m still going to finish it but it’s definitely not what I thought it was going to be.

    Sorry this one was kind of a bust for you!

  2. Hmmm …. sounds really underwhelming. Which I would have to agree is disappointing based on the blurb. I agree that it doesn’t make sense at all that the whole US would suddenly believe in the rapture happening on a particular date. There have been plenty of dates when the world was supposed to end and some people believed crazy things … but everyone?

  3. Too bad this one didn’t work for you. From the blurb, it sounds awesome, but I would have a lot of the same problems with it that you did. Too bad.

  4. I’m not really interested in this book at all, despite the pretty cover, but I just had to stop and say I LOVE your new design! It’s fabulously sparkly and blue 😀

    As for handling the Apocalypse, I’m with you. Let me sleep and wake me up when it’s over 😛

  5. Awwww, I’m sorry to hear that this book wasn’t that great. WELL it does sound entertaining! Honestly I thought this was just a contemporary, but it’s actually apocalyptic? WAS NOT EXPECTING THAT! I thought it was just in the title.

  6. Yup I did that for the first quarter of Anna and the French Kiss, but it worked for me in it’s favour because I ended up loving it. But cults! At least that part was good. And Road trips! Love road trips in books, mainly because I don’t have a car. Or a licence. Or a learners permit. I’m living through road trip books. Does sound unbelievable and ha! Exactly, other countries would be, so… Ugh, a bunch of awful characters? There is no joy to be had. 🙁

  7. I totally understand, some books I just want to love, so I keep going and try to see the good and ignore some of the bad, but yeah it doesn’t ever work. (See Immortal)

    I like road trips too, even though I’ve never been on a long one. Yeah reliability is big for me and a book like this needs explanations.

    I’d so take a nap. (While hiding)

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