Review: Vivian Apple Needs a Miracle by Katie Coyle

Review: Vivian Apple Needs a Miracle by Katie Coyle Vivian Apple Needs a Miracle by Katie Coyle
Series: Vivian Apple #2
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on September 1st 2015
Pages: 304
Format:eARC
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review, via Netgalley

“GET ANGRY. We should all be so pissed at the Church of America that we’re willing to break our hands in the metaphorical punching of its metaphorical face.”  —Harpreet Janda, fugitive   The predicted Rapture by Pastor Frick’s Church of America has come and gone, and three thousand Believers are now missing or dead. Seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple and her best friend, Harpreet, are revolutionaries, determined to expose the Church’s diabolical power grab . . . and to locate Viv’s missing heartthrob, Peter Ivey. This fast-paced, entertaining sequel to Vivian Apple at the End of the World challenges readers to consider how to live with integrity in a disintegrating world.  

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Confession time! I was expecting to not like this book. Is that bad? That’s probably bad. I mean, I didn’t love the first one, but I was curious and needed to know how it ended so… you understand. But guess what?

I really liked it! See, my problems with the first book were mostly believability issues. In the sequel, the groundwork was already set, so I didn’t really have time to dwell on those things, as they weren’t present in this one. I guess if I had spent time dwelling on the believability problems with the first book while reading the second it would count, since the plot of this one is obviously a continuation of the first but.. I didn’t.

The things I liked, while trying to be as non-spoilery for the first book as possible:

  • The characters were much improved for me this time around. Vivian was more likable, Harp was as awesome as always, and there were some great newcomers that really added a lot to the story. Vivian has grown up this time, and doesn’t spend all the livelong day whining. Even though I still like Harp better, Vivian was certainly easier (much easier!) to read this time around. And the villains were pretty awful too, and not always who or what I’d thought they’d be. Quite interesting.
  • The social commentary I’d expected in the first book was much more present in the second book. Obviously there is not a lot I can say on that front without all the spoilers, but there were a lot of social issues brought up, far beyond religious ones- in fact, I felt that the religious piece ended up being portrayed quite fairly.
  • Vivian made some dumb moves. “Wait!”, you say. “Wouldn’t this be a negative?” No, dear friend, because it was realistic! I kind of hate when a “regular girl-turned revolutionary” is suddenly flawless. And Vivian was not flawless. At all. A lot of times, I was just shaking my head at her, but you know what? I bet if you or I were in the same situation, we’d act like dolts half the time too.
  • The story moves at a nice pace. There’s action, certainly, but there is also time for relationships to build, and friendships to flourish. It’s a nice balance of angst-filled, action packed moments and fun lighter ones
  • The ending worked for me. I won’t say anything spoilery, but because I know some people (like me!) don’t love to hear about endings, so I will spoiler tag it since I know a lot of people also do like to know about them!  View Spoiler » But for those of you who want a vague analysis, I wasn’t throwing the book in rage, so job well done, Ms. Coyle!

The things I didn’t like as much:

  • While some of the twists were good, there was one big one that I saw coming from the start. So the element of surprise wasn’t there for me at all, since I knew exactly what it was leading to. But, aside from this one “big” twist, I was surprised about quite a few others!
  • There were times where I will admit, the unbelievability did come back to keep my eyes rolling a time or two. While I think the author did a really good job for the most part dispelling some of my qualms about book one, there was just that tiny voice in my head in certain spots yelling at me “but this couldn’t, wouldn’t happen!”. Again, this was minimal, but worth mentioning.

Bottom Line: I am so, so glad I gave this book a chance! It definitely redeemed the series for me, and I am really quite glad to have read it. A lot of my concerns from the first book were wiped away (which, if you haven’t read the first book, is a good thing to know going in!) and it ended up being quite an enjoyable story!

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Have you ever not really liked the first book in a series, only to have the second book come along and happily surprise you?

Posted August 3, 2015 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Review , / 12 Comments


12 responses to “Review: Vivian Apple Needs a Miracle by Katie Coyle

  1. Yay for second chances! I’ve never experienced reading a series (non-standalones) in which I didn’t enjoy the first and went on to read the next. I would often just end the first book and never bother to pick up the next, lol. Glad this worked out for you! I’m not familiar with this series but wonderful review, otherwise! 😀

    • I ummmm do this way too often. Nine times out of ten, it does NOT work out at all. Usually I hate the second one MORE because… I didn’t like the first one! But, this is a rare one that did work (actually- I have a review coming up for the other kind- the one that was a MESS) 😉

  2. Hmmm, although you ended up liking this one, there are a few points that would probably put me off from this – the dumb character, the religious undertones and the unbelievable elements. Glad you enjoyed it though! Lovely review.

    • Thanks! I agree though, the first book wasn’t great! The religious thing was meant to be more of a commentary I think- about how ANY extremism is a bad idea, so I think that worked for me. I could have even gotten past some of Vivian’s umm stupidity, but the unbelievability killed me! Luckily, some of it WAS explained in a much more believable way in this book. (You know, for my sanity!)

  3. This has happened to me recently. I didn’t love the first book, but the novella saved the it for me. If not for the novella, I wouldn’t have read the next book. It’s a great thing that this installment saved it for you, too!

  4. I usually give up after the first book that i didn’t really like, but I can understand – sometimes sequels are much better than the first book! This is the first time I’m hearing about the Vivian Apple series. I need to check it out, I do like apocalyptic themes, even if the whole religion-rapture-thing creep me out a little bit 🙂

    • That is exactly why I was so desperate to read it, I LOVE apocalyptic stuff! The religion bit ends up not being as prominent as it first seems, so that may be a plus for you. I know people have been either loving the first book or hating it, and I was kind of in the middle (though more on the not-liking side!) but this one redeemed it for me! I hope you like it if you do end up reading it 🙂

  5. Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed this one! I probably felt that way about the Maze Runner series. The first book was very slow and kind of annoying. It was just meh for me. But I ended up enjoying the second one a lot more. It had a lot more action and moved at a faster pace.

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