Series: Vivian Apple #2
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on September 1st 2015
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.
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 »It wrapped up, but not completely. There were a ton of questions answered, but some that remained unanswered, but it worked in this story. I don’t always love when ALL the things aren’t answered, but in this case, it worked. Hopeful, yet not rainbows and unicorns. And the message that the ending sent was nice too. « Hide 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!