Hey there, bookternet people! It’s been a good couple of books for me and I’m so, so glad to feel like my book slump is OVER! This week, I’m talking about an amazing book called Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle, which I absolutely devoured on audio. Also, how great is this book cover?
It was one of those times where, in order to continue listening to my audiobook, I invented tasks. I cleaned the apartment. I went on long walks. I made my neighbor question my sanity by laughing to myself as a I Swiffered my floors as he looked in from our shared porch. You know, the nice, normal stuff you do when you’re really, really into your book.
Since I wrote the beginnings of a YA dystopian novel for my honors thesis, it should come as no surprise that YA dystopias are my jam. But since The Hunger Games and Divergent have made YA dystopias so popular, there’s sort of a market bloat thing going on where it’s kind of difficult to find really original, really gripping YA dystopia that doesn’t largely hinge upon a love triangle. Not to say there isn’t a love story in Vivian Apple at the End of the World, because of course there is. But it isn’t really a Teams sort of romance, which I appreciate in our post Team Edward vs. Team Jacob world.
There are so many reasons why I loved this book. I love the premise, where a commercialized megachurch called the Church of America essentially takes over. I love it because it’s a ridiculous satire that still hits at the heart of a lot of our nation’s central issues–our idea of American Exceptionalism, the way separation of church and state become a blur, how we worship at the altar of capitalism and materialism. I found myself laughing out loud at a lot of the tenants of the Church of America and it’s profit, Frick. For instance, there is a Parable of the Starbucks. Wherein Frick talks to Jesus in a Starbucks. Because yes.
I love the female badassery that’s happening, too. Vivian Apple, self-described as meek before the rapture, turns into a sledge hammer wielding badass when she comes home to discover twin holes in her ceiling, her parents gone. Vivian and her equally badass best friend, Harpreet Jonda, embark on a road trip to uncover the secrets of the probably definitely fake rapture. Naturally, they also pick up the sexy Peter Ivy, who likes Vivian because of (not in spite of) her ability to make decisions for herself and take charge.
This bonkers, apocalyptic road trip of a book absolutely stole my heart. I want to read it every single day, over and over. It’s just that good.