Vivian was never a Believer but her parents were. The morning after The Rapture. She returns home to find two holes in the ceiling and her parents gone. Not knowing what to believe any more, she turns to her friends as America starts to fall apart. Is this the apocalypse?
I like stories that show that fundamentalism can exist in any religion; here it starts in the Church of America. It’s comfort to those who see the world falling apart. It is the perfect moment to take advantage of people who want or need something to believe other than believing this world is of their making. What starts off as something positive can be manipulated and snowball into harm so quickly. Especially with an actual Rapture as proof. There are enough news stories coming out of America that infringe on women’s rights, or the horror stories of gay persecution in Russia, it’s not hard to see how Vivian’s world could come into play.
There is a bit of info dumping at the start; I assume on the premise that some younger readers won’t really understand what The Rapture is. The rest of the background is fed in throughout the story which works well, so it wasn’t really needed right at the start. It felt a bit clumsy and made me worry as to what was to come. The night of the Rapture Party and Vivian discovering her parents were gone in the morning would have been a much more powerful start without the info-dump. A bit of mystery is OK, although it is more of a YA tendency to make sure the reader grasps everything in the first pages.
Vivian is in shock. It’s hard to accept that she seems to just carry on after the huge loss of her parents, but there are several moments throughout the story where you see how hard it has hit her. The road trip gives her purpose and is a coping mechanism. It also serves the purpose of showing different elements of the Church of America; including a Believer who is good and kind, if a little naïve in stark contrast to the state of hysteria pushing people to violence.
Personally, I would have liked the story to end a few chapters earlier. The events that happen right at the end felt a bit contrived and weren’t necessary. Overall a thought-provoking and page-turning read that brings something a little different to the YA table.
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