Skip to main content

Vivian Apple at the End of the World

Review

Vivian Apple at the End of the World

According to Beaton Frick and the Church of America, the world is going to end, and it's going to end soon.  The only people that will be saved and enter into heaven are true Believers --- devout members of the Church of America.  Despite her parents’ recent conversion into the church, 16-year-old Vivian Apple has never believed in Frick, the Church of America or the Rapture that is supposed to bring all of the Believers into Heaven.  However, after returning home the day after the supposed Rapture, Vivian finds her parents missing and two perfectly parent-sized holes in the ceiling.  Now she’s not sure what she believes anymore.

After spending a brief time with her grandparents, where she learned about her mother’s punk past, Vivian is determined to find out what happened to her parents.  With the help of her best friend, Harp, and a new ally, Peter, Vivian begins a dangerous trek across the United States.  There is a fresh crop of Believers after the Rapture, and they are willing to do anything --- even kill --- to get in the Church of America’s good graces.  Being non-Believers puts Vivian, Harp and Peter into a perilous situation; they could be hurt on their journey --- or worse --- for not believing in Frick’s word.  But the group continues on and finally makes it to California, where they discover shocking truths about their families and exactly how far the Church of America is willing to go.

 

While the writing and plot are excellent, the real gem of VIVIAN APPLE AT THE END OF THE WORLD is unquestionably the characters. 

VIVIAN APPLE AT THE END OF THE WORLD is a book readers will be thinking about long after they finish the last page.  Coyle is a fantastic writer; not only are readers drawn in from the first page, but she keeps her audience entertained and on the edge of their seats throughout the entire novel.  Coyle perfectly portrays the ridiculousness of the lengths that the Church of America is willing to go to make money, yet she can keep the tone serious and sad when needed.  This combination of humor and melancholy creates a totally unique tone for the novel. 

The storyline is also completely unique --- I’ve never read a book like this one.  While most apocalyptic YA novels would have a protagonist that is trying to save the world, Vivian never tries to be the hero.  Instead, she just wants to find out what happens to her parents.  Even the conclusion of the book is brilliant.  It ties up enough loose ends that readers feel satisfied and yet leaves it open enough that a sequel could definitely be a possibility.  Personally, I am hoping for another story with the wonderful Vivian Apple and her friends.

While the writing and plot are excellent, the real gem of VIVIAN APPLE AT THE END OF THE WORLD is unquestionably the characters.  Vivian Apple is an excellent female character, one that readers will readily cheer on.  As an author, one of Coyle’s strengths is being able to make her characters so human.  For example, although Vivian can be extremely kind and brave, she is at times selfish and cowardly.  Vivian isn’t a “good” or “bad” person --- she’s just a person, like every other character in the story.  Her friend Harp deals with the loss of her brother through alcohol and drugs, but stays with Vivian even when she could stay at a safe-house.   Even Beaton Frick, the man behind the chaos, isn’t purely evil.  These characters will make VIVIAN APPLE AT THE END OF THE WORLD a favorite for readers for years.

Reviewed by Cheyenne C., Teen Board member on April 29, 2015

Vivian Apple at the End of the World
(Vivian Apple #1)
by Katie Coyle