This is the first post in a series: The Best YA You Haven’t Read (Yet)
I found out about Vivian Versus the Apocalypse (Katie Coyle’s debut) via a chance post on tumblr that found its way onto my dashboard, and I’m very, very glad I did. I assumed when I first heard about the book – and even more so after I read it – that it was destined to become one of Those YA Books. You know the ones. The ones that crop up in every YA conversation and take one of the top spots on Best Of lists.
It’s strange to me that this hasn’t happened, because Vivian is a brilliant book. In a market as busy and varied as YA, it’s hard to find books that have a truly original premise. Vivian, which features the eponymous teenage heroine facing a world seemingly in the grips of a religious apocalypse, is startlingly original. Yes, end of the world scenarios have been done to death, but I tell you what. They haven’t been done like this.
Vivian features all the expected components of an apocalypse story: there’s the left behind lot bandied together and struggling to survive; sudden and jarring acts of violence and murder; strange weather occurrences; the yes-the-world-is-ending-but-I-still-want-to-kiss-you subplot (emphasis on subplot, thank the storytelling gods); and the cross-country journey for against-the-odds answers.
But here’s what else Vivian has: brilliant secondary characters (Harp!), amazing Rapture/capitalist/Bible puns (“Lot’s jeans. Go ahead, turn around” made me laugh out loud in an airport), Doctor Who references, thoughtful but not invasive questions about religion and capitalism, a sledgehammer-wielding protagonist and the kind of opening chapter that makes you want to grab the person nearest to you and shout “ZOMG!” in their face.
I suspect that the reason Vivian is still relatively under the radar is because it hasn’t yet been released in the US. When that happens – January 2015, I believe, with the new title Vivian Apple at the End of the World – I’m sure it will indeed become one of Those YA Books. How can it not?
If I’ve convinced you (and if I haven’t, what else do you want?!), you can find your own copy by clicking right here on this link.