Everything is going right for Lucy Hansson, until her mom’s cancer reappears. Just like that, Lucy breaks with all the constants in her life: her do-good boyfriend, her steady faith, even her longtime summer church camp job.
Instead, Lucy lands at a camp for kids who have been through tough times. As a counselor, Lucy is in over her head and longs to be with her parents across the lake. But that’s before she gets to know her coworkers, who are as loving and unafraid as she so desperately wants to be.
It’s not just new friends that Lucy discovers at camp—more than one old secret is revealed along the way. In fact, maybe there’s much more to her family and her faith than Lucy ever realized.
What can I say that hasn’t already been said about Emery Lord? That she’s a wizard when it comes to writing authentic and meaningful friendships. She’s mastered the art of developing a swoony romance. Her ability to develop complex and beautiful family bonds is second to none. She knows how to write a story that gets to the emotional core of what it means to be a teenager. But…you guys know all this. If you’ve read even one of her books (I suggest you read ALL of them), then you know what an amazing author Emery is and can understand why I include her on my list of all-time faves. With the release of her fourth novel (in only three years!!), she’s managed to make me love her (and her story-telling) even more than I already did.
Seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple never believed in the evangelical Church of America, unlike her recently devout parents. But when Vivian returns home the night after the supposed "Rapture," all that’s left of her parents are two holes in the roof. Suddenly, she doesn't know who or what to believe. With her best friend Harp and a mysterious ally, Peter, Vivian embarks on a desperate cross-country roadtrip through a paranoid and panic-stricken America to find answers. Because at the end of the world, Vivan Apple isn't looking for a savior. She's looking for the truth.
Thanks so much to Kristina from Gone Pecan for gifting me her ARC of this novel. Her fabulous generosity in no way affected my review.
I went into this book with zero expectations. Other than the fact that it had a really amazing cover, I knew nothing about it. When I read the summary on the back cover though, I was immediately intrigued and moved it to the top of my reading pile. Vivian Apple at the End of the Worldturned out to be a fun and quick read, that kept me on my toes. While I wouldn’t say I absolutely adored this book, I definitely enjoyed it and would gladly recommend it to any one of my book worm buddies.
We first meet Vivian on New Year’s Eve as she’s attending a party thrown by her wildchild BFF Harp. This is not an ordinary New Year’s Eve, it’s also the night before the Rapture. For years now the Church of America has been preparing the public for the end of the world, and slowly recruiting members to prepare for their ascent in Heaven, while all the non-believers get left behind. Vivian’s parents tried unsuccessfully to recruit her into the church and she half-heartedly believes that the miracle event will ever actually happen. Needless to say, Vivian wakes up on New Year’s Day to a very different world that she is completely unprepared to face.
After Vivian and Harp have some false starts in their post-Rapture lives, they bump into a mysterious boy who they briefly met at Harp’s New Year’s Eve party. Turns out this guy, Peter, may have some connections to the church that could lead to some answers. From here they embark on a cross-country journey that may lead to some answers. To me this is where the story really takes off, as the trio runs into some pretty interesting characters and some intense situations. As they travel, they pick up some more clues and eventually make it to California to try to uncover the truth behind what’s going on. The last third of the books gets creepier and creepier until we get to the climax of the story where they finally uncover what’s going on. I was so thoroughly creeped out at this point, which is usually something I don’t enjoy in books. I can’t say that this was my favorite part, but it worked with the plot and I pushed through to the end where the creep factor lessened. BUT…we end up uncovering even more mysteries which I’m sure will be explored in the future books.
My favorite part about Vivian Apple at the End of the World was the relationships Vivian had with Harp and Peter. It was a refreshing change of pace to see three friends who really supported each other and cared for each other regardless of what issues or conflicts they may have had with each other along the way. Vivian and Peter’s relationship was also interesting to watch unfold, and I appreciated the fact that it wasn’t rushed and was not always so romantic. Even though this book is set in a pretty unbelievable circumstance, the emotions and situations these characters found themselves in were authentic and I could relate to them easily.
I can’t quite say why I’m not rating this book higher than three stars. It’s a solid, entertaining story with characters I enjoyed. But when I finished the book it just didn’t stay with me in the way that a great book does. So for that reason I settled on a respectable three stars. If you enjoy young adult novels that are character-driven and feature an intriguing and mysterious plot, then you should definitely pick up a copy of Vivian Apple at the End of the World!