Vivian versus America by Katie Coyle

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Vivian Apple Bk 2. Hot Key Books, 2014. ISBN 9781471403446
(Age 14+) Highly recommended. Science fiction. Dystopian fiction. Religion. Capitalism. In this sequel to Vivian versus the Apocalypse, Vivian Apple and her friend Harp have made it to the city only to find that they are being hunted, labelled as dangerous fugitives by the Church of America. They had fled from the Church compound, leaving behind Peter and believing that they have to reveal the dark secrets of the Rapture and the Church to the rest of the world. They travel to Los Angeles with a band of fighters who believe that they can halt what is happening. Can they rescue Peter and stop the evil group behind the Church of America?
An engrossing mix of action, group dynamics and thoughtful comments about capitalism and the part that religion plays in society, Vivian versus America, is a book that is very difficult to put down. Vivian and her friend Harp are great characters, who rely on each other's strengths to get through a horrible time for each of them. Their friendship is a highlight of the book, and it is great to see that it plays a more important role than the romantic feelings that Vivian has for Peter. Harp's skill in blogging and her role in uncovering what has happened with the Rapture is awesome and Vivian's courage and belief that killing innocent bystanders is not OK is a central theme to the book. All the minor characters, especially Vivian's mother and sister were really well fleshed out and this made it easy for the reader to understand their motivations and actions.
As one would expect in a dystopian novel there are a few tears to be shed as people give up their lives in an attempt to overcome evil, but to compensate, others take up the cause in highly dangerous situations and do the right thing.
There are many moments of suspense as Vivian and Harp try to find Peter, and work out who is friend or foe. There is an earth-shattering climax at the end of the novel that is very memorable.
The Vivian Apple books are great reads, exciting and interesting, and the social comment about religion, women and a consumer society make then stand out. Both would be very interesting Literature Circle books that would promote a lot of discussion.
Pat Pledger