Coyle’s first foray a spell­bind­ing read

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - BOOKS - Dani Colvin

VI­VIAN VER­SUS THE APOC­A­LYPSE By Katie Coyle Hot Key Books soft­cover, $ 16.95.

FROM its open­ing four para­graphs un­til its last hope­less, hope­ful sen­tence, this in­cred­i­ble story will shock, prod, bat­ter and pro­voke read­ers in ways they couldn’t pos­si­bly imag­ine a book in­tended for young adults might ever be able to do.

What makes it all the more re­mark­able is this is Katie Coyle’s first novel. And what a cracker it is, though it cer­tainly won’t be to ev­ery­one’s taste.

I wish I could print those first four para­graphs here to give you some idea of the con­fronting, brave, thought­pro­vok­ing na­ture of Coyle’s apoc­a­lyp­tic road- trip yarn, but as that’s not pos­si­ble, the next best al­ter­na­tive is a weak at­tempt at a synop­sis.

A mil­lion­aire by the name of Beaton Frick claims to have been vis­ited by an­gels who tell him to build a church and tell the peo­ple of Amer­ica God loves them most of all, and if they fol­low him, they’ll get to heaven when the time comes.

But the bad peo­ple of Amer­ica do not lis­ten to Frick and go on liv­ing their lives of plea­sure, which angers God and causes him to turn away from them, caus­ing so many dread­ful things to hap­pen in the world that tear at the very fab­ric of so­ci­ety. It is only then that the peo­ple of Amer­ica start to lis­ten and be­lieve.

But 17- year- old Viv Ap­ple and her best friend Harp sim­ply can­not buy into the “rap­ture” that is pre­dicted, when true believ­ers will as­cend to heaven, and nor do they be­lieve the end of the world is nigh, but their par­ents do, as do many oth­ers.

Yet when Viv ar­rives home af­ter a fizzer of a rap­ture party, her par­ents are gone. All that is left are two holes in the ceil­ing. Thou­sands of oth­ers have dis­ap­peared too, yet thou­sands more have been left be­hind, con­fused, an­gry and feel­ing aban­doned.

But a para­graph from the Book of Frick be­gins to cir­cu­late widely. It states there will be a sec­ond boat to heaven, but the way will be blocked by those who don’t be­lieve.

And so the world be­gins to de­scend into chaos. Believ­ers who are des­per­ate to be on the sec­ond boat will stop at noth­ing to en­sure their path to heaven is clear, even if it means get­ting rid of non­be­liev­ers they per­ceive to be a threat to their eter­nal re­ward.

Viv and Harp, how­ever, choose not to take this whole thing ly­ing down and de­cide to find out what’s re­ally go­ing on.

They em­bark on a road trip across the coun­try with Peter, a boy who may know the true where­abouts of the church head­quar­ters, and Edie, a heav­ily preg­nant young be­liever who was among those left be­hind.

The pub­lic­ity blurb rec­om­mends this book for ages 12 and up, but per­haps 15 and up is a more rea­son­able bench­mark,.

A won­der­ful, com­pelling read for those who love to be pushed to ask ques­tions and to think.

MY FIRST AN­I­MALIA Writ­ten/ il­lus­trated by Graeme Base hard­cover, $ 19.99.

ONE of this coun­try’s pre­mier au­thor/ il­lus­tra­tors, Graeme Base, first un­leashed An­i­malia on the world in 1986.

It im­me­di­ately cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of chil­dren and adults alike and be­came a clas­sic with global sales of more than three mil­lion.

It has since been turned into an an­i­mated tele­vi­sion se­ries and an iPad app and still has a life of its own.

Now, how­ever, Base has cre­ated an in­tro­duc­tory ver­sion for younger chil­dren.

His beau­ti­ful, in­tri­cate il­lus­tra­tions take young read­ers through their al­pha­bet with lots of flaps to lift and fun to be had with sounds and im­ages.

It is grat­i­fy­ing to think that the very first chil­dren to en­joy Base’s orig­i­nal An­i­malia are now able to share and en­joy this ver­sion with their own chil­dren, a whole new gen­er­a­tion that will learn to love Base’s imag­i­na­tion, hu­mour and artistry ev­ery bit as much as their mums and dads did and still do.

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