cover image Vivian Apple at the End of the World

Vivian Apple at the End of the World

Katie Coyle. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-544-34011-4

Level-headed straight-A student Vivian Apple and her wild best friend Harp are among those left behind after thousands of believers in the evangelical Church of America are “Raptured,” exactly as prophesied by the church’s founder, Beaton Frick. After receiving a mysterious phone call from California, the girls, wondering if their vanished parents might still be alive, drive cross-country in search of the truth behind the church, whose popularity has skyrocketed in the wake of national tragedies. Along for the ride is cute but cagey Peter, who knows more about the organization’s inner workings than he’s letting on. Coyle imagines an America in which politics, capitalism, and entertainment, and religion have combined to create a culture of intolerance and judgment that doesn’t end with the Rapture. The result is a scathing commentary on contemporary religiosity and fear-mongering in the face of the unknown, as well as the extent to which we surrender ourselves to interests that are not our own. Skillful plot twists, mordant humor, and careful characterizations make this a memorable coming-of-age story and a noteworthy debut. Ages 14–up. Agent: Sarah Burnes, Gernert Company. (Jan.)