Review: H2O by Virginia Bergin

(The Rain #1)
by Virginia Bergin
YA Thriller, Dystopian
Paperback336 Pages
October 7th 2014 by Sourcebooks Fire


In this tense, psychological drama, debut author Virginia Bergin crafts a tale of desperation and survival about a world in chaos. Anyone who’s been touched by rain or tap water is dead. With a fascinatingly unique premise, a heroine that takes daunting risks and slim chances of survival, H2O’s fast-paced, unputdownable mystery and emotional survivor’s story will appeal to readers who enjoyed The Fifth Wave and The Hunger Games.

One minute 16 year old Ruby Morris is having her first real kiss at a party at Zach’s, and the next she’s being bundled inside the house by Zach’s parents, yelling at them to get inside. They don’t believe it at first. Crowded in Zach’s kitchen, Ruby and the rest of the partygoers laugh at Zach’s parents’ frenzied push to get them all inside as it starts to drizzle. But then the radio comes on with the warning, “It’s in the rain! It’s fatal, it’s contagious, and there’s no cure.” Two weeks later, Ruby is alone. Anyone who’s been touched by rain or has washed their hands with tap water is dead. The only drinkable water is quickly running out. Ruby’s only chance for survival is a treacherous hike across the country to find her father—if he’s even still alive.

My Review

H2O was a crazy, intense, and scary story. Not scary as in I-was-so-scared-I-needed-the-lights-on-and-couldn't-sleep, but in a if-this-was-reality-the-world-would-be-destroyed-and-freaking-out kind of way. It made me think about if my family and I would be prepared for anything like the scenario the story painted. It definitely made me thirsty and want to have a year supply of water. It was also a somewhat gruesome tale with all the bleeding, dying people and the violence. Just. Intense. So much goes on and its all this complete whirlwind with people completely losing it and not thinking or acting rationally, including the main character, for much of the story. Of course there are some sane ones too, but it's amazing how even one out of control individual can endanger everyone else.

I don't tend to like stories that are this destructive, and depressing and when I do, I need enough happy moments, un-craziness, and humor to balance the story for me and make it worth all the yucky stuff. There were some of those moments here and some of them were humorous and sweet. Princess (a young girl, somewhere between six and nine years old who had become mute due to the trauma she'd seen) was one character that shed some light on this story. Darius was another. He's a total geek, but I actually really liked him. He was honest, smart, and caring. I also really liked Ruby's step-father who she finally came to see more clearly. Then you had these other outrageous characters. I felt like I was in a punk video some of the time.

Then there was the main character, Ruby. Ruby, Ruby, Ruby. What to do with you??? She is extremely angsty. I mean the most full-of-angst character I have ever read. At the beginning she felt like a really true, realistic, self-centered teen. There was a ton of inter-dialogue and snarkiness as Ruby is the narrator. She was kind of a snob and cared about electronics, being popular, and how she looked. Just slightly materialistic (sarcasm intended). I could live with her through half of the story this way, and through her complete freak-outs (and there were a lot). As the story progressed she did begin to have her perspective change, but I needed a lot more development. I wanted her to go gather supplies that were actually realistic and needed. I wanted her to find clothes that would work, be necessary and comfortable. I wanted her to think. Sparkly flip-flops? Sequined and flashy clothes? Heels? Wearing makeup and trying a self-tan? Clothes and electronics instead of water and food? Really? When the world is in chaos and you might not survive without the necessities? And who is going to see you anyway? When you can't drink or touch the rain or any water that wasn't already bottled? That's where I had some issues with the story. After she had seen how the world was and what she needed to do to make it, I wanted her to adjust more to that. She was scared and she should have been. That was realistic, but I wanted more from her character.

Having said all that... I did feel that a lot of the story was very realistic, especially with how a lot of the people left after the first destructive rain reacted. I also thought the situation was plausible. It drizzles and rains a lot in England. The population would be almost completely destroyed very quickly in this type of situation and with water not even safe from the water system and pipes, there would be complete mayhem. 

H2O ended up not really being my type of story. I would have enjoyed it more if I could have liked the main character. The writing was smooth, as was the insane pace and plot. I am actually curious what will happen in the next book in this series, The Storm, coming January 2015. I'm curious because there was potential here and a chance for a better resolution.

Content: There was some gruesome parts and some violence. There was also a symbol used in place of any swear words (which I appreciated as I don't like swearing) and some brief innuendo. Otherwise this was clean.

Source: From the publisher through NetGalley, which did not affect my review in any way.

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