Title: H20 (The Rain #1)
Author: Virginia Bergin
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult // Survival
Source: Publisher // Netgalley
It's in the rain...and just one drop will kill you.
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 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 (goodreads).
The synopsis promises a survival tale about a young girl whose got nothing to lose. I'm sad so say that the synopsis was this book's strongest point.
Plot: H20 opens with Ruby at a party at her friend's house doing what teenagers do: drink, dance, make out. Everything changes within 5 minutes and most Ruby's friends and family are dead because of a simple rain shower. Eventually, Ruby has nothing left in her small town and sets off on an adventure to find her father. From the start this book was a mess. The action goes from 0 to 60 without any real emotion connected to the characters so I felt nothing when someone died. For a flesh-destroying bacteria, I expected a lot more focus on the agony and the process of how the rain can kill a person but we aren't privy to that kind of information. What this book lacked was the sense of urgency. Seeing how millions of people just died in 10 minutes, you would expect a survivalist tone from the characters but it's missing. Ruby recounts the events as if everyone has a serious case of the chicken pox, there is no urgency, no despair, no emotion, nothing.The ending of H20 was pretty abrupt, I didn't know that this was first in the series, but I think I would have liked the ending a lot more if it were just a standalone.
Characters: Ruby is one of the most annoying MCs I have ever had the displeasure to read about I swear to God (btw words like God, damn and any other explictives are censored in the novel with a little emoticon thing. That was the second most annoying thing in the book. Just don't curse then)! She's your typical angry teenager who has the whole "You're Not My Real Dad!" attitude towards her stepdad, which is pretty crappy because he spends a good chunk of the novel trying to save her hide. While people are scrambling to get water, turning on each other, and dropping dead left and right, you would think that this girl is blind to all of this. People are looting stores for essentials, what does she buy? Clothes that she has been coveting for months; she evens wears a sequined dress for a duration of the book. She takes the time to perfectly apply her makeup and criticizes others who haven't taken a shower in a day or two. And she still has the time to feel humiliated when she has to talk to the class nerd.
World Building: In short, there is none. Ruby travels from her small town in England and basically drives to London, then end.
Short N Sweet: H20 sounded like something every dystopia lover would love to have on his or her shelves; subtract one annoying main character and add more emotion, and it would have been