When I look for books, sometimes my only reason for buying it is that is has a cool enough cover. And that was totally the case for this book series. H20, originally titled “The Rain” has this excellent cover with an ominous intro line.
“It’s in the rain…and just one drop will kill you.”
I was actually almost to the register, and buying books for my nephews when it caught my eye. So up it went into my book pile, and by the end of the night I had read the whole thing.
H20 is written as the diary of Ruby, which can get annoying if you don’t like stream of consciousness story telling. But if you know me and my feelings about Meg Rosoff, you know that I don’t mind it at all.
Here’s the thing. Virginia Bergin, isn’t nearly as talented at the fine line between the art of a diary written for a story, and an actual teen diary. So that’s where the similarities in the writing style end.
Nonetheless, Ruby’s story caught me. It’s a tale of death, destruction and sloppy stupid teenage mistakes that literally anyone would make if one day, rain started killing people. In fact, that’s how the story starts. She’s at a Jacuzzi party, kissing the boy she’s been wanting to kiss for ages. The the parents get home and see an unsanctioned party with half-nude teens and panic. They’ve been listening to the news and they know that there’s something very wrong with the storm that’s about to roll in. I’ll spare you the details, but typical teen crap happens, and cute boy Ruby was kissing- goes out in the rain.
That’s when this book finally gets real. The rain does it’s thing, and that teen boy starts to bleed out from the inside. Then begins the stupid idiotic mistakes Ruby makes during this colossal world apocalypse. She tries to save dogs, cats and other little creatures who have been munching on corpses infected with rain. She repeatedly runs out in light, but deadly drizzle wearing flip flops. She wastes precious clean bottled water to dye her hair, and finally she steals makeup from every single store and experiments with it.
She makes countless other mistakes throughout the book, but those are her worst offenses. Regardless, it’s almost refreshing to see a YA protagonist who unabashedly cares about things you’re not supposed to care about during an apocalypse event. This is a teen girl, on her own, there’s literally nothing normal about her situation. So why would we expect her to be like the heroines of other dystopian novels, who are 100% ready to protect themselves and fight. Of all the books I’ve read where the world goes wrong, I honestly think I would react most like Ruby. I probably wouldn’t fight back, or hoard supplies well. I would go find the fastest car I could, and drive it around an abandoned town picking up nail polish and puppies.
That’s not all Ruby does, but you know to find out what happens in a book, you should probably read it. All in all, I give H2O, 3.7 stars. It’s a little slow, some of the writing is sloppy. But if you want something that feels like a genuine reaction to a world ending freak event. It’s worth it. Oh by the way, it has a sequel.