Wednesday 15 July 2015

The Rain by Virginia Bergin

One minute sixteen-year-old Ruby Morris is having her first proper snog with Caspar McCloud in a hot tub, and the next she's being bundled inside the house, dripping wet, cold and in her underwear. Not cool. As she and Caspar shiver in the kitchen, it starts to rain. They turn on the radio to hear panicked voices -- 'It's in the rain's in the rain ...' 

That was two weeks ago, and now Ruby is totally alone. People weren't prepared for the rain, got caught out in it, didn't realize that you couldn't drink water from the taps either. Even a drip of rain would infect your blood, and eat you from the inside out. Ruby knows she has to get to London to find her dad, but she just doesn't know where to start ...After rescuing all the neighbourhood dogs, Ruby sets off on a journey that will take her the length of the country -- surviving in the only way she knows how.

Bergin's debut was surprisingly terrifying, especially as I was reading it started chucking it down! An alien parasite is hiding in the rain, it loves to reproduce in water, and it's already left some casualties in Africa and isolated Russia. It was a pretty clever concept for a dystopian. The British public were caught unaware and many died immediately, leaving the stragglers to figure things out for themselves.

Typical English bank holiday, people are caught out in the rain but then they start bleeding. It all happens so fast and all Ruby wants is to get home. But it's in the rain and she can't touch it without getting sick too. The story is told through Ruby's  inner monologue, including freak outs and ramblings, as she tries to survive, tries and fails to help her family, her friends, anyone who might need it. But Ruby is not a bad-ass heroine but her survival instinct and protective nature made her real and very relatable. Come on, world's trying to end, the rain is killing people, who wouldn't want to hide in their room and cry for a bit? Her main priority is make up, just in case she's seen by anyone she knows. Vain, yes, but just like many a teenage girl!

As her family die just from a few drops, Ruby decided to make her way to London, to her father. But everything is all the more dangerous when you can't touch water, you can't get caught in the rain and you run out of food and drink very quickly because all the supermarkets have been ransacked. Ruby takes the family car, picks up a few runaways and tries her damnedest not to freak out again on her way to her dad. 

I really liked this story. It was dramatic and incredibly scary, surprisingly well thought out, with some mental characters to make things extra interesting. Ruby was a great protagonist, she wasn't the smartest or the best, just a normal girl, trying to survive the worst thing ever. 

Published 17th July 2014 by Macmillan. Thank you to the publisher and Neygalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

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