“H2O” by Virginia Bergin
c.2014, Sourcebooks $16.99 331 pages
Rain, rain, go away. That chant never worked when you wanted it to, did it? Yes, the rain eventually stopped and the sun eventually shined but, in the meantime, many of your childhood plans were ruined. Still, a little rain never killed anyone – or did it? Find out in “H2O” by Virginia Bergin.
Your first official kiss should be one that’s memorable – and for 15-year-old Ruby Morris, hers absolutely was. Just not for the reasons you’d think.
There she was at Zak’s party, in his parents’ hot tub with Caspar McCloud, the boy she’d had a crush on forever. It was exactly like a movie kiss: Caspar scooted over, put his arm around her, and it actually happened – until Zak’s dad, Barnaby, yanked everybody inside, screaming something about the water, and it started to rain.
That was weird. Nobody could understand what Barnaby was babbling about, and nobody was scared one bit. But then Caspar went outside because his MP3 player was on the lawn, getting wet.
He was bloody when he came back in.
It was the rain. The rain was the whole reason there were bodies everywhere, as Ruby learned later, after Zak’s mother tried to get Caspar to the hospital, after Zak’s mom picked up a damp towel and started to sweat, after she dropped Ruby off at home.
Ruby learned that it was poisonous bacteria-filled rain, after her mom tossed the neighbor some medicine and accidentally got wet, then touched Ruby’s baby brother …
Ruby’s stepfather, Simon, tried to do his best. There was once a time when she and Simon didn’t get along. He was bossy and tried to get her to learn the dumbest things. Usually, he made her roll her eyes til they hurt, but when the rain came down in sheets and there was nothing left in the house to drink, Simon was the one who figured out how to get water.
When he died, too, Ruby knew she’d miss him but she hadn’t time to waste. She was terribly, horribly thirsty and besides, there was no way everybody could be dead, right? Her real father lived in London and he was probably okay, right? And so, she found a car and started to drive …
Confession time: At first, I was no fan of “H2O.”
The author’s catalyst of a bacteria-laden asteroid is a bit of a cliché and Ruby is initially quite hard to take as she immediately, urgently launches into a tale that tumbles out like spillage. I wasn’t expecting that but, as you’ll come to see pretty quickly, abruptness is exactly what’s needed to fully feel this story.
By the middle of the book, the lack of preamble was hardly an issue; as Ruby dodged raindrops and hysteria, I was busy flipping pages and thinking OMG, OMG, oh-my-goodness, what next?!
While this is an excellent book for teens ages 14 and up, I think adults will enjoy it too. Don’t walk past it, if you’re a fan of post-Apocalyptic novels, because “H2O” is definitely not all wet.
The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books. Her self-syndicated book reviews appear in more than 260 newspapers.