I passed the book "H2O" by Virginia Bergin many times and took no interest in it. For some reason I thought it was a story about a dystopic future where people are running out of water. I wasn't interested in that subject at all.
So what made the difference you ask? Why am I writing about it now?
What happened is: Book Expo 2017 where I obtained a copy of the book for free. That's when I actually read the blurb on the back cover and went, "Oh my God, this seems so exciting. I have to read this book!"
Of course, it is a Young Adult book, and since I am over 60, I should be much too mature to read YA, but the fact of the matter is, I'm not. I love young adult literature. This is how, at Bookcon 2017 (held immediately after Book Expo), I frequently found that I was the oldest person in any audience during the panels.
No, don't ask specifically how old I am. I'm not going to tell you!
H2O is a British transplant--yes, it was released in England in 2014 before coming over here. In its earlier life, this book was called "The Rain" and I'm assuming that publishers in America thought that a title like "H2O" would be more sexy than a title like "The Rain." I'm not sure I agree, but luckily, I'm not making these decisions and so I am not responsible. I would love to hear your opinions on this point.
I will say that I believe there are a considerable number of highly creative, innovative books coming out of England right now and I think that's great. The British seem to have a treasure trove when it comes to the life of the mind and imagination.
So what is "H2O" all about?
Apparently, at some fictional point in time--currentish--an asteroid was speeding through outer space on the verge of crashing into the earth and destroying it forever. To stop the asteroid, earth sent out a spaceship to blow it up into smithereens and succeeded.
However, instead of that being the end of the story, it turned out that the debris from the asteroid was inhabited by alien microbes that carried a disease fatal to human beings within seconds of contact. This debris from the asteroid fell down into earth's atmosphere, mingled with the clouds and infiltrated the falling rain with the deadly microbe, thus making it a fatal poison to all of humanity.
As the very electrifying blurb on the back states, "It's in the rain. It's fatal, it's contagious, and there's no cure."
As the dead bodies pile up, the main character, a 15 year old girl named Ruby sets out on a cross country trek to find her father in London. Will she make it, or will some microscopic bit of this deadly rain kill her? Read and find out!
This is a first novel for the author Virginia Bergin. As with many newly published authors, she doesn't have a whole lot that she'd like to share with the reading public in the book itself. She does let us know that she's had "about a hundred jobs, including working as a writer on TV, online learning, and corporate projects." She currently lives in Bristol, England.
In contrast, her website is a lot more informative and you can locate it by clicking on the link below:
I think one of the more interesting points she makes is how much being a published author and having a best selling book has changed her life. I'm sure as she continues to grow and produce more work, she will have much more to say regarding that point.
Currently, Ms. Bergin's literary agent is Louise Lamont who works at the LBA Literary Agency in London, England. Her agent page is located at the link below:
H2O was originally published by MacMillan Children's Books in England. In America, the book was published by Sourcebook Fire. As I have mentioned before, Sourcebook appears to be a very creative and innovative publishing company that has published a considerable number of interesting and exciting books that enthusiastic readers just love to purchase. I have a great deal of admiration for that. I don't know what the dynamic is that's led to this situation, but all I can say is I give the company a great deal of credit.
I will comment as per usual on the cover design. H2O has an outstanding cover design--the page front is splattered with holes where toxic rain clearly ate through the cover and left dirty, green, brown, evil microbe debris behind--I'm not even sure if it is safe to touch it--just kidding! It also takes advantage of the shape of a drop of water to stretch the water image even further, just think, one drop of that drop you see, even less than that drop, will kill you dead!
Apparently, the cover was designed by Torborg Davern--and it is outstanding. He should be commended for it.
On the whole, in H2O Bergin does a great job of creating an insular world where the dead bodies are piling up, the toxic rain is falling down, and there is a dwindling supply of food and uninfected water left. Sometimes she almost loses it in scenes such as when she has Ruby, the main character, running around in flip flops after a deadly storm, but for the better part she stays consistent and convincing.
In the course of Ruby's journey, Bergin examines how different people respond to this crisis, some disgracing themselves, others tapping into a nobility of character you would never have thought them capable of. At turns terrifying, heartbreaking, and surreal, once you pick this book up, you won't be able to put it down until you've finish reading it.