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Armageddon summer

by Jane Yolen and Bruce Coville


Book Review

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Publishers Weekly :

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On the heels of Paula Danziger and Ann Martin's P.S. Longer Letter Later (Children's Forecasts, Feb. 16) comes another novel (on a very different subject) co-written by a pair of popular YA authors. The two alternating narrators, Marina and Jed, are both children of religious fanatics, so-called Believers who dedicate themselves to the Reverend Beelson. The Believers have brought their families to the top of a mountain to prepare for the end of the world, only two weeks away, according to Beelson. Marina and Jed are instantly attracted to each other, even though Marina believes the world really will end and Jed thinks the whole thing is a hoax. Their different points of view--and occasional interleaved "memos" from FBI agents, excerpts from sermons, etc.--yield a multidimensional description of cult dynamics and dangers. As Beelson predicts, there is a type of Armageddon on July 27, 2000 (Marina's 14th birthday), but, as Marina sadly concludes, it is one "made by man. Not by God." Yolen's and Coville's styles and narrative voices, though different, complement each other well, so that both protagonists emerge with the same depth and the action builds smoothly and steadily. Providing action, romance and a provocative message, this novel could well get teens talking. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Book Review

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School Library Journal :

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Gr 6-8-Reverend Beelson has called exactly 144 True Believers to gather on Mount Weeupcut in western Massachusetts to await the End of the World. Marina, her brothers and mother, and Jed and his father arrive on the mountain to be ready for Armageddon, which the Reverend says will occur in exactly three weeks on July 27, 2000. As the congregation prepares for the New Era, their campsite is turned into an armed fortification. As the frenzy of the Final Days swirls around them, Marina and Jed find in one another the voice of sanity and reason as they struggle to make sense of their lives and their beliefs. Marina wants desperately to believe in Reverend Beelson's vision of the world, but her own common sense and her reliance on the poems of Emily Dickinson force her to question the reality of his teachings. Jed, whose mother has run away from the family, is on the mountain because he feels he needs to protect his father, who has been devastated since his wife left. When the Day of Armageddon, though not the expected one, finally occurs, these young teens are able to get all of the children in the camp away from danger. Told in alternating voices, this gripping tale gives a close look at people caught up in events over which they have little control. Though coincidence plays some part in the plot, the book establishes a convincing and compelling scenario. The two protagonists are well developed. They find one another, fall in love in a delicate and convincing way, and ultimately survive.-Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA

Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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