How bad it is when you are hoping that the heroine of the story will die? That’s what I kept chanting in my head while reading H2O by Virginia Bergin. If Ruby was a secondary character that may have been tolerable, but when it’s the main character, that’s not a good sign. I kept trying to figure out if Virginia Bergin was trying to be ‘tongue-in-cheek’ clever about the foibles of the current teen generation, turns out this was not a clever satire. Ruby is on the other end of the spectrum from Katniss Everdean, there isn’t anything strong, self-sacrificing, sensible, or noble about Ruby, no-sir-e. Worse, there isn’t anything to explain her being a complete ass hat. Yes, her parents divorced after her Dad had an affair and his lover gave birth to Ruby’s half-brother. Yes, her mother remarried and Ruby doesn’t get along with her stepdad even though he’s not a bad guy. There’s really nothing to explain her shallowness unless Ms. Bergin’s message is that all youth are shallow? Lord, help us if that’s true.
No Ruby’s problem is even worse, she’s simply stupid. I mean the whole crisis in the book is that she needs to avoid getting rained on, no I am not kidding. It sounds stupid when I write that, but it’s true. The idea of water is what initially caught my interest to pick up this book, what with reading about the drought crisis in California, etc. I also thought it would be interesting as I live in a city that is known for rain, how would we cope with such a situation here? You see, this isn’t ordinary rain, it’s KILLER rain. Read that with a ‘Snakes on a Plane’ voice…it just sounds ridiculous, right?
The one plausible thing about this book was that the initial setting is the first warm and sunny day of summer in the UK. Having lived there for a number of years, it makes sense that almost every man, woman, or child would be outside on this particular day, the day of the Killer Rain. There is something in that rain that causes an Ebola type reaction, however, unlike Ebola where some have survived, no one exposed to this particular microorganism can survive it. The only ‘lucky’ people are the ones who happen to be inside and see learn what has happened. Ruby is at a party with her equally twit friends, in fact she’s busy getting busy with a boy when his father forces them out of the hot tub and indoors. She is so boy hungry that when her equally braindead squeeze decides to dash back outside to get his music, etc. so doesn’t try to stop him or raise the alarm, oh no, she actually kisses him when he comes back in. A minute later his skin starts peeling off, ewh, though that still doesn’t seem enough to kill the mood for this moron. It doesn’t seem to matter how many bodies she sees, all she can think about is getting her phone to text friends, hooking up with peely face, and her personal appearance. Yes, during moments when she should be gathering survival supplies in deserted stores, she is busy looting for makeup and trying on sequin dresses because that is something people typically do in an emergency, right?
She even runs across the school nerd and a little girl survivor and his smarts don’t rub off on her in the slightest. And you know that show, “Do You Think You Are Smarter than a Fifth-Grader?”, well in her case the answer is no, even the little girl shows more smarts when it comes to staying alive, such as not going outside unless covered head to toe.
I think even the author quickly realizes what a hateful annoying character she has created, so she tried to do a little damage control by having Ruby go around saving the dogs of all the dead people. However, even that doesn’t rehabilitate her image as she doesn’t seem bothered that one of the dogs has been chewing on a severed arm. No, she is too busy thinking about her hairstyle or something.
Honestly, I think the only reason I kept reading was hoping for some payback at the end of the book, where Ruby’s luck runs out and she dies horribly, I mean there has been a trend lately to kill off main characters in books.
No such luck