Review: H2O by Virginia Bergin

H2O by Virginia Bergin

It’s in the rain…and just one drop will kill you.

They don’t believe it at first. Crowded in Zach’s kitchen, Ruby and the rest of the partygoers laugh at Zach’s parents’ frenzied push to get them all inside as it starts to drizzle. But then the radio comes on with the warning, “It’s in the rain! It’s fatal, it’s contagious, and there’s no cure.”

Two weeks later, Ruby is alone. Anyone who’s been touched by rain or washed their hands with tap water is dead. The only drinkable water is quickly running out. Ruby’s only chance for survival is a treacherous hike across the country to find her father-if he’s even still alive.

Title: H2O (The Rain #1)
Author: Virginia Bergin
Publication date: 2014

I received H2O from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

It’s a holiday and everyone in the country seems to be having a barbecue, which means there are a lot of people outside when it starts to rain. Not really a big deal, right? Except this time the rain is poisoned and anyone who was caught in it dies a horrible, painful death. This book gave me nightmares, not about dead bodies (although there are plenty of them) but about the possibility of this type of thing happening in real life.

Ruby’s away from home when the rain starts, but she’s able to get home to be with her family. It’s touching that Ruby finally gets to know her stepfather Simon as a person. They don’t have the best relationship before the rain, but with only each other to rely on, they have to work together and they become a lot more comfortable with each other. It’s sad that it took the end of their world for that to happen, after living in the same house for years. Over the course of a few days, he reminds her over and over to THINK before she acts

And then he’s gone too, and Ruby’s alone.

Animals in books always worry me, and that’s especially true for books like this. And I had reason to worry. *sigh* Animals don’t seem to be affected by the water, but they’re left behind as people die off and they’re vulnerable. Some have no chance at all. They’re chained up or locked in houses with no one to feed them or provide water. Ruby rescues or at least releases the ones she can, but she doesn’t prove to be a very capable pet owner.

Ruby makes A LOT of mistakes. (See animals, above.) In spite of Simon’s “THINK” mantra and everything she’s seen, Ruby is constantly stepping outside without looking to see if it’s raining. Fortunately, it usually isn’t and when it is, she’s still shielded by the overhang of the roof when she realizes her mistake.

H20 is written as Ruby’s diary, so it’s conversational and she goes off on tangents. It gets a little annoying that Ruby is still obsessed with popularity, her “boyfriend” (a guy who she made out with at the party — and who was the first person she knew to go out in the rain), and her looks when everyone around her is DEAD, but in some ways it’s understandable. I hate this phrase, but Ruby hasn’t had time to process what’s happened. She’s too busy trying to stay alive — and it’s a hard thing to face. She needs that bit of normalcy in her life. And she’s not the only one. When Ruby enters a department store for some new clothes, she meets other people in the store doing the exact same thing, and later runs into a whole group of people dressed up and carrying shopping bags. They can finally have anything they want, even items they could never afford in their previous lives, and the opportunity is too good to pass up.

I love that this book shows the event as it’s happening. Many dystopia books (most or all of the ones I’ve read anyway) start months or even years after the event. Sometimes the characters have even grown up not knowing any other way of life. It was their parents or grandparents that went through it. I really like the background of the killer rain. I’m not sure anyone would actually figure it out as quickly as they did, but there’s a scientific explanation given for it. I also have the second book and am reading it next. I can’t wait to continue the story.

four and a half stars



  1. I’ve been on kind of a break from dystopia this year…maybe because I read so much the past couple of years. This looks promising though. It may be time to make up with dystopia.
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