The Rain by Virginia Bergin was terrifying and heart-stopping - I LOVED IT

The Rain (The Rain, #1)
Title: The Rain
Series: The Rain #1
Author: Virginia Bergin
Genre: Young Adult, Apocalyptic
Publication: July 17th 2014, Macmillan Children's Books
Pages: 386 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan Children's Books for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 🍰🍰🍰🍰.5
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.

I am an idiot. Do you want to know why I am an idiot? BECAUSE I DIDN'T READ THIS SOONER.
I've had this sitting on my Kindle for goodness knows how long and I'm chiding my younger self for not picking it up as soon as I got it. I actually got this out from the library as I wanted to read a finished copy and guys, it was so, so good. I was quite sceptical at first as I've read a lot of apocalyptic books and a lot of them blur together but I have a feeling that The Rain will stand out brilliantly among my memories of books about a ravaged world purely because it's of it's unique premise (of all the things that can kill you, I've never come across a single drop of rain being one of those things) , a character that is your typical teenager trying to survive in a poison-infused world and writing that had me laughing and smiling despite the turmoil that the characters (and me) went through. I loved this book and I sincerely hope that after reading this review, you'll pick it up because it's truly terrifying and so real (which makes it all the more terrifying. I don't know about you but every time it rains from now on I'm going to be slightly suspicious) but also funny too! I know that seems impossible but if you read the book - wink, wink- (subtlety isn't one of my talents, clearly) you'll see how brilliantly Virginia Bergin combines the devastating aftermath of an unsuspecting killer with the inner monologue of a fifteen year old girl. It's awesome, seriously. Read it.

So, The Rain is about rain (ha, betcha didn't see that one coming). Killer rain. If a few drops merely brush against your skin you begin clawing at yourself, tearing you to pieces until all that's left is a mutilated version of you. Which is utterly terrifying, especially as it's contagious. When fifteen year old Ruby first hears about the rain, she's outside, in a hot tub, at a cool party, finally kissing the boy she's been crushing on for ages. When her friend's parents arrive they have one thing to say: Get inside. It's in the rain. Which they do. Of course, no one takes it seriously at first because it's not something that should happen. That kind of stuff doesn't happen, until it does. After seeing one of her friends clawing himself to death, Ruby manages to get home – safe and sound and she thinks that's how it's going to be, until a few days later she finds herself completely on her own. All the shops have been trashed, all the water is gone, her neighbourhood is a ghost town. She has one thing in mind – get to her father and brother in London. If they're still alive. Accompanied by the nerdy Darius Spratt who she wouldn't normally come within 10 metres of, as well as a little girl accompanying him and several dogs Ruby managed to rescue, they make their way across England with a small spark of hope that they'll somehow find Ruby's family, provided they live that long, of course.

I LOVED THIS BOOK. Like I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did, I'm not sure why as I love apocalyptic novels (I don't know why as they're incredibly depressing but so good) and I was not disappointed. I often find doom day novels quite dark, heavy reads (well, obviously) but what I loved about The Rain was how light-hearted the writing was. I was, essentially, reading fifteen year old Ruby's thoughts. I felt her fear and her desperation and her annoyance. I was completely inside her head and I can understand why some people who read this might be annoyed because – despite being faced with an apocalypse – she still speaks about her crush, make-up, kissing and clothes and when faced with an expensive store filled with clothes she really wanted prior the apocalypse, she takes them. And she takes the make-up. She shops during an apocalypse and although some people might be like “That is so unrealistic”, I definitely think most teenage girls would do that. I loved how Ruby spoke of things that would seem trivial in an apocalypse because it added a lighter tone to the story and it made me laugh, which is good.

I really liked Ruby as well. She is a flawed character – she's selfish (and she knows it), she's one of the popular kids that cares far too much about social status and looks and she doesn't always think things through but then again, she is only fifteen and most of us weren't the best people at fifteen. I really liked her though, she has guts, she's funny and she's quite caring. I think because of her flaws, she was human and that's why I loved her. She was real.

There weren't that many other characters in this book as most of them were dead BUT there was Darius Spratt and Princess, who we didn't see that much of but who I adored anyway. I love Darius – he's me. The only reason he didn't get hit by the rain is because he was in his room studying and he's quite frustrated that the apocalypse had to happen now as he's spent the past two years revising for his exams – so his vexation is rightly justified. I also adored Princess and I hope we see more of them in the next book!

The dark, terrifying atmosphere of this book was portrayed in a perfectly bone-chilling manner. I felt the sick dread that Ruby felt when the rain began “Drip. Drip. Drop. Dead.” and I felt the eeriness slink from the pages of The Rain into the air in which I was breathing, dread and fear for the characters clawing at my heart. I felt Ruby's loneliness and terror sink into my bones – it's the kind of book where you are the characters which in this case isn't the best as every day is a fight for survival. I have to applaud the author on her ability to have her readers, including me, be so consumed by the story. Every beat of Ruby's heart was every beat of mine and that's the sign of an extraordinary novel.

If you love apocalyptic novels (and even if you don't) – read this book. It's harrowing, it's heartbreaking (seriously, the dog scenes? MY HEART BLED) and it's terrifying as the one thing we need to survive is completely ravaged. Despite the dark atmosphere, The Rain will make you fall in love with its feisty, funny, flawless and fabulous self. I absolutely adored this book – and I'm sure you will too!