When the debut young-adult novel by Katie Coyle first saw print, it was in the United Kingdom under the title Vivian Versus the Apocalypse.
For its stateside publication, though, the young-adult adventure tale has been rebranded as Vivian Apple at the End of the World — a situation not unlike Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which the Fair Haven native cites as the book that supercharged her own literary ambitions into being.
The 2004 graduate of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School — since transplanted to San Francisco — makes a homecoming appearance here on the Green Thursday night when she stops in at River Road Books for a 7 p.m. reading and signing session timed to the book’s appearance under the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint.
Set in a dystopian near-future America ruled by an all-powerful church — and inspired in part by the apocalyptic religious cult led by the late Harold Camping — the novel details a quest undertaken by Vivian Apple, a teenager whose church-member parents have vanished in a “rapture” that may not be all that it appears to be.
Together with two of her friends, the modest yet heroic title character navigates a landscape “all too ready to place itself into the hands of a higher power,” in the words of an editor at the British publishing house Hot Key Books, which gave the 2013 novel that year’s Young Writers Prize.
Rolling Stone called the novel “quiet but powerful.”
Signing copies of Vivian will be available for purchase at Thursday’s appearance by the daughter of Fair Haven’s Ellen and Bill Coyle (email ahead to reserve, at email@example.com) — and the author’s UK publisher is taking e-book pre-orders for the followup novel, Vivian Versus America.