Dani Peloquin's Reviews > Armageddon Summer

Armageddon Summer by Jane Yolen
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May 11, 2012

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The plot follows two teenagers, Jed and Marina, as their parents drag them into a millennium cult known as The Believers as they prepare for the world to end on July 27th. The Believers, led by a reverand from Boston, decide to camp on a mountaintop in western Massachusetts where they believe they will be saved from the end of the world. The story is told in alternating voices between Jed and Marina who meet on the mountain and consequently fall in love. Neither teenager believes in the mission of The Believers but they both follow their parents in order to protect them and their siblings.

Many may not view this work as a distopian novel because it is set in present day and does not have any fantasy or science fiction elements. However, it is perhaps scarier than the "traditional" distopian works because it is set in the present day and concerns a social issue that could easily arise within our lifetime. What makes this book a distopian novel are The Believers who remove themselves from conventional society in order to build their own distopian civilization at the top of the mountain. As is with all distopian societies, The Believers come to a tragic and brutal end. Though the reader can see something horrific apporaching on the horizon, the ending is still a surprise.

Many adult readers may disregard this book because it is marketed to young adults. However, I found the novel to be an excellent read for all ages. There is, of course, a young romance between the two main characters that can be annoying at times but the majority of the book focuses on The Believers' rise and fall as a society which is extremely fascinating. I would recommend this work to any person interested in dystopian literature regardless of age.

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