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The Last Days of California by Mary Miller

The Last Days of California

by Mary Miller

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I was probably too old to appreciate this book and I also know that people should not believe anyone who thinks they can tell you when the rapture will occur. I suppose the author was making fun of those who do believe they can predict what God will do, but I hope that no teens reading this think they should try everything out there just because the world will end soon. ( )
  eliorajoy | Dec 2, 2015 |
In anticipation of the Rapture, 14 year-old Jess's evangelical father packs up her family and heads west toward California, with the goal of saving souls along the way. On their journey, Jess discovers her rebellious older sister is secretly pregnant, causing her to reevaluate herself, her family and her religion. Each stop will lead the increasingly splintered family down an unexpected, but welcome, path.

From the first pages of The Last Days of California, Miller's refreshing tone rings clear. Though they hand out tracts in their Jesus t-shirts, Jess and her sister argue with one another, listen to pop music and regularly question their parents’ authority. The novel's characters feel surprisingly real and avoid the strict stereotypes often used to summarize the evangelical.

Miller’s ability to point out recognizable quirks in everyday sights and moments fills her novel with a signature, contemporary voice that has power to propel a career. The Last Days of California is a smart-witted and brilliantly observant debut you won't want to miss.
- See more at: http://www.rivercityreading.com ( )
  rivercityreading | Aug 10, 2015 |
A story about a religious family travelling across America for the 2nd coming and the separate journeys of the two teenage daughters. Loved it. ( )
  SarahStenhouse | Mar 18, 2015 |
Wanted to love it because it reminded me a little of the family that my bestie Sarah grew up in. It was good enough to keep me reading even though the story never really went anywhere. Think it would have worked better as a short story. Interesting character development study of a damaged family overshadowed by parents obsession with the "upcoming" rapture. Also some spot on observations about modern day. Really enjoyed the observation main character has about God on page 14 in the hardcover edition. Ending does leave you with the hopeful feeling that this damaged family will make it through ( )
  mountie9 | Jan 25, 2015 |
I loved the narrative voice given to Jess, and the immediacy of her story, where every moment is painted with vivid detail. Miller's dry, sometimes sardonic sense of humor gives the story just enough of an edge, and the four family members trapped in the sardine can car on a road trip to witness the Rapture in California, keep tensions simmering and nearly ready to boil. And yet the sisters' conflicts are never predictable and the parents are never the cardboard antagonists they could easily have become. We develop sympathy for the mother and the father's weaknesses and inconsistencies, even as we get to know the two sisters through their rebellions: arguments about wearing their King Jesus t-shirts and misadventures with the boys they meet along the road. If anything, I might like to see a little more resolution of the issues of underage drinking, date rape, and teen pregnancy. The issues are there and portrayed realistically, but never quite acknowledged by the characters or resolved, though a full resolution might be too much to ask of the 15-year-old narrator. We are left with haunting questions that make this so much more than the typical road-trip novel. The changing relationship between the two sisters, and their understanding of their parents' humanity provide the heart of a story that will remain with you long after the road trip ends. ( )
  kdunkelberg | Jan 23, 2015 |
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For my parents, Dolores and Curt
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It was Wednesday and we hadn't even made it to Texas yet.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0871405881, Hardcover)

A teenage girl and her unraveling family travel cross-country in preparation for the Rapture in this radiant, highly anticipated debut.

With The Last Days of California, Mary Miller bursts into the literary world, taking up the mantle of Southern fiction and rendering it her own with wry vulnerability and contemporary urgency. Miller’s revelatory protagonist, Jess, is fourteen years old and waiting for the world to end. Her evangelical father has packed up the family and left their Montgomery home to drive west to California, hoping to save as many souls as possible before the Second Coming. With her long-suffering mother and rebellious (and secretly pregnant) sister, Jess hands out tracts to nonbelievers at every rest stop, waffle house, and gas station along the way. As Jess’s belief frays, her teenage myopia evolves into awareness about her fracturing family. Using deadpan humor and savage charm belying deep empathy for her characters, Miller’s debut captures the angst, sexual rivalry, and escalating self-doubt of teenage life in America while announcing Miller as a fierce new voice.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:45 -0400)

Fourteen-year-old Jess' beliefs falter when her evangelical father packs up the family, including her secretly pregnant older sister and her long-suffering mother, to travel across the country and save souls ahead of the anticipated end of the world.

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