Two teenagers, Jed and Marina, have little in common beside the fact that their parents have joined a cult that believes that the world is about to end on July 27, 2000. All the families in this cult (called The Believers) have made a camp at the top of a mountain to wait out the Apocalypse.
There are, of course, problems. First, the apparent apocalypse is on Marina's birthday. The camp closed off after a certain number of people come in, leaving Believers who didn't get in to desperately protest outside the gates alongside non-Believer family members concerned about those who did make it in. And (of course) Jed and Marina are starting to fall in love.
This novel provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Marina's mom becomes a lot worse to her kids after they get to the mountain. This seems to be a result of her getting caught up in the whole religious craze, and she gets better in the epilogue.
- Adam and Eve Plot: Reverend Beelson hopes to do this. He even calls the women "Eves."
- Anti-Villain: Reverend Beelson is portrayed in a rather sympathetic light. Jed is surprised to see, when he talks to him, that Beelson genuinely cares for all of his followers even if his methods are quite questionable.
- As the Good Book Says...: Reverend Beelson does this several times, and Marina does it to.
- Bittersweet Ending: The apocalypse doesn't happen. Jed and Marina live. But a riot ensues the day of the supposed apocalypse, which kills the reverend and Jed's dad.
- Crisis of Faith: Both religious Marina and nonreligious Jed go through one. In the end, Marina finds herself losing her religion, while Jed finds himself becoming more religious.
- Cult: Jed and Marina's parents join one.
- Cult Colony: The Believers make an isolated mountain camp to live in during Armageddon.
- God Is Good/God Is Evil: Not surprisingly, the characters bring up a lot of metaphysical questions related to this answer.
- Heaven Seeker: The Believers.
- Hot for Preacher: Marina's mother is implied to be this.
- Noodle Incident: We never do find out what happened to the Reverend in those three years he disappeared.
- Sinister Minister: Reverend Beelson. But it's averted in person, when Jed talks to him. He doesn't appear to be a bad person, just a horrifyingly misguided one. He's quite calm about the possibility that he may be wrong, and even seems to hope that he is.
- 20 Minutes into the Future: Written in 1998 and set in 2000.
- Truth in Television: For those of you not old enough to remember, there was quite a large scare about computer bugs and the way computers store dates in the years directly preceding 2000.
- Turn of the Millennium: Set in this time period.