Margot Jean Johnson and her best friend Sybil Mulcahy are nobodies. Amanda Culpepper and the Twigettes (her mindless followers) are the bane of their existence. All Margot wants is everything on her high school manifesto to come true: be more popular than Amanda Culpepper, have a boyfriend, be invited to parties, and just eight more things she hasn't attained yet. This all changes after the school carnival when all of her classmates have turned into zombies, except Sybil. Principial Taft convinces them to pretend that eveything is ok and coexist peacefully with the zombies. Who is behind the outbreak? Should Margot try to figure out what's going on or bask in her newfound popularity?
This book is a fun, light read. It's like a mixture of Mean Girls and Night of the Living Dead. E. Van Lowe captures the voice of a teenage girl very well. Not many males really know how girls interact with each other, so this is an impressive feat. Like in Mean Girls, girls are really not nice to each other. He shows how girls can tear each other down with just words. He also shows the weird dynamic between friends, both when they get along and when they don't. The popular crowd is full of false relationships and Margot, because she idolizes those "in" people, used this model in her relationship with Sybil. At first, she is kind of petty and jealous towards Sybil (who is nice to a fault). I think it takes talent to create a likeable character who does unlikeable things. The zombie situation makes her grow as a person.
The book was filled with funny moments. I laughed out loud when one of the defenses against the undead was to rap them on the nose with a rolled up newspaper. Also, the fact that they could get used to going to a school filled with zombies is just hilarious to me. The dynamic between Margot and her zombie boyfriend Dirk is creepy and funny. Even the fact that the principal practically begs Margot and Sybil to go along with his plan and they go along with it is pretty amusing.
Although on the surface, the story is funny and light, but there is a serious and important undertone. The girls are forced to blend in and not call attention to themselves to survive in the midst of zombies. To save the day, they have to break out of the cliques and do what's right. The message of the book is to do what's right for you and ignore what's cool or in. I think we need more teen books like this.