Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Roberta is the new kid in school and hates it with every fiber of her being. She doesn't know anyone and just gets made fun of for sounding American. Her class is coming home from a ski field trip and they stop in a small Scottish town to have lunch in a cafe. Roberta decides to stay in the bus to escape her classmates. Lucky for her she completely avoids the ensuing zombie apocalypse. Her classmates, teachers, and random bystanders all collapse and then get up to eat living flesh. The only ones exempt are her, Smitty the rebellious troublemaker, Alice the cruel and popular queen bee, and Pete the very pale and unpopular nerd. Although they pretty much despise each other in normal life, they have to put aside their differences and band together to survive.

Undead is a fun zombie adventure, kind of like The Breakfast Club meets Night of the Living Dead. A bunch of teenagers that would never, ever spend time together in real life are thrown together and have to work together to live. Each of the characters can basically fit into a typical high school stereotype, but over the course of the book, they prove to be much more. Roberta spends a lot of time being angsty over her life. Some of her lamenting is legitimate, but it does get tiresome after a while. The zombie outbreak brings out a bravery and strength in her that she didn't even know she had. Smitty, although an annoying bad boy, proves to be self sacrificing and good at heart. Alice is a horribly annoying queen bee whose snide and insulting comments flow freely. Just because the world might be ending doesn't mean she's going to magically turn into a nice person, but she does come to feel some loyalty to their little survival group. Pete is very brainy and shy, but he gets to come out of his shell, really get to know the people around him, and put his knowledge to good use. Each character shows their true colors and is allowed to break out of the social constructs of high school.

 The novel has a good mix of humor and horror. The teens provide the humor with their scathing or silly comments and quips. The horror comes with the zombies and with other people. The incubation period for the virus varies greatly from seconds to hours, so it's hard to tell who is infected and who isn't. The bus driver helped them multiple times and fell into unconsciousness only to rise and try to eat them a little later. Random people keep backstabbing them and trying to lock them up for mysterious reasons, so the danger doesn't rest solely on zombies. These zombies are slow and constantly shuffling towards their prey. Their entire class turned into zombies plus everyone in the surrounding area that drank the zombie veggie juice. The big climactic zombie attack at the end is heartpounding and edge-of-your-seat exciting.

Undead is a super fun, entertaining, and exciting zombie read. I like how the people behind the zombie virus was revealed in the end and how it tied to our intrepid heroes. The only things I didn't like were the ending and the book cover. The ending felt very abrupt and was a cheap cliffhanger, which is frankly overused in YA books. The cover doesn't have a whole lot to with the book, seeing as there are no cheerleaders, and the tagline "Die young, stay hungry" doesn't really make sense. I will be picking up the next book, Unfed, as soon as I can.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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