The Compulsive Reader: Supernatural July: The Big Blog Post of Zombies

Monday, July 13, 2009

Supernatural July: The Big Blog Post of Zombies

Zombies seem to have become the NEXT BIG THING! What with Maureen Johnson always talking about them, and the release of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (great, hilarious read!), people just can't seem to get enough of them (including me!). And I've got a nice little list of some great YA zombie reads right here, for your perusal.

First up, the very popular The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan:

Mary's world is a sheltered one. Confined by the fence that keeps the Unconsecrated at bay, her community must live out their lives in hardship, looking to the Sisterhood for guidance, hoping that there never will be a breach of the fence, and praying that they will be able to survive each harsh winter. When Mary's mother is bitten by the Unconsecrated and consequently turned into one of them, Mary is forced to join the Sisterhood. Strict and controlling, they don't take kindly to Mary's questions and do their best to isolate her. But despite her treatment, Mary learns things; things the Sisterhood isn't telling the community. And when these secrets ultimately bring about destruction on the community, Mary and a small group of survivors will be forced to venture into The Forest of the Hands and Teeth, in hope of finding life amidst so much death and decay.

Carrie Ryan's debut novel is an intense and frightening account of survival, life, and love, and a powerful book that toys with what it means to live. Mary is a very deep thinking and sensitive character, and her musings and contemplations are unique and oftentimes thought provoking. Ryan's writing is very descriptive, and her world is vivid, scary, and very real. The idea of a secluded society is an interesting one, and the mood and lifestyles of the community are believable and intriguing. Ryan builds curiosity in the beginning half of the novel by hinting at the Sisterhood's secrets, but unfortunately, she doesn’t develop the idea as much as expected.

Ryan's action scenes are fewer than you might expect, but intense and suspenseful, and you can't help but feel strong sympathy for the courageous and resilient characters who brave all odds in the hopes of finding shelter. Mary proves to be a leader, even as she questions her abilities and her own motives, although her questioning nature does get a little old and cause the book to drag a little towards the middle. However, Ryan proves herself to be a bold writer in the end, giving a conclusion that will leave you gasping and clamoring for a sequel. This romantic and chilling novel is intensely gripping.

Cover Comments: I love the colors used in this cover: the green-ish grays, and the darks, and the slash of dramatic-but-not-in-a-slasher-way red. I like the eerie-ness of it all, and the pose the girl is in...it's very intriguing. Overall, a very good cover.

The sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Dead-Tossed Waves, will be available on March 9th, 2010, so mark your calendars! Isn't the cover just great? Here's a synopsis:

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

If you're not into the very serious zombie stuff, check out Stacey Jay's lighthearted zombie series! The first book is called You Are So Undead to Me!

Megan's life was going great—she had a cool new boyfriend, Homecoming was coming up, and a shot at making the pom squad. Then the zombie showed up. Megan had thought that her Settler powers had faded the night of the accident five years ago, but apparently not. Now she's back comforting the Undead who crawl out of their graves and look to her to attend to their unfinished business.

But there's a slight problem: someone's been reanimating corpses, and sending these violent zombies to kill Megan, foiling all her Homecoming plans in the process. She's positive it is nasty Monica who’s behind it all, a fellow Settler who has hated her for years and is jealous of the attention that hunky Ethan has been showering on her. But before she makes her case to Settlers' Affairs, Megan will need irrefutable proof...and time is running out.

Stacey Jay has created one whirlwind of a novel. The idea of a secret society of Settlers who mind all the zombies in the world is a unique and fun one, and Jay does an exceptional job depicting it, despite the slightly shaky beginning. The overall tone of the book was very lighthearted, even during the more suspenseful scenes, and sarcastically witty. Megan is a vivacious and energetic character, although her narration may seem a little shallow (her constant obsession with how hot every guy is comes across as realistic, if not a little tiring) and a bit offhand. However, the structure of the book is solid and the mystery baffling. The added shots of hilarious lingo and zombie butt kicking action add the novel’s humor and give the book a steady moving pace. Jay offers just enough of Megan and her world to get readers interested, and has laid the groundwork for a sequel, Undead Much?, which will hopefully expand on Megan and her powers, sans the unrelenting boy talk.

And the sequel, Undead Much? comes out January 21st, 2010! Check it out:

It's been a few months since Megan Berry was betrayed by her best friend and attacked by RCs (Reanimated Corpses). Now all she really wants is a short break from her training to hang out with her boyfriend Ethan. But no such luck, because in between a zombie that just won't go away, no matter how many times Megan settles him, a group of super-fast, indestructible zombies, some crazy family secrets that are casting all suspicion on to her, and her former worst enemy becoming her friend, Megan has zero spare time.

Stacey Jay's follow up to her first novel, You Are So Undead to Me, has the same smart wit, quick thinking, and awesome zombie butt-kicking, but is also a little more serious. The continuous boy-craziness present in the prequel is toned down, and Megan is a bit more mature after being betrayed by the person that was closest to her. Nonetheless, Undead Much is filled with just the right amounts of teenage insecurities, angst, and romance to make it relatable, but is made all the more exciting by dark family secrets, mysterious forces, and a tempting new love interest. The book is slightly predictable towards the end, but Jay manages to surprise readers in the very end. Undead Much is engaging and riveting, a book you will want to tear right through!

Here's another modern day zombie read, but only creepier! I read it all in one sitting though, it was so engrossing!

Zombie Blondes by Brian James

If running away from your problems was an Olympic sport, Hannah's dad would be a champion. Always switching towns to avoid their creditors, Hannah and her dad end up at Maplecrest, a small town with lots of For Sale signs and plenty of odd citizens. Like the cheerleaders. Blonde, blue-eyed, and perfect, they're all zombies, and they have everyone in town in their control. And Hannah wants to be just like them, despite outcast Lukas's insistence that there is more to them than their spotless looks...

Zombie Blondes is an entertaining and innovative read with a magnetic voice that does a superb job at latching on to the reader. It's a mesmerizing and quick read that you'll want to read in one sitting. Hannah's insecurities, a result of her father constantly shuffling them from town to town, are believable and relatable, and her growing fears and uncertainties make for a suspenseful novel. Though readers will be willing to believe in zombies much more quickly than Hannah, but Zombie Blondes is never boring. The novel finishes with
a bang and will leave readers hanging in suspense, wondering what really happened, and what will become of Hannah. Zombie Blondes is the perfect blend of creepy, gripping, and heart pounding action!

And finally, a zombie read that is not only kind of creepy, but has a lot of cool messages about how bad discrimination is:

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

Phoebe and her friend Margi are used to being stared at and made fun of because of their unconventional Gothic style. But the tables are quickly turned and they are considered normal when certain teenagers throughout the country come back to lif e they don't breathe, eat, or function quite like normal teenagers, but they're alive nonetheless. And Phoebe's small town of Oakvale is becoming a haven for them, and a brewing pot for animosity, discrimination, and violence.

Things only get more and more tense when Phoebe bravely decides to befriend the "ringleader" of these living dead, Tommy Williams, dragging her friend Margi, whose reluctance to associate with any of the "differently biotic" kids has to do with the guilt and fear surrounding their friend Colette's death...and reappearance, and Adam, the football player who is head over heels in love with Phoebe. Their decision to do this isn't a light one, that's for sure, and they'll have to face far more than just petty discrimination: together with their differently biotic friends, they'll have to try to change the way their society thinks in a world where the differently biotic have absolutely no rights.

Generation Dead is one tremendous read. Phoebe is one brave, intelligent, and extremely admirable character. Waters's writing and imagination is gripping and engaging. Each reader will find themselves wrapped up completely in this unique and original story that is controversial and will challenge your thinking, and question what it means to be alive. Faced with adversity on nearly every side, this lively group of teens (no pun intended) will courageously face the new world in which they live, with an engrossing ending that will leave readers indignantly demanding more. Generation Dead is a profound, descriptive, and sensitive read that is sure to make waves in the young adult genre.

Generation Dead's sequel, Kiss of Life, is also now available! I can't wait to read it!

The phenomenon that's been sweeping the country seems to be here to stay. Not only are the teenagers who have come back from their graves still here, but newlydeads are being unearthed all the time. While scientists look for answers and politicians take their stands, the undead population of Oakville have banded together in a group they're calling the Sons of Romero, hoping to find solidarity in segregation.

Phoebe Kendall may be alive, but she feels just as lost and alone as her dead friends. Just when she reconciled herself to having feelings for a zombie -- her Homecoming date Tommy Williams -- her friend Adam is murdered taking a bullet that was meant for her. Things get even more confusing when Adam comes back from the grave. Now she has romantic interest in two dead boys; one who saved her life, and one she can't seem to live without.

And last, but certainly not least, Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby:

Quiet, unpopular, non-cheerleading Mia is blissfully happy. She is dating super hot football god Rob, and he actually likes her and asked her to prom! Enter Samantha—cheerleading goddess and miss popularity— who starts making a move for Rob. With prom in a few days, Mia needs to act fast. So she turns to her best friend, Candice, and decides to do a love spell on Rob.

Unfortunately, she ends up inflicting a zombie virus onto her whole class, making herself their leader! At first she is flattered that everyone is treating her like a queen. But then zombie hunter hottie Chase explains they are actually fattening her up, because in a few days, Mia will be the first course in their new diet. She’s sure she and Chase can figure something out, but she suggests that no one wear white to prom, because things could get very messy.

What are some of your favorite zombie reads?


Karen Veronica said...

I have to say I've always had a fascination with zombies and the undead trying to take over the world (ask my sister, she makes fun of me all the time because of it!). Thanks for this, because I didnt know of any YA supernatural books that extended beyone werewolves, vampires and ghosts. Thanks!

Sara said...

The Forest of Hands and Teeth and You Are So Undead to Me are both amazing. The sequels can't get here soon enough...!

Cecelia said...

If you haven't checked it out already, you should see http://septemberzombies.blogspot.com/ for the upcoming September Zombie Week plans and a few zombie-related contests that are already in swing.
I've also got a Pride and Prejudice and Zombies giveaway up at my blog right now: http://ceceliabedelia.blogspot.com/2009/07/pride-and-prejudice-and-zombies.html.

Thanks for the recommendations!

Amelia said...

Great post! Zombies don't get enough attention. I am eagerly awaiting several of the sequels you mentioned.

Diana Dang said...

I love Zombie Blonde! Zombies are my fave reads! Soulless rocks too!

suzie townsend said...

I loved Forest of Hands and Teeth and the sequel sounds interesting - I love both covers too :)

Breathers is also a really good, really funny zombie read.

vvb32 reads said...

yay for zombies! great reviews. not necessarily YA, but check out Breathers by S.G. Browne if you haven't already. It goes into rights for zombies. thanks for the cover reveal of dead tossed waves. my first time seeing it. exciting!

Jordan Sneakers said...

This blog makes me realize the energy of words and pictures. I am grateful that you let us look in! Keep coming up with ideas.

Michael the Voyance Web surfer said...

And for those who love zombies did u know even Marvel released comics based on zombies ! Should see Hulk, Iron Man and even Spider Man after they become zombies ! Weird and almost shocking...