Monday, November 19, 2012

Book Review: Undead by Kirsty McKay

Title: Undead
Author: Kirsty McKay
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: Sept 1, 2012
Rating: 3/5

Cover Impressions:
Prior to reading the book, I kinda liked the cover.  The contrasting colors worked well together and I liked the image of the cheerleader/zombie killer.  However, having read the book, I don't like that the cover image doesn't feature the main character.  The cheerleader character is anything but kick-ass, and doesn't really deserve cover billing. 

The Gist:
During a school trip rest stop, Bobby hides out on the bus in order to avoid her heinous new classmates.  When they are emerge craving brains more than burgers, Bobby and a handful of survivors must fight to escape and to get to the bottom of the this strange outbreak.

I will admit, this is an odd choice for me.  I love recieving review copies from Scholastic, but this is one that I definitely would not have chosen on my own.

You see, I have issues with zombies.  I don't generally watch movies or tv shows or read books about zombies because they make me uncomfortable.  I know, that is kind of the point.  But, I find that I cannot relax with this type of fiction because I am constantly waiting for the next attack and I spend a great deal of time yelling at the characters to "keep moving", "look behind you" or "stop talking and pick up a freakin weapon!".  For the sake of a book that isn't all that bad, I will try to put my personal issues aside.

Undead opens with Bobby, who has just returned to the UK from living in the US for several years.  Her parents thought it would be a great idea to send her on a pre-school trip to get to know her new classmates.  Instead, Bobby has spent the trip counting the minutes until it is over.  When those same students mysteriously die and are raised as zombies, she is forced to cooperate with a cheerleader, an uber-geek and a delinquent in order to fight for survival.  Bobby is strong willed and determined.  She will take risks and has a very take charge attitude.  The other characters don't add a whole lot and were pretty one dimensional and forgettable.   

The plot featured some odd twists and turns.  There were times of flat out action, followed by lots of lag.  I also couldn't understand why these kids weren't better prepared.  Surely they have seen a zombie movie or two, so why weren't they grabbing food off the shelves and making weapons instead of wasting time having EVERYONE gather around to watch video feedback?  The storyline also featured an odd conspiracy theory that is never clearly explained - I was left with more questions than answers.  The humor in the writing just didn't work for me and the constant fighting among the teens got old fast. 

As with most Zombie books, this one suffers from a severe case of "anything that can go wrong - will".  I personally, find this incredibly frustrating.  I am left rolling my eyes and yelling "oh COME ON!".  It also featured the typical: Thank God we are safe - oh wait, we really aren't" type ending.

Clearly zombie books are just not for me but I can see where this would appeal to other readers, especially teens looking for something exciting.

Teaching/Parental Notes:

16 and up
Gender: Both
Sex: Kissing
Violence: zombie attacks
Inappropriate Language: None, Pseudo-Swears
Substance Use/Abuse: Underage drinking


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