Unlike the classic zombie-apocalypse scenario, humanity here hasn’t been completely devastated—in suburbia, life has adapted.
Post–zombie outbreak, people live behind gates or fences, students take a yearly health and hygiene class on the zombie virus, and firearms are commonplace in backpacks and cars. Courtney’s determined to escape the suburbs and attend college in New York—the government hopes the city will be habitable again—but her father will only pay for her college if she goes in-state. To fund her dream, she works at a local burger joint—and sells Vitamin Z (an illegal drug made from zombie brains). Then jock Brandon falls for her, crossing clique lines. Courtney vacillates between her old friends and Brandon’s popular world while hiding her drug dealing. Courtney’s smart and ambitious, and she makes terrible decisions. Comics author Gallardo nails her voice—likable yet self-absorbed. This rough world lends itself to drug dealing, partying, guns-blazing action sequences and unvarnished language, but it occasionally enables the characters’ emotional detachment, resulting in weak motivations for their actions. There’s an additional mystery about some smarter, faster zombies—seemingly left for the sequel despite heavy hints that make the answer seem obvious. Aside from that, the interpersonal drama strikes a comfortable balance with undead action.
More brains than your average zombie novel…and more entrails as well! (Horror. 14 & up)