Attack of the invisible zombies!
Alice Bell has never been an ordinary girl—she’s never been allowed outside after dark courtesy of her paranoid father and the monsters he sees everywhere. But after a terrible car accident kills Alice’s family, she begins to see the undead, too. Now living with her grandparents and starting a new school, Ali—she eschews her old name due to memories, grief and survivor’s guilt—can’t build a new life while being followed by her father’s demons. As if being chased by slobbering, decaying dead things wasn’t enough, Ali also navigates well-meaning if out-of-touch grandparents and the tension between her new social group and the rough crowd (more specifically, Ali’s interested in its leader, Cole Holland). The obligatory love triangle never threatens the main love story, but at least Ali’s friendships with other characters, especially her quirky new best friend Kat, are interesting. While using an Alice in Wonderland motif and established survival/horror video game staples (such as a gradually revealed journal written in code), Showalter creates an original zombie mythology and a completely new set of rules for the monsters to follow, as covered by the sometimes-clunky exposition. The climax is rushed, especially when compared to the pacing of the first act of the story, but action-packed.
Showalter has created a promising playground for future story installments. (playlist, author Q&A) (Horror/paranormal romance. 12-17)