Slacker Jake and beautiful high-achiever Amanda find themselves unlikely allies when they both turn zombie in the cafeteria of Ronald Reagan High School and eat most of their friends.
They leave the carnage behind and light out together, just steps ahead of the Necrotic Control Division, the top-secret military unit that seeks to control the zombie threat and conceal it from the general populace. The NCD’s secret weapon is Cass, a teenage psychic who can survey the devastation and telepathically track down zombies. But in Jake’s case, she finds herself, bizarrely, falling for him. Hart’s sexually transmitted zombie virus doesn’t permanently necrotize its victims; regular helpings of human flesh (rats or other animals will do in a pinch) help them heal from catastrophic injuries and seem normal—until it’s time to eat again. Jake and Cass alternate narration, Jake’s convincingly teenage, profanity-laced voice describing his increasing attachment to Amanda despite her rotten taste in music, and Cass’ revealing a lonely, isolated girl increasingly questioning the morality of her mission. Once readers decide to accept both a zombie virus and telepathy, they’re in for one hell of a road trip, one that’s funny, gross and scary in equal, alternating measures.
What will they find in zombie-controlled Iowa? Readers will be slavering for the sequel to find out. (Horror. 14 & up)