Teen filmmakers try to make the titular cinematic masterpiece.
Justin and his pals Bobby and Gabe have been making movies for a while now, but none has gained much traction. Their films have been poorly received on YouTube, and few of their fellow students show much interest in their moviemaking exploits. After their vampire movie falls apart, the trio resolves to go big or go home, and going big means making the greatest zombie movie ever. With a $5,000 loan from Justin's grandmother and the most popular girl in school as its star, Justin's film is off to a good start. But it doesn't take long for Murphy's law to take effect—in increasingly silly and exasperating fashion. Strand's penchant for tongue-in-cheek humor and witty repartee is on full display here. Justin, Bobby, and Gabe have numerous exchanges that will have readers chuckling, snickering, and laughing out loud. Unfortunately these laughs don't cover up the structural issues at hand. A few avenues turn into dead ends, making the thrust of the novel a bit muddled. Is this a story about the complications that come with following dreams? Is it a story about three friends growing older and apart with age? The novel doesn't seem to know, and while that doesn't ruin the fun, it does hold it back from true greatness. With ethnicity a nonissue, characters are white by default.
A funny and spirited romp. (Fiction. 12-16)