Two friends combat a zombie invasion in this middle-grade novel.
When Johnny wakes up for school one morning, he assumes it will be a normal day. Sure, he had a creepy dream the night before, but it was nothing that his mother couldn’t fix. The day starts out like any other—he gets on the bus; says hello to Ms. Eisenstein, the driver; and pinches his friend Alex, who is weirdly catatonic. At school, she drops the boys off, and everything is strangely desolate. That’s when Alex and Johnny see it—a grotesque humanoid monster, dripping green goo and searching for human flesh. It even consumes the basketball coach right in front of their eyes. Alex and Johnny find Ms. Eisenstein, who drives them into the woods to escape, but when she crashes the bus, they all think they’re goners. She disappears, and Alex and Johnny must concoct Plan B. Alex is soon taken by a zombie, but not before the boys find out that the monsters can be defeated by fire. Johnny tries to confront the zombie leader, who turns out to be Ms. Eisenstein. She’s plotting to erase the town of humans, but Johnny vows that he won’t let that happen. Can he defeat this plague of zombies and get his friends and family back? Shah’s (Bradley Boogers Slides Down the Nose Cave, 2016, etc.) tale is certainly imaginative, but it is definitely too gruesome for younger readers. With passages describing zombies eating Johnny’s friends and various townspeople, it’s sure to cause a nightmare or two. Luckily, for older kids, the work is a frightening delight. The author paints a wonderfully disgusting image of a zombie assault, and readers (especially horror fans) should enjoy the episodes of Johnny and Alex trying to avoid these subhuman creatures. The one caveat? The book would have been more intriguing if the zombies didn’t speak—they are particularly brainless creatures, and it’s more chilling if they don’t have ulterior motives for consuming a whole town of people. But overall, this spirited novel offers an engaging introduction (or return visit) to the world of horror—just get ready for young readers to start clamoring to watch The Walking Dead.
A spooky, scary, and satisfying horror story.