A high-school freshman learns that she’s one of a group of women who fight evil beasties in her supernatural town of Nightshade, Calif.
In this sixth installment of the Dead Is… series, Jessica discovers to her dismay that she’s a “virago,” a woman warrior destined to fight paranormal baddies. Jessica worries, too, about her very best friend in the whole world, Eva, who’s been acting strangely since she discovered a new perfume from the town’s brand-new business establishment. Jessica also finds herself attracted to Dominic, the hot new singer in the hot new band, who’s really, really cute, while she’s juggling dates with Connor, who really seems to like her. Meanwhile, Eva joins the groupies hanging around creepy Edgar and becomes ever more hostile toward Jessica, even trying to bite her. It seems that Edgar’s perfume turns girls into zombies. Now Jessica has to find a cure and drive Edgar out of town. Stuffed with enough characters to sink a boat, this outing will please established fans, and new readers should be able to figure it out. Perez keeps things super simple by throwing declarative sentences onto the page, but she manages a light tone and some comedy. It all has a decidedly middle-school feel, but it can also appeal to older readers, with its breezy style and comic-book plot.
Fun for the right audience. (Paranormal suspense. 10-16)