THE INFECTS by Sean Beaudoin


Age Range: 15 - 17
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A court-mandated hike becomes zombie flick, laden with 1980s pop-culture references.

Seventeen-year-old Nick's life could be better. Since his worthless father, the Dude, "Has Other Concerns" than buying groceries, Nick works at the chicken factory to earn food and medicine for his oddball baby sister. An accident at the factory leaves Nick jailed for...well, it's not clear what he's jailed for. Living in an unjust world, perhaps? Nick’s troupe of realistically foulmouthed delinquents are soon fighting off chicken-gnawing, entrails-chomping zombies at the top of a mountain, calling one another “fag” every step of the way. In prose that consists of far too many one-sentence and even one-word paragraphs ("Had to see. / If it was. /  Skoal. / Another step"), Nick has masturbatory fantasies about the hottest girl zombie, even while mooning over the object of his affections, Petal Gazes, a manic pixie punk-rock girl with anime eyes and a "Bauhaus" hoodie. Like Pete Hautman’s Rash (2006), this over-the-top boys'-prison-camp adventure resembles a grown-up Holes (1998), but lacks the heart and ultimate optimism of either. The sexed-up face-eating may please dedicated fans of the shambling undead, despite self-aware sarcasm that explicitly mocks the commercialism of current zombie fandom.

Gory horror that thinks nihilist incoherence is the same thing as edgy. It's wrong. (Horror. 15-17)

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5947-9
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2012


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