Zombie virus? Check! Locked high school? Check!
Brian is a class-cutting, fence-hopping high school senior whose best friend, Chad, has a blue mohawk. They don’t fit in with the drama kids in seventh-period stagecraft class, which they take for the easy A. By the end of the period, a horrible, cannibalism-inducing virus has spread through the student body. The class barely manages to barricade part of the theater building—a setting Leveen uses to good effect. They use Brian’s smuggled cellphone to hear scant and ominous information from outside the school’s locked gate. Although Brian’s carved out temporary safety for their small group, Brian’s younger sister and his ex-girlfriend (with whom he might be on the verge of reuniting) are somewhere in the school. The diverse cast negotiates group management, plans rescue missions, and struggles to decide between waiting for a rescue that might not come or braving the killing field to try to climb the fence. Leveen keeps his story straightforward and fast-paced, with no padding but plenty of gore and deadly peril. It’s much faster than its zombie-peer novels but (aside from a slight spin on the virus’ workings) solidly performs in the genre instead of innovating.
Between the pacing and the heroes’ salty, blue language (full of lovingly creative, genital-inspired insults), reluctant readers who love zombies will devour it, right up to the abrupt end. (Horror. 14-18)