Friday, October 4, 2013

Undead by Kirsty McKay

Synopsis: Out of sight, out of their minds: It's a school-trip splatter fest and completely not cool when the other kids in her class go all braindead on new girl Bobby.
The day of the ski trip, when the bus comes to a stop at a roadside restaurant, everyone gets off and heads in for lunch. Everyone, that is, except Bobby, the new girl, who stays behind with rebel-without-a-clue Smitty.
Then hours pass. Snow piles up. Sun goes down. Bobby and Smitty start to flirt. Start to stress. Till finally they see the other kids stumbling back.
But they've changed. And not in a good way. Straight up, they're zombies. So the wheels on the bus better go round and round freakin' fast, because that's the only thing keeping Bobby and Smitty from becoming their classmates' next meal. It's kill or be killed in these hunger games, heads are gonna roll, and homework is most definitely gonna be late.

My Thoughts: A disappointing YA book that even my love of zombies couldn't fix.

What Worked: There were some parts I actually did find humorous. For example this quote: “I saw a bear once. I was peeing then, too.”(for some reason that really cracked me up!) and this one: “I grab at Smitty and he at me, and, for one horrible, desperately embarrassing second we fly into each others arms like Shaggy and Scooby Don't.”

The zombies were sufficiently gross and zombie like (no super fast uber zombies here) which was nice that it was traditional in that sense. It was also nice that the ending was a big shout out to cheesy horror flicks of yesteryear where the characters think they're safe and (cue the ominous music) Dum-dum-DUUUUMMMMM.....oh no they aren't...the end?

What Didn't Work: The humor...OK I know I said I thought some parts were funny but for the most part they weren't. Our 'heroine', Bobby is so snarky that after awhile of being in her head I kind of wanted to choke her. Her humor was her entire reaction to the zombie outbreak. Not many other emotions were involved in regards to her. Which leads me to....

The characters....Not one of them was interesting enough to make me want them to survive the zombie apocalypse. Not. A. One. Our 4 teenage 'heroes' are not friends and their constant bickering should have got them killed right away. In addition, these kids should have some knowledge about surviving a zombie outbreak. Granted, it's not a subject taught in school but when the opportunity arose to gather supplies and food they all sat around to watch surveillance tape of the last 24 hours. Um...Hello!!! Food and supplies first...then television. Any good teenager knows television comes after chores!

The first person present tense narrative also worked against this book because spending so many hours in Bobby's head was just annoying. This also lead to a big debate I had on Facebook with my friends on "Do teens today really use text talk in conversation?" I've heard people using OMG (oh em gee) a lot but do they really say "LOLZ" and "ROFL" in conversation? After talking with real teens I was told only douche-canoes do. Don't be a douche-canoe!

Two more things that worked against this book. 1) the gestation period on becoming a zombie was inconsistent. Those who ingested the 'virus' turned to zombie at different rates depending on the amount of zombie virus they ingested. This ranged from immediately to 2 days. OK got it. Now those who did not ingest but who were ingested (aka bitten) also seemed to gestate from immediate to 2 days. Consistency would have been great but sadly, it just wasn't there. AND B) No matter the situation, the kids managed to escape from being killed by extremely convenient circumstances. The topping on the flesh eating cake was when Bobby's mom, who apparently was not worried that her daughter was in the middle of ZombieFest for days, swooped in at the end and saved the day just in time, providing her daughter could follow through with getting her what she wanted first. Way to go mom! Gold Star for parenting!

In A Nutshell: Perhaps a teenager could enjoy this book, I am, after all, a grown-up. However, I have to mention that there are far better YA paranormal books out there that are written better and are more interesting. Zombie factor aside, if you're looking for a paranormal YA I'd check out Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor or The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting before Undead.
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