I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It by Adam Selzer
Young Adult, Romance, Zombies
Trade Paperback (DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS, 192 pages, $7.99)
Algonquin “Ali” Rhodes, the high school newspaper’s music critic, meets an intriguing singer, Doug, while reviewing a gig. He’s a weird-looking guy—goth, but he seems sincere about it, like maybe he was into it back before it was cool. She introduces herself after the set, asking if he lives in Cornersville, and he replies, in his slow, quiet murmur, “Well, I don’t really live there, exactly. . . .”
When Ali and Doug start dating, Ali is falling so hard she doesn’t notice a few odd signs: he never changes clothes, his head is a funny shape, and he says practically nothing out loud. Finally Marie, the school paper’s fashion editor, points out the obvious: Doug isn’t just a really sincere goth. He’s a zombie. Horrified that her feelings could have allowed her to overlook such a flaw, Ali breaks up with Doug, but learns that zombies are awfully hard to get rid of—at the same time she learns that vampires, a group as tightly-knit as the mafia, don’t think much of music critics who make fun of vampires in reviews.
Author Site: www.adamselzer.com
A Zombie Tale With Braaaains and Heart (4 stars)
Ali Rhodes is thisclose to getting out of suburban Des Moines, Iowa for good. Ever since the supernaturals came out of the coffin in defense of zombie rights all anyone can talk about is dating the undead. While everyone tries to win over the vamps at school with an overabudance of goth gear all Allie wants to do is move on from the 'burbs to Seattle where people aren't such idiots.
Writing for the school paper's music section puts the cynical and snappy teen into a pickle when she's asked to review a performance by the Sorry Marios, a band consisting of students from her school. But when guest singer Doug joins the Sorry Marios singing show tunes and sporting true goth flavor, Allie winds up on the fast track toward having a bonafide boyfriend. The only trouble is that Doug is a zombie and the vampires at school think she should have just a little more in common with her new love interest.
This is one of those short and sweet books that you can easily finish in an evening. But what it lacks in length it makes up for in being just plain good. At first I was a little skeptical of a first person narrative told by a teen girl but written by a guy. But Selzer manages to give Allie a voice that works even if it feels like she doesn't quite belong in her generation. There are a lot of likable pop culture references, especially if you're into show tunes (which I'm not but still found tolerable).
What I loved about this zombie story was the lesson here. Doug talks about how painful existing as a zombie is a lot. Drinking embalming fluid to stay "alive" is an interesting twist on your typical zombie story. It is because he's dead that he really appreciates living and the message there really hit me hard, gave me a little sniffle at the story's climax.
If you're looking for a good read for a rainy afternoon I think this one is perfect. I liked the humor, pop culture bits and the reminder that life is way too short so make the most of what time you've got. Highly recommended for non-horror zombie fans. Fans of Stacey Jay's Megan Berry books should give this one a read.
A Very Merry Shakespeare @ Amazon.com
Notes: I bought this book at an online bookstore.