Let me start off by saying that I don’t do “reviews” and I
stalk follow Adam Selzer on Twitter. When I first saw the name of his book, I knew I’d have to get it, and I started stalking following him. He, however, didn’t really know me from Adam uhh… other followers and this recommendation is unbiased, and I bought my book at retail price on Amazon. By the way, while I judge books on their covers ALL the time, unabashedly, this is the first time I’ve felt a book’s cover demanded it be bought. It lived up to my high expectations.
Algonquin “Alley” Rhodes is part of the “vicious circle”—a group of seniors in high school who run an online paper. Alley is the school’s music correspondent… and she is cruel if accurate. She’d already written the review of a local band almost entirely before they even took the stage. Well, they sucked as she expected. What she didn’t expect was to fall hard for their soft-spoken guest singer, Doug. Doug croons the classics of Cole Porter and Leonard Cohen into life… which is ironic because, as Alley is the last to figure out, he’s dead and has been for years—NOT that there is anything wrong with that. The whole post-death population of the world has “come out” and there are groups of girls at school just dying to date the post-dead. Alley has always mocked them, in fact. A member of the vicious circle is falling hard and learning quick that loving someone means being okay with the facts that they always wear the same suit, smell a bit funny, and they’re a zombie. Quite a few people want Alley to “convert” and join the undead—Will, the local vampire stud, is among them. Alley has to make some tough decisions by the end… including whether she wants to avoid her own.
Foremost what impressed me was that Adam nailed the female first person narrative. Alley’s voice was authentic and consistent. She was humorous and flawed. The style of humor reminded me of Christopher Moore’s vampire series which I’ve really wanted to recommend, but the swearing and depth of sexual content of those books… made it impossible. This book has the same sort of satirical humor, and I can whole-heartedly recommend it. What I love about male writers is that they don’t get caught in some of the romance traps that female writers do. Romance doesn’t always work out when it shouldn’t… and there is a good dose of reality. It was fascinating to see how he wove in the actuality of a flawed first love with the fantasy elements. This is not Twilight where things work out regardless of whether they should… and the obsessed vampire with the glorious cheekbones gets the girl. This is the reality that first loves don’t work out but life does and there are growing experiences. It’s a coming-of-age book… through falling in love with an age-less undead. (Okay, so that might not be a realistic path for most teenagers.)
Also *Possible Spoiler* you know that I don’t read sad books. This book does not end happy… but it ends right and satisfying and the book is not unhappy or sad, in my opinion. I think this is another of the traps that female writers fall into. Love doesn’t conquer all… forever. Alley’s life changes for the better, and THAT is your happyish ending. I put down the book thinking, “Yeah… right on. That’s how it should have ended.”
If you do buy this book… and you should… be prepared for people to sit and stare at the front cover and even crouch beside you to try to read the back. I read it in LAX and on the plane and wound up just holding the book upright so people could see the cover easily. I didn’t think you could “sell” a zombie romance though after
stalking following Adam on Twitter… I knew his humor might carry it off. He did it. This zombie romance is more believable than most of the contemporary YA books I’ve read recently. Unfortunately, I’ll have to “out” myself on Amazon now because this book deserves every positive review it gets. Dang it. I love anonymity.
Two zombie thumbs up.