Friday, May 4, 2012
Roaring Brook Press, 2011
April 1st, 2012
Genre: Realistic, Horror, Humor
Description: Wil has had some trouble coping since his older brother Graham dies from a sudden asthma attack six months ago. To cope, he and his friends created Zombie Tag—a game in which one player is the zombie and the others try to find off his bite with spatulas (which mystifies their parents as they can’t understand the sudden disappearance of so many spatulas). Soon Wil is obsessed with zombie culture and tries to learn everything he possibly can about zombies, including the history of the one and only zombie infestation that occurred in their own town some 30 years ago. However, no one wants to talk about that event. When he discovers that his best friend’s dad, who has a really odd government job, might be in possession of the mythical “bell” that calls forth the dead (luckily in just a five-mile radius) and has hidden it somewhere in his house, Wil decides to try to plan a game of Zombie Tag at Anthony’s so he can have an excuse to search the basement—the most logical place he can think of hiding something so dangerous. Lucky for him he does find it, rings it 10 times like the rumor says, and the dead begin rising. Some people are ecstatic—like Wil’s parents who are happy to have Graham back—while others fear the zombies and their apparent invincibility. Soon Wil realizes that it might have been a bad idea to wake the dead when he realizes that Graham really isn’t himself—he has no emotions and doesn’t seem to care about anything anymore. Should Wil be selfish and keep Graham alive or should he give Graham the bell which quite possibly could reverse the effects of the bell?
Opinion: What sounds at first to be a funny story about a dead brother coming back to life turns out to be a very unique and poignant tale of living and dying. Wil’s emotions are true to life—he does everything he can to bring Graham back but Graham is different now and he can’t change that. The idea of a zombie infestation that previous happened that no one wants to talk about is also fun and mysterious. The story also provides a different non-horrific twist on zombie lore (none of the zombies eat brains—they can eat normal food). It’s a good book that takes a serious look at grief but with a humorous twist.