Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cruise of the Undead (Zombies in Paradise #1)

Cruise of the Undead (Zombies in Paradise #1)
Laura A. Hansen
CreateSpace, 2012
$9.99, Softcover

Genre: Horror
Age: 12+
Description: Fifteen-year-old Charlie is mad that his parents have wasted a perfectly good Christmas break by forcing him and his little brother on a boring cruise with a bunch of old fogies. However, after a few days at sea the old people end up being a piece of cake compared to the dead people. After seeing Harry the ship magician bit by a rat he brought aboard in Mexico during his show and then later getting lost in the under berths of the huge ship and seeing Harry, who is supposed to have died from an infection, he believes Harry is a zombie. Unfortunately for him, no one believes him. The adults on board even have trouble believing after a gruesome attack at the Death by Chocolate Buffet convinces Charlie that the dead are walking the ship no matter how crazy it sounds. With the adults in denial, Charlie, his brother Jack, and their new friend Savannah must forge a zombie-fighting alliance and save the inhabitants of the cruise from becoming the next victims.
Opinion: I came across this novel when my boyfriend (also a YA librarian) handed it to me. It was donated to his library and is written by a local YA author. Since it is self-published and I can read faster than him, he asked me to read it and give him my opinion on whether or not to add it to the collection. First, it does read pretty quickly. I read it in two days. There is a negative stereotype among self-published books and since Hansen does have a Ph.D. I kind of was hoping for a little better writing than most. While her grammar is good (the only major things being some formatting errors—missing quote marks, un-indented paragraphs—the writing style is pretty simple and not complex. It kind of reminds me of a longer hi-low book for teens. The thing that bugged me grammatically was the use of underlining words instead of putting them in italics. The plot was fun and the characters were fun. The teens could never get away with doing what they did in the story because it just wasn’t realistic (essentially they all save about 1,200 of the 1,600 passengers and 16 of the 600 crew members from a zombie death). I would recommend putting it in the collection as the back cover copy will get teens to pick it up and read it (if they can get past the somewhat cheesy self-published cover art) and it is also a good title for reluctant readers or struggling readers and is a safer title to offer to young readers who are obsessed with zombies but their parents don’t want too much blood and gore. It was a fun read. I’m getting it for my library and, in fact, have invited the author to come to a mini writers conference that I am trying to set up for my teens with some YA authors for this upcoming summer. She is working on a sequel.

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