On the way home from a miserable—or, well, miserable for our heroine—high school ski trip in Scotland, a pit stop at the Cheery Chomper cafe turns more CHOMPY than CHEERY when everyone inside gets zombified.
Bobby, the heroine everygirl. Smitty, the bad boy snowboarder. Alice, the drama-prone mean girl. Pete, the science nerd.
The skinny (OH MY GOD, I CAN'T BELIEVE I JUST USED 'SKINNY' IN THAT FASHION. BUT I CAN'T THINK OF ANOTHER APPROPRIATE S-WORD AT THE MOMENT):
Remember those books you used to buy from the Weekly Reader book sale (or, if you're a bit younger, the Scholastic Book Fair)? You'd buy 'em, read 'em, enjoy them at the time, but they weren't particularly memorable*? Undead is one of those: competent, inoffensive (quality-wise; some readers may take issue with the gore), and pretty forgettable.
So might argue that, HELLO, IT'S A ZOMBIE BOOK, CUT IT SOME SLACK.
To which I say, NO. There are plenty of zombie books that have character development and emotional engagement and world-building AS WELL AS thrills and chills and gore. To suggest that we "cut INSERT GENRE/TARGET AUDIENCE HERE some slack" suggests that the standards should be lower for said genre or target audience. Which, just... no.
Anyway, I'm not saying it's BAD. Just forgettable. Although she's definitely got some legitimately funny lines—I wouldn't have thought it possible to nurse someone sarcastically, but Smitty pulls it off—Bobby's voice is snarkily generic at best and, despite all of the action, overall, it's somewhat boring: mostly because all of the characters are just sketched-in archetypes.
BUT! In re: the target audience: as many in that demographic will probably have read a few less books than I have, it's quite possible that younger readers won't have the same issues that I had. ALSO, HELLO: SCHOOL BUS AS IMPROMPTU FORTRESS. THAT'S AWESOME.
Basically, Undead has TV MOVIE written all over it, and not in a bad way.
And, oh hell, I'M SORRY, ONE LAST COMPLAINT. I've been trying to restrain myself, but I just CAN'T. THE COVER? I get it. I get what the designer was going for, I do. And at least it conveys the gore-factor. But it's just so very inaccurate in terms of the heroine's personality that I cringe every time I look at it.
So, lesson learned? I am annoyingly pedantic, even when it comes to semi-disposable fiction.
*That statement, obviously, is not applicable to The Girl with the Silver Eyes, which I read so many times that I had to buy multiple replacement copies.
Book source: Finished copy from the publisher.