|AUTHOR: Rusty Fischer
PUBLISHER: Medallion Press
PUBLICATION DATE: May 1, 2011
SOURCE: sent from author
GENRE: Humor; possibly horror because of the zombies, but it is not scary at all
RECOMMENDED FOR: MS, HS
OVERALL RATING: Highly recommended
SUMMARY: Sixteen-year old Maddy thought life as a high school student was tough enough, especially when students keep from her third period home ec class keep turning up dead. But when a lightning strike kills Maddy one stormy night, Maddy must learn how to function as a newly-undead zombie. Can she keep her secret from the county coroner, who is also her dad? Will that cute new boy hold her new goth look against her? Will she be able to save her classmates from evil zombies who threaten to kill them all?
WHAT I LIKED: Ooohhh, so much fun! Zombies Don’t Cry is definitely one of the more unique books I’ve read recently; come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever read a zombie romantic comedy. As I read, I kept thinking of the 80s comedy Beetlejuice, and I cracked up at the Beetlejuice reference in the last chapter. Like any good campy B-movie, ZDC shows a healthy respect for zombie lore without taking itself too seriously. Darkly funny and action-packed, Zombies kept me turning pages and laughing out loud.
I LOVE the “You Might Be A Zombie” quiz website Maddy finds when she is trying to figure out what has happened to her after the lightning strike (like any American teenager with a serious problem, Maddy Googles to find the answer–love it!). The questions and Maddy’s sardonic commentary kept me laughing out loud. Even better, the URL for the site is author Rusty Fischer’s website. Awesome.
Maddy’s character is easy to like. She is smart, bookish, sarcastic, and adjusts well to her new zombie status. I like that she is neither popular nor unpopular, but she is frequently overlooked because of her outgoing best friend Hazel. While not as developed as Maddy’s character, Dane and Chloe are likeable as Maddy’s new zombie friends and mentors. Antagonists Bones and Dahlia are evil incarnate, and their characters have little depth outside their desire to humiliate and kill everyone. I kept picturing Natasha from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show as Dahlia. Stamp’s character is not at all fleshed-out (pun intended); he remains a big cute (dumb?) jock throughout the entire story.
The novel’s timing kept me intrigued. At the very beginning, the reader knows Maddy is a zombie and that she is digging up a boy she cares about, whom she has bitten to create a new zombie. The reader does not know the identity of the mystery corpse-boyfriend-new zombie or how he got there. The story then backtracks two weeks, when Maddy is still an average high school girl. Some of the mystery of the story is who that boy is, how he died and became reanimated, and what will happen next.
Love the uncertainty of the very last scene! Sets up a great sequel, and I always dig a good love triangle!
With the right director, this darkly funny novel would make a fun Halloween movie for teens.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE: Most of my “didn’t likes” occur at the end.
I never liked selfish, self-centered Hazel, but her revelation to Maddie at the end is especially tragic. If what she tells Maddy in the girls’ restroom is true, Maddy’s whole social life was a lie. I’d like to know if she has always felt that way, or is her attitude at the end is just an effect of her own outcome?
The final fight scenes go on a little long; during what should have been an exciting climax, I found myself skimming.
One minor detail that got my attention: In the Prologue, the boy in the casket is wearing a blue tux. He is even confused about why he is wearing a blue tux. Why do his parents, who obviously adore him, bury him in a blue tux? Why are there so many blue tuxes when clearly no one wants one? Dane wears a blue tux to the dance because there are no more black tuxes left at the store. It’s really so minor, but it bothers me.
- Language: mild; a few S’s
- Sexuality: mild; some chaste kissing
- Violence: high; lots of blood and gore, murders, brain-eating–it is not meant to be horrific though, and I doubt it will keep anyone up at night.
- Drugs/Alcohol: mild; references to one party where teens probably drink
STATUS IN MY MS LIBRARY (GRADES 6-8): Author Rusty Fischer sent me a newly published copy of ZDC to review, and it is now going in my library. I have no doubt it will be popular, and I already know one 7th grade boy in particular I will recommend it to. We do get some requests for zombie books, and this one fits the bill easily. Great for middle or high school zombie fans.