Undead by Kristy McKay
Publisher: Chicken House
Genre: Horror (Zombies)
Overall: Undead is fast pace and filled with humor. It feels like its a movie rather than a book – I could picture every scene in my head perfectly. I’ve been looking for a different kind of zombie novel, and this one at least gave me a new angle. What would the zombie apocolaypse be like viewed from the eyes of a sarcastic teenager?
Undead stars Bobby, a girl who’s lived half her life in the UK and half in USA. She doesn’t like or know any of the kids she’s on this trip with, so she doesn’t get upset when most of them become zombies. What she does care about is figuring out what the hell is going on. This was a very fast read for me and I would have given it five stars because it entertained me in the same way Goosebumps did 10 years ago. However, I was so freaking annoyed by the injuries. Very early in the story most of the characters receive very serious injuries. Bobby hurts her leg so bad that she can see the bone, yet somehow she was able to walk, skip, jump, run, etc throughout the novel without difficulty. Later on in the novel Bobby hurts her hand. She doesn’t mention it again. Pete gets a piece of metal or something rammed into the side of his head so hard that he’s all bloody and the skull is cracked, and yet he is still fully functional and actually the brainiac of the group. I can’t take such a blatant disregard to logic. Major points deducted for that amateur mistake.
Characters: The leading four characters are all pretty stereotypical but it doesn’t feel that way while reading the book. There’s the new girl, bad boy, popular girl, and nerdy kid. My favorite part about Bobby was her indifference and sarcasm. I think that’s how I was as a teenager. It kills the horror of the book, but boy was it made up by the laughs. I also like how she DOESN’T like any of the other characters at all – for the first part of the book. There’s no instant love here. The other characters are Smitty, Alice, and Pete. I really thought there was more going on to Pete than met the eye. I heard there’s a sequel coming out soon so maybe we’ll find out more about his background there. There wasn’t really much depth to the minor characters and I actually didn’t even know much about Bobby until the last couple chapters – big wow at the end.
Plot: Typical zombie book. End of the world. Shoot them in the head. No real hope that everything is going to be okay in the end. I did like the setting, which mostly takes place on a bus and in this truck-stop place. There aren’t really any subplots. There’s a little bit of romance but it’s very mild compared to most YA novels.
Ending: If you’ve read Goosebumps, then you know how this ends. With a creepy twist. It’s open-ended and there’s a few questions left unanswered. I’ll probably buy the sequel when it comes out, since it was still a fun read, but this book is far from perfect.
Out of sight, out of their minds: It’s a school-trip splatter fest and completely not cool when the other kids in her class go all braindead on new girl Bobby.
The day of the ski trip, when the bus comes to a stop at a roadside restaurant, everyone gets off and heads in for lunch. Everyone, that is, except Bobby, the new girl, who stays behind with rebel-without-a-clue Smitty.
Then hours pass. Snow piles up. Sun goes down. Bobby and Smitty start to flirt. Start to stress. Till finally they see the other kids stumbling back.
But they’ve changed. And not in a good way. Straight up, they’re zombies. So the wheels on the bus better go round and round freakin’ fast, because that’s the only thing keeping Bobby and Smitty from becoming their classmates’ next meal. It’s kill or be killed in these hunger games, heads are gonna roll, and homework is most definitely gonna be late.
Combining the chill of THE SHINING, the thrill ride of SPEED, the humor of SHAUN OF THE DEAD, and the angst of THE BREAKFAST CLUB, Kirsty McKay’s UNDEAD is a bloody mad mash-up, a school-trip splatter-fest, a funny, gory, frighteningly good debut
This book is great for those who want their zombies young and sarcastic.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Netgalley) in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
(Picture and bio information borrowed from author’s website)
I grew up in the North East of England, but I don’t sound like it (except when shouting at the footy). Now I live in the North East of the USA, another place full of crazy sports fans with mad accents. In between the two I lived in London – mainly in the North East of London, actually – do we see a pattern here..?
I trained as an actor at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and trod the boards for a few years, then became a producer, running my own touring theatre company. It was during this time that I started writing plays for children and pantomimes, some of which are still being performed today. In fact, if you watched a panto at a school in England any time over the last twelve years, there’s a pretty good chance that I wrote it. (That’s if it was any good. If not, then it was definitely not one of mine.)
In 2008 the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators named me a winner of their search for new writers, and published my work in their inaugural anthology, Undiscovered Voices.