By Daniel Waters
“Zombie” is not a polite term to use when referring to the Differently Biotic (DB) teens who inexplicably come back from death. Even more inexplicable is that this only happens to teenagers living in America. Could it be from all the preservatives in fast food? Too many video games? Aliens? No one knows.
Most of the alive, or Traditionally Biotic (TB), teens at Oakvale High are pretty freaked out by the DB kids in their classes and the new “DB Friendly” label that Oakvale just received. More than freaked out, Phoebe is curious. Specifically, she’s curious about Tommy Williams, a rather handsome DB guy in her class who seems to be able to function better than most of his DB counterparts. He even goes out for the football team and holds his own against giants like Phoebe’s best friend and neighbor, Adam.
Cue Teen Book Love Triangle. Phoebe is developing a crush on Tommy while Adam is discovering his undying love for Phoebe. At the same time, Pete, one of Adam’s teammates and the definite “bad guy” in the book, is determined to rid Oakvale of all zombies and isn’t afraid to hurt anyone, alive or not, who gets in his way.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but after reading the first chapter, it was hard to tear myself away. The action is nicely paced and the characters are quirky and well developed, which was a surprise to me. I’m not sure how you make zombies sympathetic, but Waters did it. He also developed the villainous Pete well. Even though Pete’s actions and intentions are based on ignorance and fear, he is believable and even a little understandable.
Waters is a talented world-builder and reveals just enough of the answers to the burning questions in the novel to keep pages turning. I had a couple of problems with this book, however. The novel itself had some grammatical errors that could have easily been fixed before publication, and a stronger editor would have realized that referring to characters by both their first and their last names, but not together, is confusing.
My main issue with “Generation Dead,” however, is one of focus. Waters builds the conflict of prejudice and acceptance using the relationship between Phoebe and Tommy as a way to set up the most extreme reactions … at least, that’s how I interpreted the Teen Book Love Triangle aspect of the plot. I was pretty excited that Waters wasn’t relying on the prolific formula: Supernatural Being and Human Romance + Action and Near Death Experiences = No. 1 Bestseller. Instead, he seemed to be focusing on good vs. evil and the very “teen” issue of finding acceptance within yourself and in your high school. I was giddy with excitement at the new twist to this age-old problem. Therefore, I was willing to overlook some of the weaknesses of the writing and grammar.
Then the book ended. It ended with quite a cliffhanger, in fact. But instead of ending with the epic battle of good (Phoebe, Tommy and Adam) vs. evil (Pete), it ended with the epic drama of Teen Book Love Triangle. I’ve read that story before and while zombies are new on the scene, the love triangle between a supernatural being and a human is certainly not.
Despite the ending, “Generation Dead” is worth the read. For those who love the Teen Book Love Triangle storylines, especially ones with supernatural characters, this book is well worth the read. I, apparently, wasn’t in the mood.
“Generation Dead” is appropriate for teens and adults.
Cari Boatright Rérat is the teen librarian at Joplin Public Library.
- Globe Life
Serious horseplay: Joplin attorney's horse places in worldwide showing competition
When the conversation turns to showing horses, Sarah Reeder's eyes begin to sparkle.
Ryan Richardson: Activities help beat the indoor blues of winter
After a double dose of kennel cough and chest congestion that put my dog down for the count for a week, I am wary of taking my dog outside during this latest cold snap.
Phyllis Seesengood: Voice on phone leads to Reacher's arrest in book
Jack Reacher, Lee Child's superhero-action character, returns to beat up the bad guys in the 18th installment of the Reacher series, "Never Go Back." Jack Reacher is an ex-military cop and a one-man wrecking crew, and people who try messing with him usually end up maimed or dead.
Fantastic plastic: Joplin woman's Barbie collection spans 35 years
When Toni LoPresti was 4 years old, a new doll hit the New York Toy Fair. Her name was Barbie, and she was a 12-inch-tall teenage fashion model wearing a black and white bathing suit, open-toed shoes, gold hoop earrings and shades.
Ryan Richardson: Advocates make Joplin great place for pets
I know I do most of the big things right with my dog, and I'm sure she is thankful for it.
Jacque Gage: Inspirational fiction changes for better
In recent years, there has been a fiction genre that's continually gotten more attention from the mainstream library press.
Rolling right along: Joplin skating rink reopens under new owners, new name
The blue concrete floor is no longer there. The wall-mounted movie scene murals of the gondola, the chariot, the carriage and log cabin are also gone. But spinning from the ceiling is a famed disco ball.
- SLIDESHOW: Take a Shot: extras of youth hunting Hunting is an important rite of passage for many families across the region. We asked for pictures of kids during hunting season for Take a Shot in the Nov. 24 edition of the Globe. We received so many pictures that we posted many of the extras online.
Frankie Meyer: Google books site preserves rare titles
Have you checked the website at books.google.com? The extraordinary site has the mission of providing online access to millions of books, some of which are rare and thus not accessible to most people by any other method. The site is often called the "card catalog of the digital age."
Danya Walker: Classic Doyle character fleshed out in novel
I always have a stack of library books checked out to read, along with a bookcase full of books I own that I haven't read yet. But occasionally I'll feel a longing to pick up a book that I've already read and enjoy it again, especially when I have a big stack of other books to read.
- More Globe Life Headlines
- Serious horseplay: Joplin attorney's horse places in worldwide showing competition