The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

July 3, 2009

Book review: Zombies add new twist to old problem

‘Generation Dead’

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.

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