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Monday, September 21, 2009

ZOMBIE BLONDES By Brian James. New York: Macmillan, 2009.ISBN: 9780312573751

As the cover says: “They’re beautiful. They’re popular. They’re dead.”

What else is to be said about the monsters in this novel?

At the moment, Byronic vampires are the most popular beings in books for teenage girls. But zombie cheerleaders also have their fascination. What would you do to be popular, even when the most popular girls in town all look like anorexic Barbie dolls and are bullies?

You’d try to join them, of course, if you’re a teenage girl, especially one like Hannah Sanders, whose father is always on the run from creditors and moving to one hick town after another.

And because horror fiction has certain conventions, you’d ignore the warnings of a boy who has seen it all happen before. Zombies? Oh, come on now! And there are, let’s face it, only two possible endings for a book like this; as you read, see if you can work out which one it is -
a. she escapes town, after the new boyfriend has died to save her or, b. she doesn’t escape - her fate is sealed.

I would have liked to know who Lukas, the boy who issues the warnings, was. He didn’t seem to have any family - perhaps they’d already been eaten by the zombies? But he never mentioned it, only that one of the zombie cheerleaders was once a friend. So where were his parents?

For that matter, how did the zombie business begin? We never find out.

Never mind. This book is not intended for old cynics like me who have been reading horror fiction since Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives and Tom Tryon’s Harvest Home. It’s intended for the kind of teen girls who might well be wondering if they, too, would want to join a bunch of bullying zombies just to be popular. And this audience should enjoy it. It’s easy reading and not too long.

A nice scare for reluctant readers.

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