Reviewed by: Candace
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
I’m going to preface this review by saying I’m generally not a YA reader. And by generally I mean not at all. Given that this is a Gena Showalter book (Gena won me over with Maddox, the Lord of the Underworld who was the first PNR character to make me cry), I gave it a shot.
Let me tell you, this is a book that adults can get into. You start out with Alice, who for her 16th birthday asks her mom to talk to her dad about going to her little sister Emma’s dance recital that night. The problem is that her dad sees monsters and refuses to go out after dark. At the beginning of the book, he comes off as a conspiracy theorist, like he’s got a nuclear-grade safe room in his basement and has hacked into the CIA’s website so he can be two steps ahead of The Man.
This is not the case. Alice’s father had a very valid reason to make his claims and after the unfortunate deaths of every member of her immediate family, Alice realized her father was not crazy and that she could see the monsters, too.
Showalter hits a home run with her heroine. Alice Bell, post tragedy, redefines herself as Ali. Now under the custody of grandparents who never quite understood her father, Ali finds herself in a new school, facing the nightmarish condition of making new acquaintances and learning new ropes when all she knew previously were the extremely stringent conditions set by her father.
Enter Kathryn, Kat to those nearest and dearest to her. Kat is funny, snarky and is a phenomenal BFF to Ali. But Kat is a bit more complex than initially meets the eye. She provides comic relief, but Kat tugs at your heartstrings toward the end and leaves open questions for the next book. Cole Holland fills the role of bad boy. His intro comes with warnings to Ali from Kat and her circle of friends that he should be avoided. Cole and his group of would-be bad boys are initially off-putting but as Ali now understands, appearances are very deceiving.
Cole and his friends are actually much like Ali and her father – they see the monsters too. Cole is the one who tells Ali that the monsters are actually zombies. Cole’s ripped physique, brooding manner and violet eyes set him up to be the one that girls will undoubtedly swoon over.
Side note: Cole’s father’s name is Tyler. This bugged me. The hottie’s name is Cole and his father has a name that sounds much like someone I would have babysat. Bad form. Name the father Jeffrey or Brian or David, something that doesn’t sound like he LOLs with his BFF.
The major conflict of the story belongs to the zombies. There are two factions fighting the zombies: Cole’s group (Ali’s dad was on their side) and the rogue group who wants to control the zombies. Surprise members of this group will shock you and let’s not forget, multiple characters have died along the way. Dead characters make wonderful setups for zombies. Hmm…..
Ali’s ability to see the zombies is not her only power. She doesn’t know why yet, but Ali is destined to fight the zombies and Cole is game to help her. A loved one’s ghost shows up all throughout to help. And the good guys have another two years of high school in a community that seems to be a mecca to zombies.
There is fantastic story here with untold possibilities. I’m saying it now: When book two comes out, I will read it. Ali and Cole, Frosty and Kat, Tyler (the dad with the boyband name) and all the other characters have been set up for all the action that Gena can throw at them. I, for one, can’t wait.
Sexual content: Kissing, heavy make-out sessions