Book One in the Undead series.
Published September 1st 2011 by Chicken House
Bobby and Smitty are on a Scottish school ski trip. On the way home, the group stops at the Cheery Chomper cafe for some lunch, but they stay on the bus – Bobby because she is new and wants to be left alone and Smitty because he’s a Bad Boy. After a short while, popular girl Alice comes running out of the cafe, clearly distressed. When she gets onto the bus, she tells Bobby and Smitty that everyone is dead, including their teacher – even though he was trying to bite her. Soon, the students start shuffling out of the cafe, hungry for flesh.
After catching up with one other surviving classmate, Pete, the four teens start to wonder just how many people have been infected – is it worldwide? or just close by? They just need to survive until someone comes to rescue them … that is, if there’s anyone left out there.
If you like reading about teens stuck in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, then this is definitely for you. There’s the popular girl who screams a lot and is kind of useless. The smart guy who has an answer for everything and a paranoid edge. The class clown/bad boy and the new girl loner who rise to the occasion time and time again (that would be Smitty and Bobby – they are both so brave and just get things done, no complaints).
Even though it isn’t heavy on gore, there are still moments that made me cringe. It’s funny and clever sometimes. I liked how Bobby explains some horror movie stereotypes, like when people go to a place where there is obviously going to be danger (the basement, the woods, across a darkened threshold) – they do it because you just have to keep moving. Or when people throw out all those macho comments, it’s because it helps distract from the severity of the situation and makes you feel braver.
I also enjoyed the fact that this was just a good old fashioned zombie survival story. It covers just a few days, and there’s none of that supernatural stuff going on. Not that I mind the supernatural stuff, but it’s nice to not have it, too.
I think the best thing about zombie books (and probably movies – I can’t watch them because they give me terror-induced insomnia!) is the creative zom-situations that the author can come up with. Like, ‘where can I put these animated corpses that will have my reader terrified/in stitches/going ‘ah!’ with the cleverness of it all?’ One situation in this book had zombies in a loch, trapped under the frozen surface and banging on the ice to try and break through. So cool.
Undead does end with a cliffhanger, but it’s a good one. There were enough answers and enough of a conclusion to leave the reader satisfied and very much looking forward to book two.