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Review: Generation Dead

by Daniel Waters
Young Adult, 416 pages.
Hyperion (Hardcover, 2008, Paperback, 2009)
ISBN: 978-1423109228

All of a sudden, dead teenagers aren’t staying that way. Now these kids — call them zombies, undead, living impaired or the politically correct term, “differently biotic” — seem to be descending on Oakvale High School. Phoebe and her friends Adam and Margi are here to witness the new revolution unfold. Their friend Collette comes back after drowning. Sensitive zombie blogger Tommy Williams joins the football team. The Hunter Foundation, a research society for the differently biotic, sets up camp and offers an Undead Studies class. All the while, a different kind of unrest is boiling, led at school by Peter, the quarterback, who thinks the dead should stay dead. Ministers cry “Apocalypse!” and the living figure out that the differently biotic can be killed.

As Phoebe falls for Tommy Williams, who isn’t like the other zombies, who can move and smile and speak without the trademark hitch in his voice and maybe even feel, Peter comes up with a plan to put the zombies in their place (six feet under, all over again). When the undead congregate at a Haunted House on the outskirts of town for a party, Phoebe must choose between Tommy and her very human friend Adam. Little do they know that Peter and his shotgun are about to make that choice much more difficult.

People get their yaya’s in many different ways. For me, I love trashy-yet-intelligent books like THE LUXE series and catching up on the occasional VH1 reality show (Tough Love and Tool Academy, anyone?). While I like reading the mind-blowing books, like yesterday’s THE CHOSEN ONE, which I can’t stop thinking about, I really can enjoy a fun, trashy novel every once in a while. That’s what I was thinking when I picked up GENERATION DEAD, so my expectations were pretty low. Imagine my surprise when it surpassed my wildest hopes as a really, really enjoyable book that I couldn’t put down!

Not only is this a high school love story, but it verges on creating a reality where there is a believable and dangerous battle for zombie civil rights. It gets totally political and I loved it! For a book with such a fluffy cover, it manages to explore prejudice and hate issues pretty deeply and ends with a predictable but emotionally charged scene of deadly sacrifice. I know my credibility with the intellectuals out there is about to take a nosedive, but life can’t be all serious, all the time. Neither can undeath!

Tired of inarticulate, slobbering zombies? There’s no better way to develop a reverence and passion for zombie rights than picking up GENERATION DEAD and its forthcoming sequel, KISS OF LIFE!

GENERATION DEAD is out in paperback as of April, 2009. Its sequel, KISS OF LIFE, is coming out May 12th and I’m posting my review of that tomorrow. Here are links for GENERATION DEAD in paperback: Amazon, Shop Indie Bookstores

For Readers: A breezy and addictive read that manages to go surprisingly deep below the surface. Follow Tommy, Kelly, Phoebe, Margi and Adam and be sure to read Tommy Williams’s blog,, which is still maintained with regularity. If you find yourself tempted to sport an “All My Friends Are Dead” shirt after reading, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Perfect for paranormal fans, beach reading, reluctant readers and zombie fans everywhere.

For Writers: Yes, I will make a recommendation that writers read this book. The writing is actually just fine and carries the story very well. What I love about this book (and about THE LUXE series) is that Waters uses alternating POV’s in chapters and sections to really ramp up the tension. We get to see the good guys advancing toward their goals and then the bad guys plotting, all from their own unique POV’s. If you’ve never written in alternating POV, it’s a challenging but dynamite way to raise stakes and increase tension.

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