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Passing Strange (Generation Dead Series #3)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Reviewed by Karin Librarian for

Let me start out by saying you'll want to read the first two books in this series - GENERATION DEAD and KISS OF LIFE - before picking up PASSING STRANGE. If you don't, you'll be lost on the ins and outs of the plots and characters.

The author, Daniel Waters, takes a ...
Let me start out by saying you'll want to read the first two books in this series - GENERATION DEAD and KISS OF LIFE - before picking up PASSING STRANGE. If you don't, you'll be lost on the ins and outs of the plots and characters.

The author, Daniel Waters, takes a different approach to the series with PASSING STRANGE. The first two books focus on Phoebe and her struggles as she braves high school in a world where some teens are coming back from the dead. Her heart is pulled in two different directions - she is fascinated with Tommy, a new differently-biotic boy who enrolls at school, but at the same time, has growing feelings for Adam, her long-time friend and next-door neighbor. PASSING STRANGE tells the story of an important but side character named Karen DeSonne.

Karen is one of the most advanced/high-functioning zombies anyone has ever seen. She moves with grace, speaks without hitches, and is the envy of even the traditionally-biotic girls at school. Since the events that took place in KISS OF LIFE that led to the laws preventing the differently-biotic from being in public without a legal guardian and attending school, Karen has been the only zombie out in the open. In fact, Karen isn't just out in the open as a zombie, but she is "passing" as a traditionally-biotic teenager. With the help of dyed hair and blue contacts, Karen got a job at the local mall and begins to use her ability to blend in to help the differently-biotic cause.

When Karen has the chance to infiltrate the enemy to gain information that could shine light on a conspiracy to make the zombies look guilty of crimes they didn't commit, she doesn't hesitate. She puts herself in many dangerous situations with one of the most active anti-zombie radicals to date. Knowing she can help allows her to keep meeting Pete - even when he wants to kiss her.

The reader learns a lot about Karen in this novel. Karen has always appeared happy-go-lucky in the previous books, so it was interesting to find out she isn't very happy after all. She has a lot to be sad about, and you'll sympathize with her as she explains everything going on in her life and eventually reveals a huge secret.

I've loved every one of the GENERATION DEAD books, and PASSING STRANGE is no different. It only took me a day to finish and I was extremely happy with the hopeful ending. I can't wait for the next installment to this wonderfully unique series. Thanks, Mr. Waters! Keep up the good work.

P.S. You can follow the fight for zombie rights by reading Tommy's blog.

posted by TeensReadToo on August 19, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Er my gerd

SHUT UP SPOILERS!!!! All these people with the long comments tell the entire book!!!!!! Just shut up and let people read on their own! ~~Emo Girl

posted by kmkerecman on February 6, 2013

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  • Posted February 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    from Missprint DOT wordpress DOT com

    Karen DeSonne is good at fooling people. She's passed as the normal girl, the responsible daughter, and even the happy girl. The was before she killed herself.

    That was before she came back.

    Now, Karen is making the most of her second chance at life--or whatever it is when the dead start walking around.

    Things go horribly wrong when her dead friends' planned social protest turns into a shootout after the zombies are accused of murder. Karen makes it away, but many other zombies in Oakvale are forced into hiding when it becomes illegal to be dead and walking around.

    Karen knows that zombies had nothing to do with this crime. And she knows where to go to clear their names. In order to get the proof and help her people, Karen is going to have to wear the ultimate disguise. She'll have to pretend to like Pete Martinsburg--a known zombie killer. But Karen's pretended to like people before. The hard part, the part that could land her in a whole world of trouble, will be pretending she's alive. Karen's fooled everyone close to her at least once, but will she be able to pull off the charade of a lifetime (or un-lifetime) in Passing Strange (2010) by Daniel Waters.

    Passing Strange is the third installment in Daniel Water's quirky series about the walking dead in Oakvale (preceeded by the first book Generation Dead and Kiss of Life). This book is a departure from the first two in the series and would be a good place to start the series without missing a lot . . . except that this one is so much less than the first (and even the second) book.

    Waters has abandoned his usual alternating perspectives and instead spends most of the book narrating in Karen's voice. Unfortunately that voice is vacuous and sadly under-developed, particularly when compared to the writing from the other books (or even the third person parts in Passing Strange). Karen has had a complete personality shift from earlier in the series with seemingly no reason except to titillate readers. A girl who had previously seemed strong and grounded, comes across as flighty and insipid.

    The entire book was erratic and a shocking departure from its two tightly written and well-put-together predecessors. Sometimes Karen is talking in present tense, sometimes the past tense. Sometimes she addresses a mysterious "you" to no effect.* To make matters worse story threads that were raised in the earlier books are largely abandoned and sloppily set aside.

    This book is a must read for anyone who has been following the series and wants to know what's happening with their favorite zombies and their traditionally biotic friends (unless that includes Tommy or Phoebe who are barely in this one) but it is also a vast disappointment after Waters' clever, sharp debut.

    *The person is revealed by the end of the book but she isn't speaking directly to the person the way a character does in A Conspiracy of Kings so it really makes no sense at all.

    Possible Pairings: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson, Tamar by Mal Peet, Pretties by Scott Westerfeld, A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012


    I didn't really like the ending at all. The way everything was going. It just didn't do good for me. =[

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012


    It was ok but i liked the first to books more.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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