Bad Taste in Boys

Bad Taste in Boys

4.0 26
by Carrie Harris
     
 

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Someone's been a very bad zombie.
Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steriods are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe—not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate! She's got to find an

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Overview

Someone's been a very bad zombie.
Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steriods are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe—not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate! She's got to find an antidote—before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town  . . . and stay hormonally human.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Heather Christensen
For as long as she can remember, Kate Grable has wanted to be a doctor. Working as the student trainer for her high school's losing football team gives her plenty of opportunities to get experience with basic first aid. It also gives her the opportunity to admire her crush, Aaron, the star quarterback. When she discovers some unmarked vials in the coach's office, she is convinced he is giving the team steroids on the sly. That is, until some members of the team begin acting strangely, vomiting up a smelly, black substance, and showing an unusual tendency to bite people. Instead of steroids, it turns out the football players are infected with a bizarre virus that morphs them into flesh-eating zombies. It is up to Kate to find a cure and prevent the spread of the virus throughout the entire town. Like a good slasher movie, what this book lacks in literary merit, it makes up for in a plethora of blood and gore and disgusting bodily fluids. Harris excels at bringing to life the sights, sounds, and smells of putrefying zombie flesh. The plot, though action-packed, is at times structurally weak. There are inconsistencies in the ways the virus affects people, with some becoming much more violent than others. Kate's medical expertise seems unusually strong for someone still in high school. Still, there are flickers of humor throughout the book, as well as moments of pure terror. Fans of this genre who do not mind the occasional dropping of body parts will relish every bite and splatter. Reviewer: Heather Christensen
Children's Literature - Leah Hanson
When Coach asks student trainer Kate Grable to inject the football team with unmarked vials of "medicine," the former-geek-turned-popular girl fears that he is turning to illegal steroids to help the hapless high school football team win a game. But the situation quickly goes from suspicious to dangerous when the team turns into zombies! No one else seems to notice the odd behavior, but Kate's penchant for science and ambition to become a doctor means she observes the unusual symptoms—black vomit, blank expressions, and a ghastly grey pallor. Determined to find out how the zombie virus is spreading, Kate traces the clues back to Coach's vials. Having the help and attention of star quarterback and major hottie Aaron Kingman only serves to increase her adrenaline and urgency, and Kate races to find a way to save her friends. Harris' plot zooms along, with zombies leaping out by chapter three, in a wild ride that will keep readers turning page after page. Bad Taste in Boys veers into campy territory, but Kate is a strong, likeable character whose personality anchors the story and will have nerds-at-heart clamoring for more. Reviewer: Leah Hanson
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Kate Grable is a scientific genius who helps train the school's football team. When she discovers suspicious vials in the coach's office, she assumes that he is trying to improve the team's performance with steroids. Then members of the team develop mysterious, violent symptoms—one of them even bites Kate—and she learns that the coach has been giving them injections of a zombie virus that spreads mainly through being bitten. She soon falls prey to the infected, which become extraordinarily violent, yet humorous, as fingers and feet start to fall off the victims as the disease runs its course. Being an epileptic, she soon discovers that the only cure for the virus is her own medicine. With the help of her longtime crush and goofy brother and his pseudo-sword, Kate manages to restore order. Teens will admire how Kate uses her brains to win the hearts of her male classmates. The plot moves along quickly, making readers feel as if they were watching an actual zombie movie. The short chapters are filled with light humor along with a silly, gory edge that will make readers laugh, rather than cringe.—Krista Welz, North Bergen Public Library, NJ
Kirkus Reviews

A geeky girl gets the guy in this comic romp through a high school infested with zombies.

Kate, who owns underpants printed with "I heart Science," desperately wants to become a doctor, and she's the student medical assistant for her school's perpetually losing football team. She develops dark suspicions when she sees unmarked drug vials in the coach's office, especially when Coach injects the players with his mystery medication. In short order, Mike, one of the players, apparently dies but lurches to life again and bites a chunk out of Kate's lip. Harris draws on a wealth of zombie clichés as Kate watches the infection spread rapidly. Worse, the now-zombie coach attacks her even after his foot falls off, and her annoying but loyal little brother shows unmistakable zombie symptoms. But why hasn't Kate succumbed? Can she find a cure? Meanwhile, Aaron, her secret heartthrob, confesses his love because of her brains (although Mike would like to eat Kate's brains). But can the mad science teacher derail Kate's medical-school dreams? And can Kate get the local health department to listen? Throughout, the author keeps the focus on laughs as Kate speeds through car crashes, tries to keep her dog from eating the coach's foot and chases zombies as she wields syringes like six-shooters.

A hilarious frolic, especially for fans of Shaun of the Dead. (Zombie humor. 12 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385739696
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
06/12/2012
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
486,305
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

“You’re one of those genius types,” said Coach, nudging me with a beefy elbow. “Make yourself useful for once. Say something inspirational.”

Morning football practice had just ended and I was standing in a hallway that stank of sweat and industrial cleaner, holding the door while the varsity team hauled their pitiful butts into the locker room. As the student trainer, I handled random sprains and strains, and in my spare time I pushed Gatorade like it was the nectar of the gods. But motivating the worst football team in existence? Couldn’t do it.

The only thing I could think of was “Look! Naked cheerleaders!” Not exactly appropriate.

Coach elbowed me again.

“What do you want me to say?” I asked, shifting away from him. “They don’t suck?”

I wasn’t trying to be insulting, just honest. Earlier one of our linebackers had given himself a bloody nose by falling on his own fist, and it had gotten worse from there. Now our players looked so depressed that I thought they might commit hara-kiri.

Aaron Kingsman, the starting quarterback, trudged past. He usually nodded at me, and once he even smiled. Sad but true: that smile was the highlight of my junior year. Today he didn’t even look up. He had a little cut above his right eyebrow, a bead of blood poised at one end. I wanted to give him first aid but couldn’t find a way to make the offer sound reasonable. I had to say something, though.

“Nice hustle out there!” I bleated, blinking behind my glasses. They were a holdover from my formerly one-hundred-percent geeky self. Now, thanks to my friends and some expensive antifrizz conditioner, I was only fifty percent.

Aaron hunched over farther and pushed through the door.

“Way to step up, Grable.” Coach made his best attempt at sarcasm. It wasn’t one of his strong points. “Put this stuff away, at least, will ya?”

He handed me the keys to his office. They were on a ring the size of my steering wheel. I had no idea why one man needed so many keys. I’d counted them once: ninety-one and a half—one was broken. That key ring was heavier than I was.

Coach launched into his usual load-of-rubbish postpractice speech before the locker room door closed, leaving me in the hallway with an entirely different load of rubbish: the Gatorade cart, clipboard, keys, and the first-aid kit. I performed my usual juggling act down the hall: push the cart two feet, drop the key ring, pick it up, lose the clipboard in the struggle, retrieve the scattered paper, push the cart another two feet, reassemble the clipboard, nearly knock the Gatorade over, and so on. On days like this, I had to chant “Kate Grable, MD” to keep from quitting. All the annoyance would be worth it when I got into a pre-med program next year.

“Kate Grable, MD. Kate Grable, MD.” Coach’s office had one of those perennially malfunctioning fluorescent bulbs that infested our school. I didn’t risk turning it on, because I was an epileptic. I hadn’t had a seizure in almost a year, but before that I’d had them practically every week. It was a force of habit to avoid things that might trigger them. Flashing bulbs had always been a guaranteed ticket to seizuretown.

I propped open the door, put the clipboard on Coach’s desk, and flipped through a million keys before I found the right one for the med cabinet. I had to put away Mike Luzier’s EpiPen. Mike had a bee allergy and the mental capacity of a newt. We weren’t supposed to leave the Epi out at night; Coach seemed to think there was a serious black-market epinephrine trade.

When I was putting the Epi in the cabinet, I noticed an unfamiliar rack of medication vials on the top shelf. The labels were blank, which instantly set off my med-geek alarm. I labeled all our drugs, and I was quite proud of my cataloging system. Even Coach could find his way around the cabinet, and he had problems following directions. Heck, he had problems reading words of more than one syllable.

I picked up the rack and a used syringe tumbled out. I yelped as the needle landed in the toe of my shoe. Carefully I extracted the needle and wrapped it in a big wad of paper towels. Coach had an ancient dispenser in his office; it squealed loud enough to raise the dead.

I wasn’t sure what to make of this. Our trainer, Dr. Ho, was in charge of delivering and dispensing team meds. Everyone forgets things once in a while, but there was no way he’d leave a syringe uncapped. And Coach was the only other person with access to the med cabinet.

“Holy crap, are these steroids?” I whispered, staring down at the lump of towel in my hand. If the meds were legit, the Ho would have given me the rack for check-in. Legal drugs don’t require secrecy and unmarked vials. I was pondering this when I heard the boom of the locker room door as it flew open and hit the wall.

I knew what that sound meant: Coach was coming. I slammed the office door to buy some time, vaulted the desk with more physical prowess than I knew I had, and shoved the rack back into the cabinet.

“Grable?” He knocked. “You in there?”

Duh. The door had one of those automatic locks, which meant the desk vault had been completely unnecessary. I took a deep breath and turned the handle.

“Hey, Coach!” My voice was so perky that I wanted to punch myself.

“Grable.” His eyes flicked over to the cabinet on his way in. It happened so fast I almost thought I’d imagined it.

“Clean up your crap, will ya?” he said, sitting down at his desk and scowling at the wad of paper towels. He picked it up, and I half expected him to stick himself with the needle, but apparently he was a lot luckier than I was.

“Sorry about that!” I held out my hand. “I’ll throw it out for you.”

He gave me an odd look before dropping it into the wastebasket at his feet. There went my evidence. I wasn’t going to go Dumpster diving for it, though. Reforming geeks like me avoided Dumpsters at all costs.

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