Dead City (Dead City Series #1)

Dead City (Dead City Series #1)

4.7 29
by James Ponti
     
 

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A tween takes on undead New Yorkers in this paranormal action-adventure that “breathes new life into the zombie genre” (Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games).

Most kids have enough to deal with between school, homework, extracurricular activities, and friends, but Molly Bigelow isn’t your typical tween. By day, Molly attends

Overview

A tween takes on undead New Yorkers in this paranormal action-adventure that “breathes new life into the zombie genre” (Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games).

Most kids have enough to deal with between school, homework, extracurricular activities, and friends, but Molly Bigelow isn’t your typical tween. By day, Molly attends MIST—the Metropolitan Institute of Science and Technology—but it’s what she’s learning outside of school that sets her apart from her classmates. Molly is a zombie hunter, just like her mother.

This, however, is news to Molly. Now she must come to terms with not only the idea that zombies exist, but also that they’re everywhere, and it’s her job to help police them and keep the peace. Sure, she’d like to be a regular kid, but “regular” just isn’t possible when it turns out the most revered (or feared, depending on your perspective) zombie hunter in the history of New York City is your mother. It seems Molly’s got some legendary footsteps to follow…

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
In Dead City, James Ponti cleverly weaves Manhattan history into an action-packed plot to breathe new life into the zombie genre. Brainy, funny, and socially baffled Molly Bigelow makes for an irresistible narrator as she drives the story to a terrific twist of an ending. If I’d had the next installment, I’d have dived right in.—Suzanne Collins, author of THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy

"In Ponti’s breezy and adventure-driven story, readers follow Molly and the Omegas as they connect the dots between the explosion, Little Women, the Dewey Decimal System and the Periodic Table of Elements. It works. Ponti incorporates New York City sights and gory zombie descriptions in a quick transit to an exciting finale with high-blown dramatics and a surprisingly tender moment.

A fast-paced read for those who like their zombies with just a little fright."
- Kirkus Reviews, September 2012

Kirkus Reviews
Middle schooler Molly excels at judo and fencing--both necessary skills when combatting New York City's 1,000-plus zombies. The summer before starting at a science magnet school on Roosevelt Island in the East River, Molly spends Friday afternoons at the coroner's office on the east side of Manhattan. Her mother worked there before her death, and Molly feels comfortable with the dead bodies. Once in school, she joins a group of friends and is initiated into Omega, an organization that both protects and fights the zombies of New York. Her group consists of four classmates: one other girl and two boys. All follow the rules of CLAP: keep Calm, Listen, Avoid physical confrontation and Punish. The zombies arose from an 1896 subway explosion that killed 13 worker; they prefer to be called undead and derive their strength from schist--Manhattan bedrock. In Ponti's breezy and adventure-driven story, readers follow Molly and the Omegas as they connect the dots between the explosion, Little Women, the Dewey Decimal System and the Periodic Table of Elements. It works. Ponti incorporates New York City sights and gory zombie descriptions in a quick transit to an exciting finale with high-blown dramatics and a surprisingly tender moment. A fast-paced read for those who like their zombies with just a little fright. (Horror/fantasy. 8-12)
Children's Literature - Magi Evans
Middle schooler Molly is brilliant, but somewhat inept socially, and has few friends. To make her even more geeky, she volunteers at the morgue! On the first day of the new school year, she is surprised when three high school students, Natalie, Alex, and Grayson, join her at lunch and ask her all kinds of questions about herself. She is even more surprised when she is attacked after school by a super-fast, super-strong being, a zombie, whom Natalie chases off. Natalie then reveals that she, Alex and Grayson belong to the Omegas, a cadre of zombie fighters whose existence goes back over a hundred years. Molly is invited to join them; after four weeks of intense training, she passes the final exam, which includes passing herself off as undead in the midst of a zombie party. When Molly and Natalie follow up on a trio of deaths near their school, they encounter three zombies in the morgue stealing a book containing information that could put all the Omegas in peril. The two girls save the book; but at the same time Molly discovers a family secret that causes her to seek out the zombie leader on her own, a drastic action that could ultimately get her killed. Though adolescent zombie fighters are not a new idea, the author throws in some twists to the genre that make this more appropriate for the book’s middle grade audience, while still providing enough “eww” factor to satisfy lovers of gore. Zombie fans will enjoy this book and look forward to the next installment of the “Dead Cities” series starring Molly and the Omegas. Reviewer: Magi Evans; Ages 10 up.
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Brainy and awkward middle-schooler Molly is recruited by friends Alex, Grayson, and Natalie to train to become a member of Omega, a secret agency sworn to police and protect the undead in Manhattan. She gets her first assignment when bloodless dead bodies are found lined up in a park to form the Greek letter Omega. It is up to Molly and her crew to figure out who has it in for the Omegas before it is too late. Keeping the city safe from zombies takes her and her friends all over New York. Ponti incorporates several landmarks into the story: Roosevelt Island, Blackwell House, subway ghost stations, and the New York Marble Cemetery. The most significant Manhattan feature the author uses is schist, the type of rock from which the island was formed. In his Manhattan, the schist emits a unique energy. Because the zombies need it to survive, they stay underground, in their thriving Dead City, or as close to ground level as possible. Readers who enjoy a plot-driven story will like this one. There is no budding romance and very little character development. Dead City is all about the thrill of the (relatively bloodless and gore-free) hunt.Jennifer Prince, Buncombe County Public Library, NC

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442441293
Publisher:
Aladdin
Publication date:
10/02/2012
Series:
Dead City Series, #1
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
303,647
Product dimensions:
5.84(w) x 8.36(h) x 0.94(d)
Lexile:
720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 13 Years

Read an Excerpt

Dead City


  • I hate zombies.

    I know that sounds prejudiced. I’m sure some zombies are really nice to kittens and love their parents. But it’s been my experience that most are not the kind of people you want sending you friend requests.

    Consider my current situation. Instead of eating pizza with my teammates as they celebrate my surprise victory at the St. Andrew’s Prep fencing tournament, I’m trapped in a locker-room toilet stall.

    With a dead body.

    It’s not exactly the Saturday I had planned. I wasn’t even supposed to compete in the tournament. Since most of the girls on the team are juniors and seniors and I’m in seventh grade, I was just going to be an alternate. But Hannah Gilbert didn’t show up, and I filled in for her at the last moment. Five matches later my teammates were jumping up and down and pouring Gatorade on my head.

    And that was the first problem.

    I may not be the girliest girl, but I didn’t really want to ride the subway with sticky orange hair. So I decided to clean up while everyone else headed down to the pizzeria to get a table and order a couple of large pies.

    I had just finished my shower when I heard zombie noises coming my way. (I know, they hate to be called the z-word, but I hate being attacked in the bathroom, so I guess we’re even.)

    At first I thought it was one of my teammates playing a joke on me. But when I saw the reflection of the walking dead guy in the mirror, I realized it was Life playing a joke on me. I mean, is it too much to ask for just a couple hours of normal?

    To make matters worse, this zombie and I had something of a history. During an earlier encounter, I sort of chopped off his left hand. I won’t go into the details, but trust me when I say it was a “have to” situation. Anyway, now he was looking to settle a grudge, and all my gear was in a bag on the other side of the locker room. Too bad, because moments like these were the reason I took up fencing in the first place.

    He looked at me with his cold dead eyes and waved his stump in my face to remind me why he was in such a bad mood. All I had to protect myself with was the towel I was wearing and my flat iron. Since I was not about to let Mr. Evil Dead see me naked, I went with the flat iron.

    My first move was to slash him across the face, which was a total waste of time. Yes, it burned a lot of flesh. But since zombies feel no pain, it didn’t slow him down one bit. Plus, no way was I ever going to let that flat iron touch my hair again, so I was down thirty bucks and I still had a zombie problem.

    Next, he slammed me against the wall. That hurt unbelievably bad and turned my shoulder purple. (A color I like in clothes, but not so much when it comes to skin tone.) On the bright side, when I got back up I was in the perfect position for a ballestra, my favorite fencing move. It combines a jump forward with a lunge, and it worked like a charm.

    The flat iron punctured his rib cage and went deep into his chest. It got stuck when I tried to yank it out, so I just started flicking it open and shut inside his body. This distracted him long enough for me to grab him at the base of the skull and slam his head into the marble countertop.

    I don’t know how much tuition runs at St. Andrew’s, but their bathrooms have some high-quality marble. He went from undead to just plain dead on the spot.

    All told, it took about forty seconds. But that’s the problem with killing zombies. It’s like when my dad and I make spaghetti sauce together. The hard part’s not so much the doing as it is the cleanup afterward.

    If this had been a public-school locker room, there would have been some gray jumbo-sized garbage cans nearby, and I probably could’ve taken care of cleanup by myself. But apparently the girls of St. Andrew’s don’t throw anything away, because all they had was a tiny wastebasket and some recycling bins. There were bins for paper, plastic, and glass, but none for rotting corpses. Go figure.

    That meant I had to drag the body into a stall, text my friends for help, and call my coach with an excuse about how I had to go straight home. Now I’m stuck here sitting on a toilet, my hair’s a total mess, and after two bottles of hand sanitizer, I still feel like I’ve got dead guy all over me. And don’t even get me started about how hungry I am!

    If you had told me any of this a few months ago, I would have said you needed to visit the school nurse. That’s because before I was Molly Bigelow, superhero zombie terminator, I was just an invisible girl in the back of the classroom who you’d probably never notice.

    I’m sure none of this makes any sense. I mean, it’s still hard for me to understand, and I’m the one who just did it. So while I wait for help to arrive, I’ll try to explain. I understand if you don’t believe it, but trust me when I say that every word is true.

    It all started more than a hundred years ago, when an explosion killed thirteen men digging one of New York’s first subway tunnels. But my part didn’t begin until one day last summer, when I was hanging out at the morgue. . . .

  • What People are saying about this

    From the Publisher
    In Dead City, James Ponti cleverly weaves Manhattan history into an action-packed plot to breathe new life into the zombie genre. Brainy, funny, and socially baffled Molly Bigelow makes for an irresistible narrator as she drives the story to a terrific twist of an ending. If I’d had the next installment, I’d have dived right in.—Suzanne Collins, author of THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy

    "In Ponti’s breezy and adventure-driven story, readers follow Molly and the Omegas as they connect the dots between the explosion, Little Women, the Dewey Decimal System and the Periodic Table of Elements. It works. Ponti incorporates New York City sights and gory zombie descriptions in a quick transit to an exciting finale with high-blown dramatics and a surprisingly tender moment.

    A fast-paced read for those who like their zombies with just a little fright."

    - Kirkus Reviews, September 2012

    Meet the Author

    James Ponti was born in Italy, raised in Florida, and went to college in California. After receiving a degree in screenwriting from the USC Film School, he began a career writing and producing television shows for the likes of Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, PBS, Spike TV, History Channel, and Golf Channel. James loves writing, travel, and the Boston Red Sox. He lives with his family in Maitland, Florida.

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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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    Dead City 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Thoroughly enjoyed Dead City!!! I have a 6th grader & twin 8th graders and can't wait for them to read this book. Fun for boys and girls! Thanks, Mr. Ponti, for a really great spin on the zombie genre. Looking forward to the team's next adventure...
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    My middle school son loved this book so much he convinced my husband and I to read it. I loved it so much I stayed up late to finish the book - on a work night. Yes it had zombies (for my son), but it was so much more... a mystery, puzzles, and more.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    The first installment of Dead City wouldn't let me put the book down. With the many action senes and tragic moments I kept reading, and loved every minute. The amazing twist with history and science-fiction made me want more and I am currently reading the next book.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book is amazin cant wait to read 2 one!!! Dead city blue moon
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Incredible. There is just nothing left tonsay, except that it is phenomenal. Highly reccomend.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Well, lets just say this book is amazing! All read all 277 pages of awesomeness in less than 12 hours! Now i have to wait until i buy Blue Moon to contine Molly's zombie-huntng story!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This was a beautiful book! Its highly treasured by me. I bought it in a scholastic newspaper, and wasn't sure about it. I'm not a fan of the zombies genre, but this book really made me give the zombies a chance (they're not as evil as I thought). I really enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it for....EVERYONE!!!! Boys and girls. Even if the story is being told from a girls point of veiw, boys will enjoy it as much as all girls did. Molly can revert to anyone, and this book really inspired me to write books about fighting. Not about cheesey, over rated princess who fall in love with a stranger. Over all this is an amazing book that CANNOT BE PUT DOWNN!!!! When you get atticted to it, it means that the zombies possesed you (or is that ghosts) hope I helped! ;)
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I THINK THAT THE STORY LINE IS AWESOME AND THAT THE BOOK IS VERY FAST PACED I ALSO THINK THAT ITS EXITING AND DIDNT SPEND TO MUCH TIME ON ONE ONE SUBJECT I READ THIS 277 PAGED BOOK TWICE AND BOTH TIMES IN ALMOST THREE DAYS I ALSO THINK THAT SOME PARTS OF THE BOOK R SWEET I THINK THAT JAMES PONTI DID AN ABSOLUTLY AMAZING JOB AND I RECCOMED THIS BOOK TO AGES 8 AND UP
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This was an awesome book. It is great for both boys and girls. I am in fifth grade and I read it in two days!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I like some of the book but the rest was stupid.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I can't believe I spent 8 dollars on this book! what a waste
    poetryfreak38 More than 1 year ago
    Dead City by James Ponti  This book is on the Sunshine State list for 2014-2015. It is about Molly, a seventh grader, who attends MIST. MIST is a school for gifted students and where he mother went to school. She doesn't have many friends and hangs out at the morgue where her mom worked before she passed away. All that changes when she is recruited to join a team of Zombie hunters called Omegas. The story is about her building relationships and learning what she needs to be a member of the team.  I really enjoyed this book. It was a really fun adventure story. I loved Molly and the choices she makes really make a lot of sense. I liked that the we got to see this story from her perspective so you get to really understand how the character feels. It wasn't a scary book so it is good for kids. This is the first book the sequel is Blue Moon. I also loved the first page of this book! 
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    When she beat up the zombies i nearly droppe the nook but i didnt.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Im dying to read to read the next
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Best book ive ever read. Ps. She has heterochromia. Look it up.
    Anonymous 8 months ago
    I love this book at first my friend Taylor recremended it to me and I could not put it down. Now my brother reads it. It tolltially puts the creepy out of zombies. You need to know this Molly is a friend of a zombies. 3 in fact Milltion, her mother, and in the third book her best friend Natiali. She is an omega with Natiali, Graceson, Alex. She is also afraid of heights and that is the only way you can get away from zombies because it is far away from Manhattan schist. Anyway i L O V E this book!!!!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Even though this book is an original it's the best zombie book!!!!!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I first got this book at my school library but i moved so my mom let me get it on her nook i love it and im not a book person so its got ti be a great book ill say it again i love this book
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Awesome book. I can not wait for the third on
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Amazing
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    OMG!!!!!!!!!! One of the best books EVER!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    AWESOME BOOK
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I would recommend this book to anyone but that would be a bad idea cuz it says badass and some people might take that as cussing otherwise this book was amazing