Dead City (Dead City Series #1)

Dead City (Dead City Series #1)

4.7 27
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

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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…

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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

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
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)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442441309
Publisher:
Aladdin
Publication date:
09/03/2013
Series:
Dead City Series, #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
118,897
Product dimensions:
5.36(w) x 7.48(h) x 0.82(d)
Age Range:
9 - 13 Years

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.

Read an Excerpt

You’re Probably Wondering Why There’s a Dead Body in the Bathroom . . .

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. . . .

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