I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It

( 17 )


Algonquin “Ali” Rhodes, the high school newspaper’s music critic, meets an intriguing singer, Doug, while reviewing a gig. He’s a weird-looking guy—goth, but he seems sincere about it, like maybe he was into it back before it was cool. She introduces herself after the set, asking if he lives in Cornersville, and he replies, in his slow, quiet murmur, “Well, I don’t really live there, exactly. . . .”

When Ali and Doug start dating, Ali is falling so hard she doesn’t notice a few ...

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I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It

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Algonquin “Ali” Rhodes, the high school newspaper’s music critic, meets an intriguing singer, Doug, while reviewing a gig. He’s a weird-looking guy—goth, but he seems sincere about it, like maybe he was into it back before it was cool. She introduces herself after the set, asking if he lives in Cornersville, and he replies, in his slow, quiet murmur, “Well, I don’t really live there, exactly. . . .”

When Ali and Doug start dating, Ali is falling so hard she doesn’t notice a few odd signs: he never changes clothes, his head is a funny shape, and he says practically nothing out loud. Finally Marie, the school paper’s fashion editor, points out the obvious: Doug isn’t just a really sincere goth. He’s a zombie. Horrified that her feelings could have allowed her to overlook such a flaw, Ali breaks up with Doug, but learns that zombies are awfully hard to get rid of—at the same time she learns that vampires, a group as tightly-knit as the mafia, don’t think much of music critics who make fun of vampires in reviews. . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Janis Flint-Ferguson
There is a delightful element of zombie camp in what is otherwise a fairly standard zombie love story. The setting is a post-Twilight world in which vampires and zombies are as normal as any other ethnic group, and as equally segregated. The talk of the town is a mega store's use of zombies as virtual slaves to the retail chain's profit margin. Alley Rhodes is the novel's protagonist, a member of the Vicious Circle of high school girls and writer for the online alternative newspaper. Known as the Ice Queen, she is not as interested in boys as she is in her reputation and her music. She certainly is not interested in "post-human" boys, although the undead are very enticing to many. While writing a review of a local band, Alley is completely smitten by their guest singer. As she gets to know Doug, she falls for him completely, so completely that she overlooks some of the telltale signs of the undead. The early chapters of the novel are clever, with just enough smarmy vampires to recreate a virtual class system in the small Iowa town. While the climaxing scenes at the high school prom are a too familiar scene of the good, the bad, and the misunderstood, young adult readers will appreciate the humor of the situations and the attitude of the plucky protagonist. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
Publishers Weekly
Selzer (Andrew North Blows Up the World) takes a delightfully wicked but thoughtful poke at teenage infatuations, vampire groupies, and pretentious goths. It's been years since “post-human” vampires, werewolves, and other undead creatures came “out of the coffin” to protest Megamart's exploitation of zombies as stockroom workers. But 18-year-old Alley Rhodes can't help rolling her eyes at her classmates' continuing obsession (“teenage vampires are a pain in the ass—they never actually mature... but dating one has become the ultimate status symbol”). Then moody singer Doug catches her heart, and she's soon reconsidering her plan to flee Iowa for college in Seattle. She loves his authentic goth look (pale skin, unkempt hair, “moth-eaten suit”), but she's forgotten the first rule of modern dating—Google him. Doug died four years ago, and he's still wearing the suit he was buried in. Now all of her preconceptions are out the window and she has critical decisions to make. With snappy dialogue and a light, funny touch, Selzer creates a readable examination of love, self-sacrifice, and where to draw the line before you lose yourself. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—For 18-year-old Algonquin "Alley" Rhodes, living in an era in which vampires, werewolves, and zombies are the norm is not what it's cracked up to be. Unlike most human girls at her high school, dating, especially the undead variety, is the last thing on her mind. Alley just wants to leave Cornersville Trace, go to college, and make something of herself. But then, while critiquing a local band for the school newspaper, Alley the Ice Queen falls head over heels for the guest singer. Like Alley, Doug truly loves music, and she feels as if he is singing just for her. They begin dating, and Alley overlooks what is obvious to everyone else. Doug isn't just a Goth—he isn't even human—he's a zombie. As Alley's world is turned upside down, she must make decisions with major ramifications for her future. The story is original, funny, unpredictable, romantic, and tragic. Selzer explores some basic teen issues like love, friendship, acceptance, commitment, and loss in a way that is realistic and that will make readers question their own values. An excellent addition to libraries with an occult following.—Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Ever since the post-humans (werewolves, vampires and zombies) revealed themselves to humans, high school for Alley has been a real drag. The guys are now all goth, and the girls are necrosexual, obsessed with vampires. Alley can't bear the post-human crowd; she doesn't understand why all the girls in school find it so dreamy to have a guy who's "crazy strong, but not strong enough to stay away from her." Then Alley falls for the fabulous musician Doug. Doug's a little pale, like all the goths in school, and maybe he smells a little funny, but she adores him and his killer taste in music. When Doug turns out to be a zombie, Alley has to overcome her prejudices to be with the man of her dreams. Simultaneously a scathing parody of the paranormal-romance genre and a sweetly romantic paranormal love story in its own right, Alley and Doug's courtship will even appeal to Twilight fans-at least, to those Twilight fans with a sense of humor about the object of their affections. Hilarious. (Fantasy. 12-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385735032
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 1/26/2010
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Lexile: 820L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Adam Selzer lives in downtown Chicago. Check him out on the Web at www.adamselzer.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Watching a vampire make out with an idiot is kind of like going to the farmers' market and noticing just how many farmers have lost fingers in on-the-job accidents. Even though it's kind of disturbing, it's impossible to look away.  

Right now, two lunch tables over from mine, Fred (a vampire) is making out with Michelle (an idiot). And everyone in the cafeteria is watching the show.  

"My God," says my friend Trinity. "It's like he thinks her head is a Tootsie Pop."  

"Keep watching," I say. "Maybe we can finally find out how many licks it takes to get to the candy center."   I'm not just being my usual, devastatingly witty self here. I actually think that the only thing between Michelle's ears might be some sort of chewy candy.  

"I've lost count already," says Peter. "He must be about halfway through her skin by now. You'd think he'd just bite her and get it over with. That's what I always do with Tootsie Pops."   "They don't really bite people," says Sadie. "Not anymore."  

"So what does he have to do to make her into a vampire?" asks Peter.  

"It's a secret, but it's probably nothing he can do in a high school cafeteria," says Sadie.  

They're already doing several things they aren't supposed do in a high school cafeteria, the lunchroom monitors are all too chicken to tell a vampire to knock it off, even though everyone knows they're not really dangerous.  

It was quite a scandal a few years back when it turned out that Megamart was bringing corpses back to life to work as zombie slaves in their stockrooms. When word got out, all the other post-humans (vampires, werewolves and all the undead types that turned out to have been living among us for centuries) got really offended and decided to "come out of the coffin" to lobby Congress to close all the loopholes that let Megamart get away with that.  

There was wall-to-wall coverage in the media for months. Every news station had stories of "The Vampire Revelation" like "How the Vampire Invasion Is Threatening Your Family" and "How to Protect Your Newborn from Werewolves." But after a while, everyone figured out that nothing had really changed—vampires and stuff have always been around. Now we just know about it. And they aren't nearly as scary as they'd been made out to be; they're a lot faster and stronger than regular people, and they're apparently more or less immortal, but they don't really drink blood anymore (there's some kind of vegetable compound that's more satisfying and easier to get), and they don't get their "powers" from anything supernatural (it's something to do with protein mutation or something. I forget). Vampires, werewolves, ghosts and zombies turned out to be regular scientific phenomena, and life went pretty much back to normal.  

The teenage vampires are a pain in the ass—they never actually mature, no matter how old they get, since their pituitary glands are sort of frozen in time—but dating one has become the ultimate status symbol. Most girls in school dream of having a loserlike Fred fall in love with them and turn them into a vampire. I guess living in Iowa does make life as a corpse seem exciting.  

"Dead people have no reason to live," I say. "Shouldn't we have stopped thinking vampires were awesome when we found out they spend most of their time acting all emo?"  

"You're just jealous, Alley," says Marie. "Can you honestly tell me that if some guy rose from the grave and spent a hundred lonely years looking for just the right person, then fell for you, you wouldn't think that was totally romantic?"  
"I'd think he was a stalker," I say.  

"It's true love!" says Marie.  

"Get real," says Sadie. "It's hot, but it's just lust. Not that there's anything wrong with that."  

Sadie is my oldest friend. She kind of falls for the whole vampire thing, but at least she's realistic. She likes dead guys, just like every other girl in school, but Marie loves them. She isn't even interested in dating living guys. She's, like, necrosexual.  

"You guys are just prejudiced," says Marie. "I would kill to date a vampire. I mean, he's crazy strong, but not strong enough to stay away from her. How romantic can you get?"  

"Right," says Peter. "I think that's on page one of How to Get Teenage Girls to Fall in Love with You."  

"And her parents probably think he's a monster, but she truly understands him," I chime in.  

"See?" asks Peter. "Textbook."  

Everyone at my table is on the staff of the school paper. Trinity Pearl, who sits to my right, is the editor in chief. She's wearing a formal ball gown (she's into tango) covered in safety pins (she's also into punk). Next to her is Peter Woolcott, the most transparently gay teenager in the greater Des Moines area. On the other side of him is Marie Beecher, the necrosexual fashion editor who doubles as our pet idiot, then Ryan Deeborn the film critic, then Sadie, who covers local news (she drew the shortstraw). Peter's gossip column, "No Siree," is really just a report of all the witty things we say at lunch (and occasionally, the dumb things Marie says. She's a little dim, but we love her anyway). Our skill at making fun of things has made our table sort of famous; around school they call us the Vicious Circle.  

Two tables over, Michelle is making noises that sound like they're coming from a wounded animal and saying "Oh, Friedrich, Friedrich" loudly enough to make sure we all hear her. It's kind of annoying. I mean, if you so much as hold hands with someone who isn't a vampire, you get detention for public display of affection. It's a total double standard.  

"God, if I ever get like that, just drive a stake through my heart or something, okay?" I ask.  

"No danger of that," says Peter. "Eight days till prom and you've still never had a second date?"  

"Who needs a second one when you get everything you want on the first?" I ask. And I give him my most self-satisfied smirk.  

It's not that I'm inexperienced; I've made out with plenty of guys. But I just make out with them, send them on their way and then make fun of them without naming names later on. It's not very nice, I know, but guys know what they're getting into when they make out with Alley Rhodes, the Ice Queen of the Vicious Circle.  

A lot of people think I hate guys or something. I don't, really; I just hate the idea of getting stuck in this town, so I don't have any desire to get involved with a guy who lives here. And it's not that I don't want to go to the prom, but there's only a month till graduation, and three months till I'm outta here altogether. No point complicating things by having a big expensive date. I'm just going to go with Sadie and make fun of everyone else.  

"Doesn't anyone remember what a loser Fred was before people knew he was a vampire?" Peter asks as Fred slides his hand up Michelle's leg under the table. I swear I see Fred glance around to make sure people are watching.  

"He was my lab partner for a while," Trinity says. "He'd act like a jerk half the time and mope around the rest."  

"Yeah," I say. "I didn't think it was possible, but the guy is both a wiener and a dick."  

"Yeah," says Trinity. "Kind of cocky, too."  

Peter scribbles that down for his column.  

When I was a freshman, back when everyone except a handful of conspiracy theorists thought vampires were just fictional characters, our cafeteria was like any other. There was the jock table, the prep table, the drama table, the band geek table and a table full of kids who were into role-playing games. But now it's just one goth table after another. When the guys saw how the girls just melted over the vampires, they all started trying to be goths. It makes our yearbooks really depressing. Looking across the cafeteria today, I see so many people in black that you'd think Cornersville Trace High School was a Transylvanian biker bar or something. But we're just another school in the post-human era.  

That's what we're living in, by the way, according to all the news blogs. The early post-human era. I suppose it beats living in the disco era.  

But as for me, I'm only into one dead guy: Cole Porter, the greatest songwriter who ever lived. He wrote show tunes like "I Get a Kick out of You," "It's De-Lovely" and "I've Got You Under My Skin" back in the 1930s, when guys really had style. I'd totally have his babies if he wasn't dead and gay and staying both ways, as far as I know. I sang his song "Love for Sale" at a talent show when I was six. I lost, but at least I lost with style.  

"Uh-oh," says Marie. "Show's over. Here comes Smollet."  

Mrs. Smollet, the guidance counselor, wanders up, making a face like she's sucking on about nine lemons, and taps Fred on the shoulder. She can deal with him better than the other teachers, since she's a vampire herself.  

Fred pulls his hand from under the table, and he and Michelle straighten themselves out. Most girls would probably blush if they found out that everyone, including a teacher, had been watching them getting felt up, but Michelle just looks around proudly, soaking up the jealous glares.  

Mrs. Smollet is one of those guidance counselors who go on and on about abstinence and "old-fashioned values." I was shocked when it turned out she's a vampire, but I guess it makes sense, if you think about it. Women in the Victorian era, when she grew up, couldn't even say the word "toes" out loud without blushing unless they were hookers, so it's no wonder that she gets freaked out by anything remotely related to sex. She was the one who made the school change the name of my music column from "Going Down a Dark Alley," which she thought was "too suggestive and urban," to "On the Beat with Alley Rhodes." Lame.  

"Okay," says Trinity. "Now that the show's over, we have stuff to cover. Peter, do you have your column ready?"  

"Almost," he answers. "I just need to throw in Alley's line about someone being both a wiener and a dick at the same time, and her thing about dead people having no reason to live."  

I smile proudly. Two in one column! None of us wants to admit that we don't make up our one-liners on the spot, but I've been waiting to use that "dead people have no reason to live" line for days.  

"And Alley," Trinity continues, "I hate to tell you this . . . but you're going to have to cover the Sorry Marios tonight."  

"I knew it," I say with a groan.  

"It's big news," says Trinity. "They just hired Will to play drums."  

The Sorry Marios are a bad local band featuring Nat Watson, the star of the basketball team, as lead singer and guitarist. Nat's not a bad guy, but he is a bad singer. And Will is one of the other vampires in school. He's an even bigger jerk than Fred.  

"I understand," I say. "But I'm not happy about it. They suck."  

"Maybe they'll be better with a vampire on drums," says Sadie. "Aren't vampires, like, musically gifted?"  

"Some are," says Marie.  

"It'll take more than that to get them not to suck," I say.  

"Well, skewer them if you have to," says Trinity, "just make it funny. It's not like you aren't at the Cage every other Friday night anyway."  

"Anyone want to go with me?" I ask.  

"I'm going with a bunch of other people," says Marie. "Will doesn't have a prom date yet."  

Marie goes to every event in town that might have a post-human present. If she thought a vampire would be there, she'd go to the opening of an applesauce jar.  

"I'll go with you," says Sadie. "Are you getting in without paying the cover?"  

I look up at Trinity.  

"You took care of that, right?"  

She nods. "You and a guest are on the list, and you get free pizza. Eddie promised me."  

Another sigh. "Somehow, the idea of free pizza at the Cage doesn't make this sound any easier."  

"Live with it," says Trinity. "And bring your laptop with you. I'll need your review by nine."  

"Fine," I say.  

We're still called the "newspaper" staff, even though the whole thing was moved online last year. It's just a blog, really. But we still have deadlines and stuff.  

I'm already writing the review in my head. Maybe I'll open by saying "The Sorry Marios should really be called the Sorry Excuse for a Band." Or maybe "There's never been a 'scene' here. No one talks about 'the Des Moines Sound.' And on the basis of the Sorry Marios, I suppose it's just as well."  

Suburban Des Moines isn't really all that bad, honestly. I've been to worse places. Like Nebraska.  

But once I graduate, all that's going to be left of me here will be an Alley-shaped hole in the door and a collection of witty zingers that will stay online and make me and my friends legends in Cornersville Trace for years to come.  

The pool of datable guys is sure to be much larger in Seattle, where I'm going to college.  

I'll only have to be this lonely for a few more months.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 17 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2012

    I own it

    I own the paper back book and its amazing.
    Ally and doug forever
    Poor doug save his love and dies trying
    A romantic short story and leaves ur mind wanting more

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2014

    5 STARS

    I loved this book. I finished it in one day because it kept me wanting to eagerly flip to the next page. There is some language but it is not that bad. I definately would recommend this book if you like a zombie romance !!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2013

    loved this book

    I got this book and i just fell in love with doug he is awesome this is a great book i recommend it

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 1, 2012

    The first thing that came into my mind when I saw the cover and

    The first thing that came into my mind when I saw the cover and read the title was 'gross'. Why would anyone want to kiss a decaying dead body that probably wants to eat your brains? In this weird but interesting book, we have Alley, who is known for her mean music reviews and her snarky remarks. Her narration alone made me crack up more than once. BUT by mid-book, Alley became a disappointment to me. I did not like her drastic change in character after just 80-pages and all for what? A boy. A zombie boy. But she didn't know that. Okay, I get it, its hard for people in the books scenario to tell the difference between mortals and immortals since everyone basically dresses in goth gear. But how can you not notice his smell, face, clothes and the way he talks! It all screams ZOMBIE!

    In the first few pages of the book, Alley Rhodes was cool, stubborn, mature and intelligent but when she changed into a love-dazed, stupid, naive 12-year-old, who did nothing but deny the fact that her boyfriend's a zombie during most of the book, everything I liked about the book just disappear and the storyline just began to drop quickly.

    Plot was present, the characters are weak and disconnected from the reader. I just finished the book and I can't remember the names of any of the secondary characters. Sad, I know. As for the ending, all I can say about it, is that it was abrupt and lacking. The author could have written a lot more and made the ending more smooth but sadly, he just stuck to rushed and cut-short.

    Despite all the negatives, I still enjoyed the book. It was entertaining and funny, how the writer portrayed a zombie-human romance and the writing style was amazingly breezy and clean, which allows the reader to go through the book easily. If only the author wrote more differently, added more details, and made Alley less-intolerable, then maybe the book would have been amazing. Other than that, the book is an entertaining light read for the adventurous readers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2012



    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 23, 2011

    Great Book

    I love anything paranormal, fantasy, etc. And I absolutely adore zombies. So when I saw this book, I need to get it. It was a good quick read, kept me chuckling and it made me smile at the Romeo and Juliet aspect of it. Definitely reccomended. Also reccomended: a box of Kleenex.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Don't Waste Your Time!!!

    I thought this was going to be a cute book, however the way the people talked was very unrealistic. Instead of saying she thought a boy was cute she said "God, he's so attractive."(page 89) This was VERY annoying. Also the author never really describes what the main character looks like, or any of the characters for that matter. Don't waste your money or time.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Part Parody + Part Epic-Ill-Fated Romance + Comedy

    I honestly have no clue how to write this review. I've been sitting here for probably an hour staring at my screen looking for the right words for this. Really, I have no clue.

    Alley Rhodes shouldn't have been a character that I enjoyed reading. She was nasty, judgmental and one of the mean girls I couldn't stand in high school. Yet, I loved her. Even her friends, who were no better then her in all of their Vicious Circle glory, had me giggling even with the little character development there was.

    Our main character who starts out as a rather judgmental and close-minded, jaded teenager comes-of-age by way of one of our lives most memorable and life changing events- finding our first true love. Unfortunately for Alley, later self-dubbed Gonk (the middle 'noise' of her full name), she has to over come several prejudices (which I must say she does quite easily with the realization that her attitude wasn't exactly a positive one) to allow herself to continue loving the boy, well Zombie, that captured her heart by way of music.

    This story wasn't only eye catching with it's cover and it's title, it was part parody, part epic-ill-fated romance, comedy and wait for it..... a story with lay-low morals. Yes! I said it! Deep within the confines of this zombierific-love-story there are morals to be found- morals that I didn't plan on finding. Of course, these morals didn't come in the form of angel-like characters, but still, they were there. We aren't given a Twilight worthy happy-ending, but I found the ending fulfilling of the story.

    I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked it was an awesome quick read! One which perhaps lacked some of the makings of an truly brilliant YA fiction read but I couldn't help but love it. It is definitely one that you have to have a sense of humor to read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2012

    I already have this book.

    Okay so i just got this book today, from the book fair.
    And it was just a couple of people that went.... and this was one of the many books that I got and once i got home my sister read one page and started laughing!!
    So then she said "ONCE YOU'RE DONE WITH THAT YOU MUST LET ME READ IT!" So I'm guessing its funny? (I got it in paper back) right now i'm reading A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS but I sometimes read books in between these books and this is goong to one of them!!
    Anyway thanks ADAM SELZER!!!!

    Sincerely me...

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2012

    I kissed a poop and i liked it

    My buddy vicky poops on me and i et it wirh hot sauce. Yummy thts the stuff. I eat t out of the crapper as well ad i ws wondering do you do this? If you do join the crapper lvers43 and you will have the bestedt ever nd you can join if your cockeyed and do crack are al welcomd

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2011

    a great quick read!!!

    Besides the title sounding like a whattpad story it was surprisely good. Also even though ally or as zombie lover Doug calls her gonk was a little judgmental. But is relatable. It is a great book to pick up when you are bored and just want to do something. Also a great book if you are into vampire, zombie,etc(fantasy) stuff but at the same time not all crazy girl on it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great read

    Ali Rhodes is the quintessential teenage curmudgeon. Music reviewer for her school paper and notorious snark queen she's the last person to fall for trends and scams--or in love. But at a local show she meets a guy who is tall, Goth and handsome, and who knows how to sing with soul. It's just too bad Doug is a zombie.
    While it starts off as a snarkeriffic paranormal humor tale in the end it makes a statement on the social pressures teens (and everyone really) face. (It manages to make fun of a lot of the trends in YA fiction as well.) Ali thinks she's highly resistant to the fall-in-love-with-a-vampire deals, but finds herself reconsidering the rest of her life when her guidance counselor pushes "converting" on her and Doug's personal limitations rear their evil heads.
    While the book ends too quickly I highly recommend it, especially for school or public collections with a lot of paranormal YA readers as it manages to be witty, funny, and meaningful.
    Contains: mild language, hinted adult situations

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    Posted April 27, 2011

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