Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Never Slow Dance with a Zombie

Never Slow Dance with a Zombie

4.1 14
by E. Van Lowe

See All Formats & Editions

Romy and Michelle's Hight School Reunion meets Night of the Living Dead in this laugh-out-loud debut YA novel by Emmy Award-nominated TV writer E. Van Lowe

Principal Taft's 3 Simple Rules for Surviving a Zombie Uprising:

Rule #1: While in the halls, walk slowly and wear a vacant expression on your face. Zombies won't attack other


Romy and Michelle's Hight School Reunion meets Night of the Living Dead in this laugh-out-loud debut YA novel by Emmy Award-nominated TV writer E. Van Lowe

Principal Taft's 3 Simple Rules for Surviving a Zombie Uprising:

Rule #1: While in the halls, walk slowly and wear a vacant expression on your face. Zombies won't attack other zombies.

Rule #2: Never travel alone. Move in packs. Follow the crowd. Zombies detest blatant displays of individuality.

Rule #3: If a zombie should attack, do not run. Instead, throw raw steak at to him. Zombies love raw meat. This display of kindness will go a long way.

On the night of her middle school graduation, Margot Jean Johnson wrote a high school manifesto detailing her goals for what she was sure would be a most excellent high school career. She and her best friend, Sybil, would be popular and, most important, have boyfriends. Three years later, they haven't accomplished a thing!

Then Margot and Sybil arrive at school one day to find that most of the student body has been turned into flesh-eating zombies. When kooky Principal Taft asks the girls to coexist with the zombies until the end of the semester, they realize that this is the perfect opportunity to live out their high school dreams. All they have to do is stay alive....

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Timothy Capehart
High school junior Margot Jean Johnson and her best friend Sybil Mulcahy created a high school manifesto before their first day of ninth grade. They wanted to be invited to parties, have boyfriends, and be popular. After two years, they have achieved none of their objectives. Then something strange happens at the Fall carnival and nearly every student at Salesian High becomes a shambling, raw-meat-loving, brainless zombie. Principal Taft enlists the girls to help him keep things running as smoothly as possible until his promotion at the end of the semester. Class geeks (and non-zombies) Baron and Milton attempt to create an antidote while Margot slowly conquers her manifesto (easy to be the most popular girl in school when you are the only one who regularly changes clothes). As she obsesses over meeting her goals, however, her friendship with Sybil dissolves. Solving the mystery of what happened at the carnival while dodging ravening hordes of high school undead opens Margot's eyes to what's really important. Television writer Lowe's novel debut is an entertaining enough romp with a foolish premise taken to extremes. The character development has an after-school-special obviousness, and the laughs could be more plentiful, but fans of horror/humor mash-ups will likely enjoy this one. That said, to paraphrase Margot's introductory letter, teens do not fare very well in her story; so if they are thin-skinned teens, they might want to throw this in the trash basket. Reviewer: Timothy Capehart
Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Margot Jean Johnson has written a manifesto outlining what she hopes to accomplish during her junior year of high school. Due to an odd twist of fate, all of her goals are accomplished during the fall semester: she becomes the popular person in school; she is in charge of the Prom Committee and the Homecoming Committee; she gets a boyfriend, and she is the Prom and Homecoming Queen. The only flaw to her plan is that almost everyone else in school has turned into a zombie after Carnival Days at the beginning of the semester. Along the way, Margot alienates her best friend and is rejected by Amanda Culpepper who was the school's most popular girl until she turned into a zombie. At one point, Margot even begs Amanda to bite her. That way, Margot would be a member of the "it" crowd of zombies. In the end, Margot realizes that her dreams of popularity were based on flawed and selfish values. She and her non zombie friends find the person who turned almost everyone into zombies. It was the principle who wanted conformity and order in his school. She also discovers the boy who has been flirting with her for years is actually handsome and fun to be with, even if he is classified as a geek. There is a lot of humor in this book, and Margot does end up making the right choices, but she is not likeable through most of the story and I found the message—individuality is a good thing, but care for others—to be a bit overplayed. The author's choices of music were strange: Michael Jackson and Tom Jones? Still, Margot's transformation is done nicely. If you are going to slow dance with a zombie, be sure to keep a vial of fish oil around your neck and a baggie full of raw meat, so hewill not chew on you. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
School Library Journal
Gr 8–10—Even though Margot Jean Johnson, 16, wrote a manifesto detailing her plans for success after middle school, none of her goals has come to fruition. All she has is the scorn of Amanda, head cheerleader at Salesian high; the love of Baron, total geek; and the loyalty of Sybil, her best friend. She has her eye on popular Dirk, but everyone knows that he'd never go out with her. But when almost everyone at school suddenly becomes a zombie, Margot gets her chance, and, with the blessing of the principal, she takes over. She becomes head of the yearbook and prom committees and head cheerleader. She even tries to train Dirk to be the perfect zombie boyfriend, using raw meat to keep him satiated. However, it soon becomes clear that someone at school has an ulterior motive and is responsible for the zombie infestation. Now that Margot has everything she's always wanted, will she give it all up to solve this mystery? Loyalties are tested and new relationships are formed as the truth is uncovered. This tale has some major flaws. Margot's insistence on running the school no matter what makes her unlikable and the principal's demand to proceed as if nothing were wrong strains belief. The moral of the story is hammered home as well, leading to a tedious read.—Laura Amos, Newport News Public Library, VA

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)
620L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"Do you think I’m a failure?"

"Absolutely," replied Sybil Mulcahy, my best friend in the world since the eighth grade. Or should I say former best friend, considering her response was clearly not what I was looking for.

We were in my bedroom studying. Actually, we were pretending to study. For those of you out of the loop, studying is teen girl code for talking about boys, parents, siblings, fashion, life—anything but school.

Sybil noticed my brow wrinkling and immediately tried buying her response back. "Wait!" she said. "You fooled me. Usually when you ask me a question the answer is yes. Do I look good in capris? Should I wear pink lipstick? Do you think I’m smart? Am I losing weight? Do you think I’m pretty? Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. So, you see? You lulled me into a false sense of yesness. I’m taking my answer back. Ask me again?"

"Forget about it, Syb. You answered truthfully." I rested the heel of my bare foot atop my French book lying on the bed. The books were there in case a parent happened to walk in on our study session. The current session involved painting our toenails.

"No. No, I didn’t. Ignore that silly, ludicrous, and ridiculous answer. Now that I’m hearing correctly, my answer is a definite no, of course not. You are in no way a failure. What would make you say that, anyway?"

She was sitting on the floor, her back against the bed, applying clear polish to her toes. Sybil rarely used color. She didn’t like standing out. She didn’t even like the idea of her toenails standing out—go figure.

"Remember this?" I waved the dog-eared sheet of loose-leaf paper I’d recently removed from my box of special things. The box was kept under my bed, away from prying eyes. By prying eyes I mean my little creep of a brother, Theo.

"What is it?" Sybil asked without looking up. She continued painting slowly, methodically.

"My high school manifesto," I said as I applied a coat of Fire house nail polish to my big toe.

I’d written the manifesto the night after middle school graduation. At the time, middle school seemed the low point of my existence. Each day for three long years I attended a school where I was constantly reminded of what a zero I was. I deemed it an experience never to be repeated. Boy, was I ever mistaken. My two years and two months at Salesian High made those middle school years seem like a Disney World vacation.

"I remember," said Sybil, her voice rising. "We were sitting right here, eating snickerdoodles and planning our fabulous high school careers. It was right after graduation, so we didn’t even have to pretend we were studying."

She laughed out loud. Normally I would have joined her, but today there was nothing to laugh about.

"Read it," she said. She stopped painting midtoe, and looked at me with anticipation.

I shook my head. "What’s the use? I’ve accomplished nothing on this list."

"Margot, that’s ridiculous. I’m sure you’ve accomplished something. Go on, read it. If you won’t, I will." She reached for the page. I yanked it away.

"All right already!" I sighed. I smoothed the wrinkles from the manifesto and read:

"Wow," said Sybil as I finished reading. "I didn’t realize how obsessed you were with Amanda Culpepper back then."

"What are you talking about? I wasn’t obsessed with Amanda Culpepper. I couldn’t care less about Amanda Culpepper."

She screwed the top back onto the nail polish bottle. "Not obsessed, huh?" she said, eyeing me skeptically.

"No. Of course not."

"Then how come her name is all over your manifesto?"

"I was using her as a benchmark, Syb. I could have used the name . . . oh, Kirsten Dunst, to make my point."

"Riiight," she said, although I’m quite sure she didn’t believe me. She changed the subject. "If it makes you feel any better, look at number one on the list. You are popular. Remember that time in gym class when we played dodgeball and all the girls, even Amanda, voted you the designated dodger? I do believe it was unanimous."

I stared at her. Was she being serious, or just trying to be nice? Sybil is the Queen of Nice. When I first met her she was standing in front of a bulldozer trying to keep it from plowing over an old tree. She clearly has a tendency to take niceness to unheard-of levels.

"Syb, being unanimously chosen as the person to throw balls at is not my idea of popularity."

"Oh? Okay, I guess I can see that." She again peered at the manifesto. "How about number three? We go to parties. My fifteenth birthday party. What a blast. We danced all night."

It was a slumber party whose exclusive guest list boasted three: me, Sybil, and her cat, Sebastian. We partied the night away to her grandmother’s ancient Tom Jones recordings. Didn’t she realize how utterly pathetic that sounded? She was obviously being nice. Again!

I read number six: "I will have a boyfriend." I shot her a look that had failure written all over it.

"I don’t remember that." She took the page from my hand and read it for herself, as if that was going to change things. She looked up at me. "Okay, so no boyfriends, yet. We still have almost two years of high school left. We’ll have boyfriends. And not just any boyfriends, Dirk Conrad even."

Dirk Conrad was a six-foot-two se nior, with a great body and glacier-blue eyes that made every girl at school ache in her loins. Okay, so maybe nobody got a loin-ache, but you know what I mean. Dirk was hot.

"We can’t both go out with Dirk Conrad, Syb."

"I know, silly. I’m using him as a benchmark."

She had to know that the Dirk Conrads of the world wouldn’t be caught dead dating my type. And if you’re wondering what my type is, let’s just say I’m not the type to wind up on the cover of a fashion magazine. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not fat. I’m just not skinny. I’m what I like to call an in-betweener.

"I appreciate the sentiment. But I don’t think I’m Dirk’s type."

"Why not?" She stared at me all wide-eyed and innocent. It was as if Sybil had moved here from Mars three years ago instead of Monrovia, California. She had no idea about high school protocol. A jock like Dirk Conrad, a se nior, would never date me. Aside from not being Heidi Klum, I wasn’t a member of the pool of girls that jocks at our school normally went out with. Unfortunately, Amanda—gag!—Culpepper was. Not that I cared.

I did appreciate that Sybil saw me as this amazing person who could run in any circle, fit in anywhere, and do almost anything. But she shouldn’t get delusional about it.

"I think you should ask him to go to the carnival Thursday night," she suddenly said.

"Huh? Ask who?"

"Why, Dirk Conrad, of course."

And the delusion continues.

"Are we talking about the real Dirk Conrad or the benchmark Dirk Conrad? Because the real Dirk Conrad doesn’t even know I exist."

"He doesn’t know you exist yet. But he will." She smiled and leaned in. There was conspiracy in her eyes. "The carnival is a Sadie Hawkins event."

"I know."

"That means girls can ask boys."

"I know."

"His Facebook page says he doesn’t have a date yet."

"I know!" Panic was beginning to rise in the pit of my stomach as I realized where the conversation was headed.

"The worst he can say is no."

"Uh-uh! No way!"

Didn’t she get what a no from Dirk Conrad could mean? "No is a powerful word and not to be taken lightly, Syb. If Amanda and her Twigettes found out Dirk declined my invitation I’d be a laughingstock."

"I thought you weren’t obsessed with Amanda."

"I’m not. But there’s no sense in inviting ridicule."

"Margot, if we’re ever going to make the manifesto a reality we have to start somewhere."

She was right about that. If I was going to keep from being a total high school washout I needed to accomplish something on the list.

"I could get a car," I suddenly said. "That’s on the list."

"You crossed it out. I think it was because of how hysterically your father laughed when you ran the idea past him."

"True. He laughed himself into an asthma attack. But now that I’m thinking about it, a car is way more realistic than dating Dirk." I erased the cross-out mark.

"There. Now we’ve got something to shoot for," I said, brushing eraser crumbs from the manifesto. "You know, I think we should sign up for driver’s ed next semester. If I get a car, one of us should know how to drive it."

"What if I ask him for you?"

Instinctively I stiffened. Was I hearing correctly? "Why would you do that?"

"We’re best friends, Margot. And I know you’d like to go out with him."

"Well . . . yeah." I swallowed hard.

"There you have it. What are best friends for if not to do cool stuff for each other?"

Some days it seemed as if Sybil really was from Mars. Best friends rarely do cool stuff for each other at our age. High school is where best friends sometimes stab each other in the back.

"What do you think?" she asked, smiling up at me.

What I thought was, No Earth girl can be this naive. But of course, I didn’t say that. At first, I was going to remind her that she was as shy as I was when it came to boys—shyer even. But all of a sudden, I was finding it hard to concentrate. The idea of going to the carnival with Dirk had invaded my thoughts. And I have to admit, I liked the invasion.

"And you don’t have to worry about any embarrassment," she continued. "If he says no, he’ll be saying no to me."

"But why would he say yes? He doesn’t even know me."

"Dirk is so cute, I’ll bet every girl at school is afraid to ask him out. They’re probably all thinking, He’ll never go to the carnival with me."

"That’s pretty much what I was thinking."

"I know, but don’t you see? Poor Dirk will probably spend Thursday night home alone because everyone is too chicken to ask him out. . . . Everyone, but you."

Her argument was making sense. Still, I had my doubts. "I don’t know, Syb. . . ."

"Imagine the look on Amanda Culpepper’s face when you show up at the carnival with Dirk."

And just like that, I didn’t have so many doubts.

"Amanda and her twigs will be sooo jealous," she sang.

Amanda Culpepper jealous of me?

This was worth considering.

Excerpted from Never Slow Dance with a Zombie by E. Van Lowe.

Copyright 2009 by E. Van Lowe.

Published in September 2009 by Tom Doherty Associates.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

Meet the Author

E. VAN LOWE was born in New York City and moved to Los Angeles to attend graduate school. He cowrote the Academy Award-nominated short film Cadillac Dreams, and was a writer for many TV shows, including The Cosby Show, Knight Rider, and Even Stevens. He was nominated for an Emmy for his work on Even Stevens. Never Slow Dance with a Zombie is his first novel for young adults.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Never Slow Dance with a Zombie 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I want anyone having a bad day to get this book because your family will wonder why you're suddenly giggling and reading aloud funny lines you just have to share! As a middle school teacher I've already visited my school library and put in a request to buy it for students, faculty, and staff to enjoy. Who wouldn't understand how awful it is try to fit in at high school, that is until the zombies take over! A fresh voice on the young adult scene...I hope there's many more books to come!
CScarlett More than 1 year ago
I have never a zombie book before this one. Zombies never really stood out to me as interesting but my thoughts may have changed after reading ‘Never Slow Dance with A Zombie’. I am definitely looking at zombies in a new light. I loved this book; it was a great YA read. It was so fun and adventurous. It has a great moral of the story for the teenagers who wish they were someone else. There is nothing wrong with being you and loving your indivuality and E. Van Lowe really captures that. This book was a quick read; it was funny, action packed, and a great read. The writing was brilliant and I may even read more zombie books now. I loved the characters they were your high school kids with spunk and great personality and their own little quirks. I really like Sybil and Baron the best. They were pretty classic characters. The ending was pretty genius, I never seen it coming. I would recommend this book to everyone, even if you don’t like zombies. It is an exceptional read and I can’t wait to read more of E. Van Lowe’s work.
Mindy_Lou More than 1 year ago
I bought the book because the cover got me.. I also read the back and the book sounded interesting..It was light and entertaining.. It also taught a good lesson about true friendship and I would say it was your basic run of the mill High school expierence minus the zombie's.. :) It was overall a good book , well written and enjoyable..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a super amazing book love the charicters names
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BeautyBriteReviews More than 1 year ago
I have never read a zombie book and I don't recall watching any zombie movies so I knew very little about zombies. This book was a whole new experience for me. E. Van Lowe sent me a copy of his book, Never Slow Dance with a Zombie and I read it in a few nights. The book follows Margot and Sybil, two best friends in high school. They are forced to survive high school after most of the student body turn into zombies! They turn to their principal for help on how to survive. They realize they must on their own. Principal Taft gives them full authority to run the school events and order around school. Sybil chooses to be head lunchroom monitor. Margot volunteers to head the school events, including the dance and holiday pageant. Margot wants to be popular, the center of attention, and have a boyfriend. Sybil just wants to be Margot's friend and keep the peace. She wants to support Margot and helps her through her journey to popularity. Margot and Sybil help each other survive their high school full of zombies. Margot and Sybil also learn so much about themselves, their friendship, and what is really important in life. I loved reading Never Slow Dance with a Zombie. Fun and easy book to get into.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
harstan More than 1 year ago
In high school, Margot remains a failure when it comes to popularity especially her fantasy of having Dirk ask her to the carnival. Her BFF Sybil says she has it under control as she will ask Dirk out for Margot. Sybil hides her attraction to Dirk from Margot. Meanwhile making matters worse for Margot is her most hated enemy Amanda Culpepper is dating Dirk. Whereas Margot does not go to the carnival, Sybil does but leaves early as she had no one with her. The next day the pair expects to hear how everyone had a good time and by implication they are losers. Instead they find their classmates have become zombies, but remained with their pre zombie subculture. Instead of fleeing screaming Margot and Sybil mount a coup d'etat taking over as the new kids on the block in charge. They instigate the anti zombie laws while converted Dirk remains a stud muffin albeit a bit slower than before the carnival. With a nod to chick lit and principal rules, NEVER SLOW DANCE WITH A ZOMBIE is an amusing tale as Margot the magnificent and her bud work the high school. The story line uses student stunts to provide some sense of realism, but this young teen urban fantasy focuses on how to lead the in crowd when your school is overrun (bad term as zombies don't run) by zombies and your hunk gives off hunks of epidermal parts. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book expected more but still a good book
Jesse Bronski More than 1 year ago
though for tweens in seventh or eighth grade, its a book all will love. the story of a girl who is average, and who is now stuck with a mini apocolypse. in her highschool!
EdHardyGirl More than 1 year ago
This book appears to be good at first start. Once I am finished I will give a report. But so far the first few pages have captivated me. (: