The Infects


A feast for the brain, this gory and genuinely hilarious take on zombie culture simultaneously skewers, pays tribute to, and elevates the horror genre.

Seventeen-year-old Nero is stuck in the wilderness with a bunch of other juvenile delinquents on an "Inward Trek." As if that weren’t bad enough, his counselors have turned into flesh-eating maniacs overnight and are now chowing down on his fellow miscreants. As in any classic monster flick worth its salted popcorn, plentiful ...

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A feast for the brain, this gory and genuinely hilarious take on zombie culture simultaneously skewers, pays tribute to, and elevates the horror genre.

Seventeen-year-old Nero is stuck in the wilderness with a bunch of other juvenile delinquents on an "Inward Trek." As if that weren’t bad enough, his counselors have turned into flesh-eating maniacs overnight and are now chowing down on his fellow miscreants. As in any classic monster flick worth its salted popcorn, plentiful carnage sends survivors rabbiting into the woods while the mindless horde of "infects" shambles, moans, and drools behind. Of course, these kids have seen zombie movies. They generate "Zombie Rules" almost as quickly as cheeky remarks, but attitude alone can’t keep the biters back. Serving up a cast of irreverent, slightly twisted characters, an unexpected villain, and an ending you won’t see coming, here is a savvy tale that that’s a delight to read — whether you’re a rabid zombie fan or freshly bitten — and an incisive commentary on the evil that lurks within each of us.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Tainted chicken leads to the Zomb-A-Pocalypse in this twisted take on the genre. After an exhaustion-induced freakout at his job at a slaughterhouse, 17-year-old Nick “Nero” Sole is sentenced to three months at the intensive Inward Trek boot camp, where he meets other troublemakers and delinquents. Their foray into the wilderness is disrupted, however, when their counselors turn feral. Now the dead are walking, and they have a taste for flesh; Nick and his fellow survivors—including his crush, Petal—are hard-pressed to stay alive against an onslaught of unrelenting, unstoppable monsters, whose ranks grow with each new victim. Worse, their eventual rescue only leads to further horrifying revelations and a surprising twist on the zombie concept. Horror goes hand in hand with dark comedy in this wickedly unpredictable adventure, as Beaudoin simultaneously skewers the fast food industry and familiar zombie tropes. Offbeat characters and a high body count combine with an evocative narrative style—not as noirish as the one Beaudoin used in You Killed Wesley Payne, but just as edgy—to create a cinematic atmosphere. Ages 14–up. Agent: Steven Malk, Writer’s House. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
Beaudoin’s blackly comedic tale takes zombie lore to new territory—not only with the outbreak’s unusual point of origin but also with its consideration of the next phase of human evolution. An utterly original voice, plenty of sly pop-culture references, and a twist ending make for a satisfying read.
—The Horn Book

It is the zombie novel only Beaudoin could write, an allusive horror novel that engages in philosophical, social, and humanist critique while providing plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)

Horror goes hand in hand with dark comedy in this wickedly unpredictable adventure, as Beaudoin simultaneously skewers the fast food industry and familiar zombie tropes.
—Publishers Weekly

Children's Literature - Remy Dou
A pair of shoulder blades, a side of bicep, and a sliver of buttocks—the perfect recipe for a man eating bear or a hungry zombie. If books were rated by the Motion Picture Association, this one would get a PG-13, at least. Is that bad? No, it is awesome! Thanks to seventeen-year-old Nick "Nero" Sole, a batch of super chicken at Rebozzo's slaughterhouse is contaminated with copious amounts of blood as he accidentally chops into the palm of his hand. It just so happens, Rebozzo also owns the most popular fast-food chicken chain. As Nero heads to a juvenile rehabilitation camp for sabotaging the chicken plant, people everywhere begin to turn into zombies. His funny, delinquent camp mates distract him from worrying about his precocious, but challenged little sister, Amanda, and the disdain he carries for his deadbeat dad (a.k.a. The Dude). Before long, Nero is frantically leading a group of ragtag bandits through the woods and away from a sexy, intelligent zombie named Swann. Oh yeah, she also happens to be in control of a massive army of hungry, dumb zombies. Fortunately, the girl Nero is in love with, Petal, carries the cure for the zombie infection. Unfortunately, it is in her blood. Beaudoin brings a fresh, unique voice to the zombie genre, and with names like Heavy D, Mr. Bator, and Sad Girl, his characters are as likeable as B-rated actors can get. Lots of blood and gore add color to the plot. While the storyline will appeal to male readers, some of its strongest characters are female. It is an engaging read; with parental approval, this book is recommended. And yes, expect a sequel. Reviewer: Remy Dou
VOYA - Sherrie Williams
Nick is seventeen, stuck in a dead-end job as a chicken plucker in a nugget mega-factory, and does not think life can get much worse. He is wrong—after a gory accident at work, he is charged with halting production and sentenced to a wilderness camp called Inward Trek along with other teens needing rehabilitation. Rechristened "Nero" as he and his fellow inmates begin the long hike that is supposed to mold them into upstanding citizens, their guards are instead transformed into blood-thirsty zombies. Nero and his rag-tag band of young felons fight to stay human and avoid the ravenous zombie hoard. Nero is aided by a periodic stream of advice from Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson that only he can hear, adding to the surreal tone of his struggle. This novel is full of dark, satiric humor (offering a series of "zombrules" and reflections on zombies in popular culture) and irreverent references to punk rock and horror movies. Oddly, the zombies (the titular "infects") do not appear until one hundred pages into the book; some readers may be frustrated by the early pacing, but patience is rewarded with lots of gory action once the zombies make their entrance. The conclusion of the book is brave and unexpected, offering readers a twist in a bleakly memorable ending. Booktalk this smart skewering of the zombie genre to your older teen readers as a gloriously bloody, profane smash-up of Louis Sachar's Holes (Scholastic, 1998/Voya December 1998) and the film Zombieland, and it will find an enthusiastic audience. Reviewer: Sherrie Williams
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Nick Sole works as an "assistant poultry conversion facilitator"-which means he butchers chickens. Or he did butcher chickens until he went a bit crazy in his workplace and wound up sentenced to "Inward Trek," an outdoor reform program for juvenile delinquents. Everyone gets a nickname, and thus Nick becomes Nero and joins War Pig, Mr. Bator, Yeltsin, Billy, Idle, Cupcake, Joanjet, Raekwon, Petal, and others in the wilderness outside San Francisco. They soon learn that their guards have been eaten by zombies, and their newfound freedom consists mostly of trying to outrun the flesh-eating undead. Occasional flashbacks introduce The Dude (Nick's dad), Nick's missing mother, and his odd but likable sister. Beaudoin plays with language, and readers need a fairly sophisticated level of pop-culture awareness to get all the references, but even without getting every snarky aside, the story moves forward. Levels of teen lust and four letter words are in keeping with high school. The story includes Chixx Nuggets, Zombrules #1 through #24, grisly descriptions of flesh-munching, Nu-Clients, and a food-engineering conspiracy much bigger and badder than expected. The number of plotlines can be distracting at times, and the how and why people turn into zombies doesn't feel well thought out, but there is a certain "horror movie" aura that keeps readers wondering what is down in the basement or waiting to pop out from behind the door. The Infects may have an audience with cool-cat readers who like being one step ahead of the adults in the room.Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX
School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 9 Up—After an incident with chicken, a knife, and lots of blood, Nero is sentenced to three months in a juvenile delinquent camp called Inward Trek. On the way up to the trail, his counselors buy a bucket of Chix Nuggets at Fresh Bucket. By the next day, both the counselors and one of the campers who snuck a bite of the chicken, are zombies. Now it's survival of the smartest and fittest against a group of zombies who aren't as dumb as they appear. Can Nero and his delinquent fellow campers survive the Zombie Apocalypse that's in the making? Beaudoin's unique, dark, humor-filled story (Candlewick, 2012) is brought to life by Nick Podehl whose evocative narrative style and unique voices for the characters complement this hard-core horror novel with a twist. This unpredictable adventure features smooth transitions between survival and human vs. zombies scenes. Although the plot has some holes in it and the sexual innuendos get a little old after a while, fans of zombie stories will be pulled into this action-packed, unpredictable adventure where the lines between good and evil are blurred.—Kira Moody, Whitmore Public Library, Salt Lake City, UT
Kirkus Reviews
A court-mandated hike becomes zombie flick, laden with 1980s pop-culture references. Seventeen-year-old Nick's life could be better. Since his worthless father, the Dude, "Has Other Concerns" than buying groceries, Nick works at the chicken factory to earn food and medicine for his oddball baby sister. An accident at the factory leaves Nick jailed for...well, it's not clear what he's jailed for. Living in an unjust world, perhaps? Nick's troupe of realistically foulmouthed delinquents are soon fighting off chicken-gnawing, entrails-chomping zombies at the top of a mountain, calling one another "fag" every step of the way. In prose that consists of far too many one-sentence and even one-word paragraphs ("Had to see. / If it was. / Skoal. / Another step"), Nick has masturbatory fantasies about the hottest girl zombie, even while mooning over the object of his affections, Petal Gazes, a manic pixie punk-rock girl with anime eyes and a "Bauhaus" hoodie. Like Pete Hautman's Rash (2006), this over-the-top boys'-prison-camp adventure resembles a grown-up Holes (1998), but lacks the heart and ultimate optimism of either. The sexed-up face-eating may please dedicated fans of the shambling undead, despite self-aware sarcasm that explicitly mocks the commercialism of current zombie fandom. Gory horror that thinks nihilist incoherence is the same thing as edgy. It's wrong. (Horror. 15-17)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781469206196
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 9/25/2012
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 5.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Sean Beaudoin is the author of three cutting-edge young adult novels, including You Killed Wesley Payne. The Infects is his first novel with Candlewick Press. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

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