4.2 38
by Kirsty McKay

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Out of sight, out of their minds: It's a school-trip splatter fest and completely not cool when the other kids in her class go all braindead on new girl Bobby.

The day of the ski trip, when the bus comes to a stop at a roadside restaurant, everyone gets off and heads in for lunch. Everyone, that is, except Bobby, the new girl, who stays behind with


Out of sight, out of their minds: It's a school-trip splatter fest and completely not cool when the other kids in her class go all braindead on new girl Bobby.

The day of the ski trip, when the bus comes to a stop at a roadside restaurant, everyone gets off and heads in for lunch. Everyone, that is, except Bobby, the new girl, who stays behind with rebel-without-a-clue Smitty.

Then hours pass. Snow piles up. Sun goes down. Bobby and Smitty start to flirt. Start to stress. Till finally they see the other kids stumbling back.

But they've changed. And not in a good way. Straight up, they're zombies. So the wheels on the bus better go round and round freakin' fast, because that's the only thing keeping Bobby and Smitty from becoming their classmates' next meal. It's kill or be killed in these hunger games, heads are gonna roll, and homework is most definitely gonna be late.

Combining the chill of THE SHINING, the thrill ride of SPEED, the humor of SHAUN OF THE DEAD, and the angst of THE BREAKFAST CLUB, Kirsty McKay's UNDEAD is a bloody mad mash-up, a school-trip splatter-fest, a funny, gory, frighteningly good debut!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An unlikely group of English teenagers work together to survive a zombie outbreak during a school ski trip to Scotland. With most of their class turned into flesh-eating monsters, Roberta, Alice, Smitty, and Pete find temporary refuge on their bus. Low on gas, surrounded by enemies, and unable to contact the outside world, they band together, taking shelter in a nearby castle. As can often be the case in zombie stories, humans threaten to become the real villains: the other inhabitants of the castle have their own malevolent agenda and may know more about the zombie outbreak than they let on. Blending comedy and violence, debut author McKay relies a bit too heavily on coincidence and convenient plot twists (out of all the castles in Scotland, the group walks into the one tied to the zombie outbreak). The characters—whose personalities are developed as they bludgeon their way through the novel—are the real draw in a story that otherwise covers well-shambled ground, entertaining but blending in with its gory bedfellows. Ages 14–up. Agent: Veronique Baxter, David Higham Associates. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

"A kick-ass teen-action zombie fest. Fast, furious, freaky, funny, and seriously sick. Oh, and did I mention it kicks ass?" -- Charlie Higson, author of the Young Bond and Enemy series

"I loved the black humor of this school-trip gone bad. Think Shaun of the Dead in the Scottish wilderness. The teen dynamics are spot on, too." -- The Bookseller UK

"Hysterically funny, suspenseful, and altogether superior fare." -- The Times of London

VOYA - Rebecca Denham
On the way home from a school-sponsored ski trip in the wilds of Scotland, a small group of high school students is faced with the ultimate test when their classmates and teachers mysteriously drop dead, only to reanimate into flesh-craving zombies. Roberta, Alice, Smitty, and Pete must put aside their differences and think fast if they want to survive. The typical school-centered zombie story is given a fabulous reboot in McKay's debut novel. The rural, mountainous setting provides its own set of challenges for the characters, as does the fact that the students were traveling via bus so are unable to barricade themselves in a nice, solidly built cabin or vault. McKay has done a fine job of using the actual resources available to her characters while keeping the reader on edge with fast-paced plotting and witty dialogue. She has also created the perfect balance of humor and horror so that Undead will have readers alternately biting their nails and snorting with laughter. This novel is told from the perspective of a female narrator, but Roberta is refreshingly pragmatic and capable, unlike many current heroines, so the point of view should not be a problem for male readers. Some American teens may find certain phrases strange, but the difference in culture should not change readers' enjoyment of the novel. Overall, this is a fun, pulse-pounding addition to the zombie genre, sure to be a hit with teens looking for an entertaining read. Reviewer: Rebecca Denham
Kirkus Reviews
There's no better place to begin the zombie apocalypse: a Scottish roadside convenience stop called the Cheery Chomper. Narrator Bobby doesn't actually see it happen; just returned to Britain after several years in the United States, she has holed up in the school bus for some peace and quiet while the rest of her classmates on the school ski trip pile out. But she notices it pretty darn quick in the pools of blood on the snow, the panic of her two classmates who have escaped and the shambling form of their former teacher. Loner Bobby, wiseass Smitty and popular-girl Alice are soon joined by annoying-nerd Pete and a couple of local kids, an older girl and her little brother. Together they bicker, defend their bus, bicker, try to figure out what happened, bicker and take shelter in a seemingly abandoned old stately home. Although Bobby has (mostly unplumbed) emotional depths, McKay plays her tale for maximum snark: As Bobby reflects, "you'd think that, when faced with an Undead army, random human survivors would find a really good reason to get along, but that certainly hasn't happened in our own little test group." Although humor and action keep the pages turning, readers may still find the plot dragging toward the end--which (gasp!) may not really be the end…. Blood spurts; entrails drag; body parts shed; hearts (living ones) throb--it's all good, gory, formulaic fun. (Horror. 14-18)
Children's Literature - Myrna Dee Marler
Bobby, a recent transplant from the U.S. to England, finds herself miserable, alone, and uncool on a school ski trip. Determined to stay on the bus while her fellow students go into a cafe for lunch, she is marooned with class rebel Smitty until popular girl Alice comes screaming out of the restaurant insisting that everybody else is dead, dead, dead! From there, the book is a non-stop, comically gory, action tale of Zombies Gone Wild in Scotland, and how Bobby and three other castaways battle their way to a precarious freedom. Since this book is the first part of a trilogy, all is not resolved by book's end and the reader must wait until Unfed comes to a bookstore near them. The writing is witty and seems completely current with teenage slang. The action is over-the-topprobably just the thing that young teens looking for escape and/or zombie lovers everywhere will enjoy. Reviewer: Myrna Dee Marler
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up—While on a field trip, four teens get snowed in at the Cheery Chomper café in rural Scotland. Their classmates and teachers have been turned into zombies, and the guy in the carrot costume might be responsible. Or not. Bobby, Smitty, Alice, and Pete are the only ones not infected with the zombie virus. In their efforts to get help, they end up uncovering a pharmaceutical conspiracy. With a hilarious and lively mix of cunning, bravery, and tomfoolery, the teens face explosions, projectile doughnuts, dead ends, an underground tunnel, an iced-over lake, countless drooling zombies, and that guy in the carrot costume. Bobby's narration is spiked with wit and perceptive snarkiness, revealing the personal issues she faces. Having already bound a gaping wound with the cashmere scarf her mother lent her, she responds similarly to help Pete with a wound: "I'm quick to retrieve a clean handkerchief that my mother thoughtfully placed in my jacket pocket for just such an occasion. (One of her token gestures to make up for never actually being there, I guess.)" There is a lot of blood, but the actual violence is cartoony and short-lived. Romance is limited to having a crush. Witty Briticisms and one-liners abound. With the exception of Bobby, the teens are stereotypes (tough guy, mean-girl cheerleader, geek). However, readers will get so caught up in the cliff-hanger chapter endings, endless action, and elements of surprise in this debut novel that character development will not be missed. First-rate fun.—Jennifer Prince, Buncombe County Public Library, NC

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
HL630L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

KIRSTY McKAY, born in the UK, now lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has written several children’s plays for regional theater. UNFED is the sequel to her debut novel UNDEAD. Visit her website at www.kirstymckay.com and follow her on Twitter @kirkybean.

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Undead 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
EverAfterEsther More than 1 year ago
I'm a sucker for anything zombie - it's an obsession almost to the point that it's shameful. So picture a happy me hugging this book when I found it as a surprise in my mailbox. CUE EXCITEMENT. And thankfully, Undead did deliver plenty of excitement. And plenty of zombies. Which is all I really need in a zombie book, so keep in mind that if zombies just aren't your thing. REASONS TO READ: 1. Non-stop action: Undead starts with a bang, ends with a bang, and every chapter is guaranteed to include a little emotional angst, some blood, and a scene that will leave your heart pounding. I felt like I was constantly waiting for a monster to jump out at me - which is saying a lot because I don't get that feeling too often while reading books. 2. Conspiracy theories that will make your head spin: Admittedly, zombie stories aren't known for being the most creative - they're usually standard fare. But Undead doesn't launch into theories about why there are zombies right away (something to do with kids running for their lives). But once they do? I appreciated that there were a few surprises. Some things were predictable, but not everything. 3. Characters who evolve: I wasn't too sure what to think of Smitty and Bobby at first. They didn't grab me initially, but they quickly wormed their way into my little heart. Bobby especially took a while to get to know, because she has herself so well-guarded and hidden away. But I was surprised about halfway through the book how much I was rooting for these two to get out of there alive. And? I loved that they could poke fun at each other and their situation. Undead is great partially because of the jokes and how it doesn't take itself too seriously - which is key for a zombie horror book.  I still felt like I was hoping for more from Undead to really WOW me though. Secondary characters that were more dimensional, a stronger & more unique story behind exactly what's taking place and why... both would have turned this into a book that I loved rather than just one I liked.  But this is still an excellent pick for fans of zombies like me.  Review copy received from Scholastic Canada for my honest review; no other compensation was received. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book and fell in love because it had the comedy, action and romance. It is the best book I had ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BEST. ZOMBIE. BOOK. EVER!!!!! Even if you are afraid of zombies and that type of thing, don't worry about this book! It is a comedy, so even if there is a gory part, you won't be scared. This was my first zombie book, and I am completely impressed by it. The diolouge, plot, and everything about it makes it one of the best books I've EVER read! The end just leaves you hanging, oh God! I was like whiningm screaming, and just having fun with the ending. I am ten years old and I thought that this was a very great teen book. (I read like teen and young adult stories, so you may think differently about it.) I would recommend this book to anybody ages ten and up. FUN FUN READING, GUYS!!!!!!!!!!
224perweek More than 1 year ago
This was a surprisenly good book. The middle was a little slow but it was worth sticking with it to the end which was really good. The book had a bit of a new take on zombies and there was quite a bit of humor in it also. Wouldn't mind reading book 2.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I slip into the shadows and sprint off
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found it hard to get into this book. It just felt like it was dumbed down. There was really no sense of alertness. the whole book just felt like a stroll, like they didnt really need to get anything done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey zach i sy smiling
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She summons her fire sythe and swings it lightly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Aug! I have to go. See you tommorow."*teleports out*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Coughes up blood before crawling off to her book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Everyone left. This place is dead.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can u tell everyone to go to kill it results 1,2,3,4 and start posting there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Puts sawed off shotgun to his back"this will go stright through you get out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im locked out so just grab a car and leave best bet is an impala
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MonicaFMF More than 1 year ago
While on the way home from a school ski trip, the bus stops at a restaurant for lunch. Bobbie and Smitty stay behind on the bus. Suddenly there is a zombie outbreak and chaos ensues. The narrator does a phenomenal job of accentuating shifts in time, location, types of action, and characters. Characters are dynamic, authentic, and continue to develop as the tale progresses. The narrative is complex, detailed, interlaced with humor and action. Overall, an thrilling read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book for a class project. I like the book very much. The author of this book is Kirsty McKay. The setting would be on a ski resort. Smitty is the main character. There schools on the way back from a field trip and they stop by a cafe and all goes wrong. They notice that their principle looked sick, soon or later they found out that he had drunk the carrot juice. The carrot juice was turning everyone into a zombie. This book really has nonstop action all the way through. Some things I enjoy about this book is how much action is in there. On every page its action based. The chapters are short but not to short you feel like your reading a short story. Dislikes, I don’t have many. The book is overall an A. I can’t think of one thing that’s wrong with it. The writer’s style is more like young and comedy. It’s an great zombie book and I truly recommended it to anyone who likes zombies or something action packed. My conclusion for this book is. It’s a great thriller. You won’t want to put the book down. Page by page it just gets better. Kirsty McKay did a spectacular job at this book. A great story, A movie would seal the deal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best zombie novels ever-Even better on the Nook! Truely a best seller.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read_A_Book More than 1 year ago
I really like the cover of this novel, and I was truly looking forward to reading this story, especially because I enjoy zombie books and I’m always looking for new books to push on my high school students. But, while I liked the novel for the most part, I felt like it was a little too fast paced, too convenient, and too middle grade for me, personally. The novel starts off with Bobby sulking in the back of her school bus, refusing to get off and use the bathroom. She watches students pile into the restaurant and wishes for friends, to be home, etc. Soon after, she finds herself stuck on the bus with a particularly arrogant student who makes too many jokes, and soon after that, all hell breaks loose. I felt like the novel went from 0 to 60 in a matter of pages, and while some readers may like jumping right into the midst of a story, I felt left behind. The characters were suddenly running around trying to figure things out, stay away from the zombies, all while trying to get to safety and I just felt like I missed something. I think it’s because I didn’t have any time to make connections with the characters before they found themselves in peril. I never did feel anything for the characters as I read—no sadness over deaths, no fear for their safety. Instead, I found the plot a bit too convenient. Here the survivors are, surrounded by zombies, driving a school bus through blizzard like conditions, and suddenly they find themselves at a castle that holds all the secrets. Too perfect for me, but honestly, I think this would be a great read for middle schoolers. I teach high school, and I don’t see most of my students being enthralled by this novel, but I think it’s perfect for the younger crowd. The writing, especially, lends itself to youngsters. Just take a look at the synopsis. The entire novel is written in the same type of format as the synopsis, and while I knew that was probably the case going in, I didn’t think it would actually affect my reading of the novel. It did. Things that would have come across as funny to younger readers just made me roll my eyes, and the characters began to test my nerves after a while. Of course, having no connection with them could be another reason behind that, but I just found that this novel never really drew me in past enjoying the mayhem. I liked it, but I wasn’t in love with it, like I sometimes am with MG novels, but that doesn’t mean others won’t enjoy it! If you like really fast paced novels and the way the synopsis is written (or if you’re kids do), then I highly suggest checking this one out.