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… See more details below


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!

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Editorial Reviews

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
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

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
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)

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Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
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File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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