The end of the world just might be their perfect beginning…
Glenview, North Carolina. Also known—at least to sixteen-year-old Ava Pegg—as the Land of Incredibly Boring Vacations. What exactly were her parents thinking when they bought a summer home here? Then the cute-but-really-annoying boy next door shows up at her place in a panic…hollering something about flesh-eating zombies attacking the town.
At first, Ava's certain that Cole spent a little too much time with his head in the moonshine barrel. But when someone—or something—rotted and terrifying emerges from behind the woodpile, Ava realizes this is no hooch hallucination. The undead are walking in Glenview, and they are hungry. Panicked, Ava and Cole flee into the national forest. No supplies, no weapons. Just two teenagers who don't even like each other fighting for their lives. But that's the funny thing about the Zombpocalypse. You never know when you'll meet your undead end. Or when you'll fall dead over heels for a boy…
About the Author
Alison Kemper grew up in South Florida, the only girl on a street with eleven boys. She spent her childhood paddling a canoe through neighborhood canals and looking for adventure. She usually found it. Sometimes the police were involved. And large dogs. And one time, a very territorial snake. Now that she's grown up, she lives in North Carolina and writes books. The books often include girls having adventures. With boys. Cute boys. And cute dogs, too. But no cute snakes. Never cute snakes.
Read an Excerpt
Dead Over Heels
By Alison Kemper, Kerri-Leigh Grady
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2014 Alison Kemper
All rights reserved.
Autumn sunlight streams through the kitchen of our vacation house. "Come on, Ava." Mom slides the glass across the counter. "It's just iced tea. The poor boy's probably dying of thirst. Take it out to him."
I fight to suppress a giggle. My mother's matchmaking attempts have never been subtle. "Which brother's working today?" I ask. "The hot one?"
"Like I'd have any idea which is the hot one," she says in her best mom voice.
I close the SAT prep book I've been reading since breakfast. "Well, the older brother is tall, dark-haired, and takes off his shirt while he works in our yard — even when it's, like, forty degrees out. And the younger one wears camo and plays the banjo. I'm not sure he's my type."
She nods at the tea. "You'll have more fun here if you make friends. And I'm sure both boys are very nice."
"If they're so nice," I tease, "why don't you bring the tea?"
Her eyebrows lift, disappearing behind her bangs. "Like I don't have enough to do around here. Your dad and I are heading to the lumberyard this afternoon to get the post caps."
I wince sympathetically. If mom's helping dad all day, she probably has enough on her plate. "Dad's still planning to fix the fence himself?"
"He'll try. I hope he doesn't screw it up before he calls a professional."
"Like when he installed the new garage door?"
She grins. "And it closed on the hood of my car?"
Laughing, I hop from the bar stool and grab the tea. "You guys are cute. Go fix your fence. I'll meet this country boy. Maybe he'll serenade me with a banjo tune."
She hands me a fistful of sugar packets. "Take these. People around here don't seem to like my tea."
The screen door bangs shut behind me, a blast of cold, outside air reminding me I'm not in Florida anymore. Our patio is still a mess — crumbled concrete and half-missing steps. Six months ago, my parents decided to buy this vacation house in the country — a fixer-upper with enough land for a tree farm.
From now on, I'll spend every summer and school break in the North Carolina mountains. It's beautiful here, but remote — maybe even a little lonely. No cable TV. No internet. Heck, my phone doesn't even work here half the time. It's like one of those maps the cell phone companies use to show coverage — with the blank areas. I'm in a blank area. A big blank area.
As I navigate the overgrown path toward the edge of our land, I wonder what's happening in the nonblank areas. It's Thanksgiving break, and if I were home in Orlando, I'd be heading to the mall with my friends. We'd eat lunch in the glassed-in food court — the one place where I feel like I'm outside without actually being outside. It'd be warm enough to wear a tank top and flip-flops. Here, the temperature has dipped below sixty. I already regret leaving my hoodie in the house.
I'm careful not to touch any of the plants on the unkempt trail. Part of me wants to stop and tuck my yoga pants into my socks — to stop bugs from crawling up my leg — but another part of me — the vain part — knows I look dorky when I do this.
I follow the buzz of the weed whacker. My parents hired the Greer brothers to clear the overgrown fields so we can plant Christmas trees. The Greers live down the mountain, like, a half mile from us. Our other neighbors, the Beavers, are at least a mile, maybe two, up the road. There's some swanky country club over the next ridge, but it's pretty far. Everything in between is national forest. No houses for miles. For a girl from the 'burbs, this isolation feels totally bizarre.
Banjo Boy has already cleared half the scruffy field. Fall-colored leaves smoke and pop in a small fire.
"Hey," he yells, turning off the weed whacker.
That's what the locals say. Not hi or hello, but hey.
They also say red light. If they give directions, it's, "Turn left at the red light." Never green or yellow. Always red.
I joke around with my parents about the local accents, but truth be told, I think the Southern drawl is kind of cute. Especially on the shirtless brother.
I edge closer to the fire, careful to stay out of the high, dangerous grass. "Um, yeah. Hello. Hey. My mom thought you might be thirsty. She sent tea." Smoke burns my nostrils, making me cough.
He eyes the drink warily. "Is it sweet tea?"
I hold up the sugar packs.
He appears less than thrilled but takes them anyway. The hand reaching for the glass is coated in grime and soot.
Be nice, Mom said. Try to talk.
"Um, sorry it's iced. Guess she forgot how cold it is out here."
"It's warm by the fire." He says it like far.
Leaning against a stump, he tears the sugar packets with his teeth. I kind of wish I had an excuse to snap a pic of his outfit — camo pants, navy work jacket like mechanics wear, and a brown ball cap with the words "Trout Magnet" embroidered across the front. It's sort of adorable, but my friends back home would never believe it.
The boy doesn't say anything, just focuses on dumping each pack of sugar in the tea. Is he shy? Antisocial? Guess it's up to me to make the small talk.
"So, you hear about that flu?" I ask.
"The one in China?"
I nod. "Yeah. Crazy stuff, right?"
For the entire week before we came up to North Carolina, the national news focused on a health scare in Beijing. Scientists think it's some weird mutation of rabies — one that causes people to lose their minds and run around biting each other to spread the infection. The Bleke-Burns virus, they call it, although some late-night comedian keeps referring to it as Zombie Flu, probably because of rumors that the biting has turned to cannibalism in extreme cases. My AP bio teacher has been pretty much obsessed with the outbreak — assigning us extra reading on viruses and asking for current-events reports based on the news. I'm almost glad to be on vacation in the woods and away from the constant footage of infected people. Their bizarre, pale eyes have started haunting my dreams.
The boy's brow creases. "Reckon we'll get it here?"
Is he kidding? The outbreak is on the other side of the planet. Plus, we're, like, in the middle of freaking nowhere. "Uh, no. Glenview's pretty isolated. I think we're good. I'm sure the government will keep it contained — you know, like how Ebola stays in Africa."
He takes a small sip of tea. Awkward silence again. He finally glances up. Under the filthy cap brim, his eyes are the same glacial blue as his brother's.
"So, um, where's Jay?" I'm sure this kid's nice, and he's not bad-looking, but I'd be more enthusiastic about this errand if I was talking with the shirtless brother.
"Him and Dad went camping. I stayed behind to finish the job." He nods toward the fire. The far.
"Pretty chilly for camping."
He tosses the empty sugar packs in the flames. "We're used to it. Best deer hunting's in November."
"You bow hunt?" The corners of his mouth quirk up, like he already knows my answer.
"Are you kidding? I could never shoot a deer. They're too beautiful."
His smile tightens, accentuating a pale scar on his chin. "You get hungry enough, you'll shoot the pretty deer." His eyes lock on mine, waiting for a reaction.
A shiver runs down my spine. Okay, it's official — I have zero in common with this guy.
"I'd better get back to the house and uh, help my mom." I take a step away from him.
"Your name's Eva, right?"
"Ava," I correct.
"Tell your mom thanks for the tea. It was nice of her to send it." The politeness doesn't match this rough-looking boy. "I'm Cole."
He doesn't offer his grimy hand, and I'm glad.
"It's, um, nice to meet you," I try to smile, but it feels like a lie.
"Yeah, you, too." He hands back the glass. "Good tea."
I suddenly realize he might be lying, too.
* * *
Afternoon sun burns through my work jacket, warming my shoulders and back. I wrestle a dead kudzu vine into the fire and readjust my favorite cap — the funny "Trout Magnet" one Jay gave me for Christmas. When I raise my eyes again, the new girl has already disappeared back into her house.
Floridiots. That's what we call them around here. Rich A-holes who flatten our forests to make gated communities. Clog our roads every summer with SUVs that cost more than my house. When I washed dishes in Highland, it'd take me an extra half hour to drive up the mountain, stuck behind looky-loos with out-of-state tags.
This new family's no different. Take the girl, for instance. Acting like she's doing me a huge favor with that glass of crappy tea. She's pretty, sure — clean and bright-eyed — but pale as skim milk. I ain't got much use for delicate girls.
I poke my fire and study the surrounding acres of brush and forest, nestled in a cup between mountain peaks. If my family owned this land, they'd have me down here working, hauling brush or hunting ginseng by the creek. Wonder if the girl gets outta chores 'cause she's female. I got a hunch, even if she had a brother, I'd still be out here doing hard labor while he played Call of Duty or some crap like that.
I sling another mess of brambles on the fire and wish for the millionth time I was out in the forest with Dad and Jay. Working for Florida Girl's parents beats the hell out of slaving at the country club, but it's still same old, same old. A bunch of city folk with no damned clue about the mountains.
These two acres make up the best grouse hunting along Walnut Creek Road. Or they used to — before this idiot clear-cut the land for Christmas trees. I've hunted this thicket since I was eight. Watched the chicks run through the brush every spring. Now I'm burning their homes to ashes.
And the girl said she didn't like to hurt animals.
Florida people don't know nothing.
* * *
Banjo Boy stirred up a ton of pollen cutting that brush. By the time I climb back to the house, my eyes burn like far. I pop a chewable allergy pill, the familiar bitter-orange taste coating the back of my throat.
The kitchen is warm after the chill of the November air. In the other room, Mom and Dad argue in soft voices. As usual, it's about me. And my stupid allergies. Not the standard pollen aversion that half the world suffers from. The other allergies — the life-threatening ones.
"You know I hate leaving her alone," Mom says.
"She's sixteen, Margery. In January, she'll get her license. And a few years after that, she'll leave for college."
"I know, but —"
"She'll stay inside. What could hurt her?"
"I don't know." Mom pauses. "A random colony of fire ants?"
Dad sighs in a long-suffering way. "We've had the house sprayed. She'll be fine. And we can ask the Greer boy to check on her."
"I'm not sure that's wise, asking a sixteen-year-old boy to check on our gorgeous daughter we've left alone in the middle of the woods."
Dad grunts. "Point taken."
"Ugh," I say, entering the kitchen. "Is Mom still trying to set me up with Banjo Boy?"
Mom laughs, fishing her keys from her purse. "Why don't you come with us today, sweetie?"
Tempting. My phone works sort of randomly in town. I might be able to call some of my friends at home. Of course, I'd just have to hear about all their amazing plans for Thanksgiving break.
"I'll just stay here," I tell my parents. "My bio teacher assigned a big research paper on rabies — due Tuesday after we get back."
Dad nods solemnly. "Wouldn't want your average slipping to a ninety-nine percent or something."
I lean over to swat his arm. He gives me a hard time about my school obsession, but I know he's proud.
Mom unhooks her good coat from the peg near the door. "Stay inside, okay? I don't like you going outside when we're not here."
"Yeah, yeah. I promise. Not a foot out of the house." I pour myself a glass of tea. "Got your list?"
Dad pats his jacket pocket.
A trip to town means a major haul through the wilderness. It's nearly forty miles to Glenview, and most of the road is unpaved and pockmarked. The town sits in the valley, surrounded by mountains and national forests. Sure, it's beautiful, but it makes our home-improvement projects a nightmare. My dad's not exactly Mr. Fix-it — sometimes, after the long drive, he realizes he's forgotten something and can't finish the job.
Our house won't be completed in record time.
Mom blows me a kiss. "Be back in a few hours."
I stand at the kitchen counter, draining the last of my tea as the rattle of their car down the dirt road fades to nothing. With a sigh, I pull out my laptop and prepare to spend quality time with Louis Pasteur and his rabies vaccine.
For some weird reason, my brain drifts back to Cole. I move to the window and lean my forehead against the glass. I can't see him from here, only the road twisting deep into the forest. On the other side of our dilapidated fence, squirrels chase each other through brown November leaves. Part of me wonders what it's like to spend a cold, clear day outside, working hard, watching birds and squirrels, listening to the creek tumble over stones.
"Don't go there," I tell myself aloud. "With your allergies, it's never gonna happen." I'll have to settle for watching from behind a window. Or even better, I could stop daydreaming and get my butt to work.
I write for an hour before I'm startled by the blare of a horn — the musical kind that plays Dixie or Dixieland or whatever that song is called.
"Yeeee-haw!" yells a voice from the road.
I peek outside as a faded red pickup with enormous wheels appears briefly through the trees and bumps out of sight. Our neighbors, the Beavers, feel compelled to yee-haw and blow that loud-ass horn every time they pass our house.
My dad always laughs like they're being friendly. "Those locals!" he'll say with a wave.
But I don't think they intend to sound welcoming. The Beavers only visited once since we bought the house. Mom sowed a row of pumpkin seeds — she thought it'd be fun to have pumpkins during our next visit. Mr. Beaver and his fat son Bubba spent ten minutes telling her she did it wrong and ought to hire them to plant everything. When Mom explained she enjoys working outside, Mr. Beaver spit a stream of dirty tobacco juice on our porch and took off. The next time we came up from Florida, the pumpkin seedlings were dead and a strange smell clung to the dirt. Dad said it was kerosene. My parents downplayed the whole thing, but I knew someone did it on purpose — to remind us we don't fit in here.
Maybe that's why I wasn't excited when Mom asked me to bring the tea outside. I don't feel totally welcome here. Banjo Boy and his family might act friendlier than the Beavers — more respectful and stuff — but only because they need our work and money. This afternoon, I could see it in that Cole kid's eyes. He doesn't want me here either.
* * *
My gaze skims the acre I've been clearing, the once-gold-brown field now stubbed with rocks and tree roots. Another half hour and I'll have this licked. Mr. Pegg stopped on his way down the hill to say my check's waiting in the mailbox. It'd be so damned easy to ditch this job and take off with the money. Let someone else demolish the grouse habitat. But I don't do that stuff no more. Guess all of Dad's lectures about "you start something, you finish it" finally sunk in. Maybe that's why I got this job and Bubba Beaver didn't.
Wind kicks up, tossing the flames and threatening to scatter my carefully raked leaf pile. I yawn into my hand. I stayed up half the night watching an old DVD of David Holt playing "Shady Grove." I'm dead tired, but I finally got a handle on the tune. My fingers pick the notes on the Weed eater as the music loops through my brain.
I'm nearly done when a dadgum bramble slips under my jacket cuff. I mash the button to shut off the weed-eater. As I roll my sleeve, a soft growl drifts over from the copse of Virginia pine.
What the hell?
It ain't grouse or bobcats or any of the other million sounds I can pick out in these woods. This is lower. And more humanlike. There's a crapload of animals that make noises that sound like people — screech owls ... goats ... pigs — but this ain't none of 'em. This is something I never heard before.
Excerpted from Dead Over Heels by Alison Kemper, Kerri-Leigh Grady. Copyright © 2014 Alison Kemper. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I'm next door neighbors with North Carolina. Whenever I'm lying in bed, I can look out our deck doors and see North Carolina and the Smoky Mountains. And let me tell you, I felt like I was right at home whenever I read Dead Over Heels. Alison Kemper was able to capture the essence of my home and it only added even more to this incredible story. I instantly warmed to Cole and his southern ways. I'm always a fan of a good zombie book. Though I can admit that a lot of them start to blend together at times. That's the thing with Dead Over Heels that I loved. There were some different aspects of this book that surprised me. I really appreciated Alison Kemper's deviation from the norm. The romance in this book is sweet and not overbearing. It fits seamlessly into the story, and I enjoyed it immensely. Like I mentioned before, Cole was instantly a favorite of mine. It took a little longer with Ava, but she's a solid heroine. She is full of courage despite of setbacks that are out her control and scary enough without zombies involved. If you're a fan of the less gory types of zombie fiction or Tracey Ward, I really think you'll enjoy Dead Over Heels. Not only did it have zombies, but it also had the perfect amount of wit and romance. **I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review with no compensation.
An exciting, action packed, fast read. I loved Alison Kemper's first book, Donna of the Dead, and enjoyed Dead over Heels just as much. Taking place in the same world - a world where everyone is turning into a zombie - but with new characters, city girl Ava and country boy Cole, a new setting, the middle of the forest and new challenges. City girl Ava is smart, indoorsy because she suffers from terrible allergies, and so not prepared to run through the woods and face the dangers within. But as they battle zombies, wildlife and brave heights, freezing temperatures and more she learns how strong and brave she is. I adored the banjo playing, hunting,'Trout Magnet' hat wearing, sweet and protective Cole. He has all the survival skills to keep them going through the forest and he's such a good guy that he keeps putting Ava's safety and comfort above his own. Both Ava and Cole have their snobbish moments, thinking the worst of each other, but thrown together, having to work together to survive, they learn to appreciate each other and then begin to care for each other. The romance that develops is believable; despite all their differences they share the same determination and bravery. I can't wait to read the next book in her zombie series and anything else Alison Kemper writes. Disclosure: ebook provided in exchange for an honest review
Another wonderfully thrilling, delightfully romantic book in this zombie apocalypse series, Dead Over Heels was a lovely read. From start to finish, it was an enjoyable YA book that I really liked. Ava was a lovely heroine. She started off as somewhat snobby and more concerned with being right than taking the advice of someone who knew much more about survival than she did. But, as the book went on, she toughened up and realized that working together was to their best interest. In the end, she became a capable heroine who had the guts to survive a hellish experience and I liked her. Cole was great as well. He had all the survivor skills that they needed and he was a sweet guy. He was determined to help Ava find her parents. He really was a sweetie and I really liked him. The romance was lovely. At first, Cole and Ava didn't get along at all. But as the book went on, they started to tolerate each other, combine their skills, and it eventually became something more. They were great together and definitely stronger as a team. I thought they were a wonderful couple. The plot was fast paced and I was kept interested the entire way through. There were definitely enough thrills to keep me on the edge of my seat. I liked the story and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from this series. Dead Over Heels was a wonderful YA zombie thriller/romance and I really liked it. After enjoying book 1 so much, this sequel certainly didn't disappoint. YA lovers, this is a book worth the read. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
I'm always a sucker for a good zombie book and when I saw the local for this book, I just had to read it. As a foothills North Carolinian myself, I just had to see how the zombie apocalypse progressed. I've always told my kids when it hit that we would have a better survival rate than their big cities of Raleigh and Winston-Salem would. With being more sparsely populated, familiar with guns, bows and chainsaws, and having a large food distributor in our area, we just logically stand a better chance. But back to this wonderful book- it is told both from Cole and Ava's POV, which ordinarily I don't like, but it so worked with this book. I loved the bantering in the first part of the book where the sickly city girl had to make do with the local redneck who was bound and determined to save her life. This was a fun, fast paced easy read that I pretty much read from start to finish. After reading this, I'm off to read Kemper's Donna of the Dead which I understand takes place during the same zombie apocalypse.
Oh, I loved this! Of course, I liked her first book, too, Donna of the Dead. The interaction between the characters was great, the action was fast paced, and I was amused by the zombie rawrs. :D I read a lot of YA books, and the books by Mrs. Kemper are rare for me: Zombie apocalypse love! Keep on keeping on, Alison! I want to see more with these characters. :)
After a deadly rabie-like virus spreads all across the world, Ava finds herself following neighbour, Cole, into the woods to escape mindless, rotting cannibals that could once call themselves people. In order to find both Ava and Cole's parents and get to a place of safety, Ava has to place her life entirely in Cole's hands as they trek for days through the woods. Cole is the one with the survival skills, so Ava has to try her best to be a help and not a hindrance to a boy she's slowly coming to like very much. This read, for me at least, was split pretty much right down the middle. I liked it, but there was a lot I didn't like as well. The most annoying of which was the sound the 'zombies' made. It may have been meant to be funny and cute, but I don't necessarily want funny and cute in a zombie novel. The romance would have been enough to satisfy any need for my 'awww' moments. The zombies said 'rawr'. Also, a bear played a minor part in the book and it said 'grr'. Every time I saw it, I wanted to bash my head against the wall. I'm sorry but that's just so stupid. If you want a book to have a comedic feel, then give it that element, but don't throw in death defying situations and expect me to take them seriously when a shambling zombie catches up and says 'rawr' before it eats someone's face off... Weirdness aside, that was the only thing that had me wanting to scream. The only other point that frustrated me was how fast and furious Ava and Cole got. It's not a spoiler when I say they have feelings for each other, it's pretty obvious just reading the synopsis that it's going to happen. I didn't feel that they moved into a relationship too fast per se, considering what they went through, I just don't understand why they got to the point of furiously making out so quickly. It wasn't done right in my opinion. It just didn't seem like a priority, obviously, at the time - maybe a nice kiss but a furious make out session? It seemed a little too much. Anyway, the rest of the read was good. It had a lot of action and suspense and I did like the characters. I loved how Cole doubted himself and how Ava really stepped up towards the end of the book. They both really came into their own by the end. All in all it was a good read but what I didn't like about it seemed to be a the forefront of my mind constantly which ruined it a little. Sadly, I actually think my reading so much, including books featuring zombies, made me a little too critical. To each their own though.
ahh ZOMBIES !!! This book was faced paced witty and had just the right amount of gory details !! Ava was a great main character adding the right pazza to the story and a girl after my own heart loving the city. Oh and Cole no I'm not a cowboy lover but now I think I am . with all his southern talk he made me swoon !! Such a creepy read!! I enjoyed very much !!! This plot is very good.
Funny, Edge of Your Seat, Zombie Filled Read!! Actual rating 3.5 out of 5 Stars! Originally posted on my blog: Tangled Up In Books I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. In no way did this sway my review or my rating! I have now officially read my first zombie book! My first thought is...I can't believe how much I liked it! The way I see it is books dealing with zombies can go two different ways. They could take the Walking Dead route and be serious and filled with heart pounding excitement. Or they can go the complete opposite direction and aim for the funny/cheesy like Zombieland. Dead Over Heels takes the best of both of those and weaves them together in a story that had me rolling my eyes, laughing, sitting on the edge of my seat practically hyperventilating from the danger and excitement and yeah, even a bit swooning. Color me surprised! I'm having one of those rare moments where I finish a book and immediately feel the need to start getting some thoughts down. I feel like a huge part of that is because as I sat there reading the last words on the page, my mind was screaming, "No! I don't want it to end yet!" Had it been a movie I would have immediately hit play and watched it all again. So if I loved it so much why doesn't my rating reflect that? Here's the thing. I felt like there was enough going on with, of course, the zombies and then there was the fact that it was set in the forest at the beginning of winter. We're talking like a thirty minute drive from the nearest town. Then you also add to the fact that a huge chunk of the forest they're trekking through is a bear preserve (hunting country) and you've got an entire book's worth of things you could do to make for a nail biting read. But it went a step too far with a psychotic (ex)girlfriend. Those moments with Bethany filled me with irritation. Otherwise it would have been pretty close to perfect. Even though I was intrigued by the plot, I put this one off as the last review book I read because I was truly afraid I wasn't going to like it. I sort of feel like I was trying not to in the beginning. It's in first person dual POVs and Cole is...well, he's a country boy. And I don't mean in the "Hey there cowboy!" kind of way it's more like "I ain't got no time for some dadgum city girl!" sort of way. Since it's first person even his thoughts are like that, so I was ready to be annoyed with him from the start. Those feelings didn't stick around for long, Cole was seriously such a great character. Ava was too for that matter. Very well written main characters. Though the summary is for the most part right...it's not exactly how things go down. Actually the way it goes down in the book with these two is way better than it was described, in my opinion. I am not kidding with the danger and excitement, it literally had my heart thumping. And much to Cole's dismay if there was even the smallest chance of landing into a troubled, dangerous spot, Ava was going end up doing it. I could not put this one down! I definitely feel like I could read this one again and I'm going also going to have to get her other book Donna of the Dead and give it a try as well as soon as possible! I keep wanting to laugh at myself for how surprised I am about how much I enjoyed this book, but really I shouldn't be at all. I mean if I can fall in love with a series about aliens why not funny, cheesy, action packed zombies? Thank you Entangled for the opportunity to review this book!
Ava and her parents are staying in their holiday home in the remote mountains of North Carolina, with no cable, internet, or cell phone reception. When Ava first meets Cole, they have nothing in common. But when her parents leave her alone for a day and the so-called Zombie flu makes its way to their remote part of the world, Ava and Cole realize that no one is safe and that they will need to rely on each other. With Cole's outdoor skills and Ava's superior intellect and scientific knowledge, the two teenagers manage to eke out an existence in the mountains. Ava thinks they are trying to make their way to the army base where her parents are located, but Cole is on a mission to find his father and brother. Along the way, they are threatened by zombies, bears, wasps, and even Cole's old girlfriend. Will Ava and Cole make it out alive? "Dead Over Heels" is easy to read, the writing flows well, and the text is almost error-free. The point of view alternates between Ava and Cole, giving us a great insight into how our own perceptions are often quite different to those of someone else experiencing the same situations. Full of tongue-in-cheek humor as well as tender moments, this book is cute, smart, and funny. A pleasure to read. I received this book in return for an honest review.
I was not sure what to expect going in to this book as I had never read any YA horror before and had not read a zombie book in years. After reading the synopsis I knew I just had to read it. I also went in blind to the author as I had not read her previous novel (which I now plan on reading when I get the chance). The first time I sat down to read I got to 23% before my battery died.I was disappointed as I did not want to put it down. I was just getting into the story and liking it. By 26% I was fully invested and knew that this book was going to be good. My heart was pounding because it felt like I was there alongside Ava and Cole trying to survive, no doubt about it I was hooked. Our heroine is Ava and our hero Cole they are the main two characters in the book. I found them both likeable, genuine, endearing and think they complimented each other perfectly. Of course we also have some secondary characters. Bethany boy does she give me creeps, wouldn't want to mess with her she is one crazy evil chick I would definitely love to read a short novella about her and her story that would run alongside Cole and Ava's. The book is written from duel POV Cole and Ava's. I enjoyed the different POV's, they were both as I said before reliable and genuine. I enjoyed the authors writing style and thought it worked well. It was playful, cute and different to the usual style of writing I read. I also think that for being YA the horror element and gore was just right. The only thing that really bothered me about the plot (that otherwise was good) was a couple of things to do with the zombies. If you look at the zombies as a twist on the *norm* and do not think into it to them too much. I do not think it would be an issue. I honestly did really enjoy this book. It was a easy, fun, action packed, fast paced, funny enjoyable read. I would definitely recommend this book to YA readers of all ages and anyone who likes zombies with a hint of romance. I have even considered buying a copy for my step daughter who is a bit of a chicken. She likes the idea of horror movies etc and can't wait to be old enough to watch them with her dad. I think this might be the perfect stepping stone for her. My Actual Rating = 4.5
**RECEIVED A FREE COPY FROM ENTANGLED TEEN IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW** This was my first zombie book. I was a little wary about starting this book considering I’m not really a fan of zombies. But of course, the plot drew me in and once I began reading this book, I was sucked in. THEME: Sociology, Friendship, Romance PLOT: Ava’s from Florida but is in North Carolina for Thanksgiving. She hates it there. The house they bought in North Carolina is falling apart and Ava has to deal with the Greer brothers cleaning up their overgrown fields. Ava knows the country folks in town make fun of her and her family and Ava can’t stand being around them. When Ava’s parents leave for the hardware store, Ava is left at home with Cole Greer who is outside working. Suddenly, Cole is knocking at Ava’s front door screaming that she needs to come with him right now before the zombies get her. Ava doesn’t believe him until she sees the zombies for herself behind him. The two of them take off running, annoying each other as they travel through the woods trying to get to the reserve center. Yet, along the way, their hate begins to kindle into something more. CHARACTERS: Cole→ Country Cole was such a “know-it-all”. His country accent annoys Ava and his smart mouth just makes her wanna pop him. Cole is actually pretty smart and thinks fast on his feet. I wasn’t head over heels for him, but him and Ava’s relationship is pretty cool. Ava→ Ava is brave. She has allergies really bad—to the point where if she gets stung by a insect, she can die in under two minutes. Yet, she is forced to camp out in the woods for days and deal with Cole complaining about her not keeping up with him. Ava is a smart girl though. Just because she’s not as outdoorsy as Cole doesn’t mean she does’t know how to pull her own weight. She helps them get out of situations just as much as Cole. Both characters were well develop and I found it interesting how two people from different environments interacted with each other and began to grow on each other; gaining respect for one another. STYLE / SETTING: Dead Over Heels takes place in the woods of North Carolina. Its set in first point of view from the eyes of both Cole and Ava. Alison Kemper shows the cultural differences between between city folks and country folks. There imagery was detailed and good. Sometimes it felt like I was watching a comedic movie about a zombie apocalypse. Although, there were a few scenes that were difficult to picture when a lot of things were happening at once. There’s humor, anticipation, and swoon-worthy scenes that will have you grinning from ear to ear. Considering this is my first zombie book, I really enjoyed it. Kemper has drawn my eye to the zombie world and I can’t wait to pick up her other novel, Donna of the Dead. LESSON LEARNED? Don’t judge a person by where they are from **RECOMMENDED RATING: Book Cover: .1 Character Development/Plot: 3 out of 3 Interest: 1 out of 1 Imagery: .9 out of 1 Total: 5.0
*I received a free eBook of this novel from Entangled Teen in exchange for a fair review.* FIVE STARS “I step toward the dude in golf clothes, 'You lost buddy?' He says, 'Rawr.' 'Beg pardon?' 'Rawr,' he repeats. All three of ‘em shuffle closer. Slow but steady. The breeze kicks in again, but this time the autumn air is tainted with a sharp, nose-cringing scent. It’s like stumbling over a decomposing animal corpse in the word—one that’s been sitting too love. It’s the scent of death.” To begin, zombies are pretty much my number one fear. I have full, detailed zombie escape plans for my work, my husband’s work, our house, my parent’s house, or being in public. I’m not kidding. So it is safe to say that I am well-versed in all things zombies (slow walking zombies, fast and superhuman zombies, rabies zombies, rage virus zombies, I’m like the Bubba Gump of zombies over here). The zombies in this story are rabies zombies, just FYI. And they are amazingly written. I tend to steer clear of zombie books, because I obsess over them, and I need to sleep sometime. But this one was just the right balance of excitement, zombie action, and jokes to keep me from freaking out. In "Dead Over Heels" Kemper does an amazing job of realistic characters, interesting and necessary dialogue, and adding in the scary zombie element in a great way. This novel follows Ava, a teenage girl with life-threatening allergies pretty much everything that lives or exists in the outside world and Cole, a country native who loves hunting, fishing, and everything in the outside world. (See the conflict there? See it? It's great.) Ava's family is on vacation in North Carolina, and Cole is helping them with landscaping, when the zombie virus breaks out! (Oh goodness!) Cole decides to save Ava from becoming a snack in her home and they escape to the woods. (Read: the outside world, where the zombies are only one of the things that can kill Ava in minutes!) The dual perspective is well-written with two different voices and characters. It was nice to see the situations and emotions from both characters, and it was well done. Each character had a distinct voice and personality. At first I thought that Cole’s redneck language-style would wear on me as stereotypical, but it didn’t. It was, again, realistic and came across like an actual person instead of just a character. Even the obvious romantic elements felt real, not forced, and like something that was organic to the story. I genuinely cared about these people, and I believed them. Overall, the humor and characters made this book something I couldn’t put down. I highly, highly recommend it