Veronica Mars or Buffy meets zombies is how I would sum up Undead by Kirsty McKay. I mean that as a compliment, I loved the wisecracking kiss ass Buffy and the even snarkier Veronica Mars, so I enjoyed the funny asides from Bobby, the female heroine in this story.
Bobby already thinks things suck even before the zombie apocalypse happens. She has recently moved back with her mother to the United Kingdom and even though she was born there, she no longer fits in as her classmates think she seems very American. On top of that, her Dad died recently and her mom has never had much time for her being a total career woman. On a school field trip with classmates who have treated her badly, it’s no wonder she chooses to hide on the school bus when they are troop into a restaurant for a meal break. The only other person on the bus is another student, Smitty, a bad boy who is there as a punishment.
The unlikely pair are joined by Alice, cheerleaders and all around popular mean girl, when all the schoolkids and chaperones drop dead. Well of course they aren’t really dead, it’s just another zombie apocalypse.
When not hurling sarcasm at each other, they struggle to survive their changed circumstances eventually being joined by Pete, the geeky near albino kid, who has also managed to avoid the act which turned the others into zombies. The addition of Pete adds a Breakfast Club type of feel to the story as you have the cheerleader, the nerd, and the rebel bad boy, though Bobby is not weird enough to be the Ally Sheedy character, even if she is a bit of an outcast.
I like this kind of mix set against the zombie background as it makes it feel real to me as I believe teens even when fighting for their life would still retain some of the ingrained cliques that were so important to them even when things were normal. Self-absorbed, they would not automatically become best friends or better people just because of the circumstances they are in. I mean we would like to believe that in the direst of circumstances we would all be brave, kind, generous and loving to our fellow human beings, but would we really?
Is this an epic zombie book such as World War Z or The Forest of Hands and Teeth? No, it’s not weighty in the way those zombie tales are, this is a fun zombie book. It will have you flashing back to your high school days and laughing at the snark, and you know what? That’s just fine, books are foremost meant to be entertaining, if some make us feel deeper emotions, help us look at the world differently, or learning something, that’s great too, but not all books have to do so.
I will say author Kirsty McKay managed to throw a few curveballs into the end of this one that I didn’t see coming, so respect. Also, there’s a sequel that I just added to my ‘to read’ list.