A YA hero or heroine should tackle important questions like who am I, who do I want to be—it’s often about making life-impacting choices. Themes that are paramount in high school such as being popular, not being popular, being loved, being smart, being pretty, being a nerd, being a bully, being poor, being rich, dealing with authority figures/adults, are front and center. Being a teenager is all about learning how to handle life situations that you will encounter, again and again, but never quite as, traumatically, as that very first time… Your first love, your first kiss, your first fight, your first best friend, first real enemy, and the first time that your trust is abused or rewarded…
Rex Morton is the new kid at his high school. He was unfortunate enough to become infected with the Z-virus, which, while it is still fatal--you are dead--it is manageable, in that periodic servings of calf brains will keep you from munching on human brains. Like any contagious terminal condition, there is fear of the unknown, which is not assisted by looking different. This has resulted in several relocations and several new high schools, a routine that is beginning to wear on Rex. Being a teenager isn’t easy. Being a teenage zombie, well, you can imagine the challenges.
A scene that captures how well Souza’s novel explores YA themes is seen in Rex’s interaction with a school bully, who taunts him with the name ‘Zombie-saurus Rex.’ Rex keeps his cool and is able to turn the situation around, so that the bully is now in his debt.
The novel provides the reader all the classic elements of a YA novel, the first romance, the epic football game, the rebellion against authority and ends with an outstanding homecoming dance, but these scenes are tweaked with the unexpected originality and sense of humor that only Souza can supply. Zombie fans will enjoy another take on the mythology of zombies without breaking the boundaries of content that is still suitable for young adults. It made me recall such classic 1980’s teenage films as ‘Breakfast Club,’ ‘Footloose’ and ‘Valley Girl.’ Don’t hesitate—buy this novel for yourself and any young adults in your life!
Purchase this novel on Amazon here.
Learn more about Mark Souza at his website.