Publisher: Electric Monkey
Release date: October 1st 2012.
Paperback, 337 pages.
Rating: 3½ out of 5.
Source: Received from publisher for review.
Reviewed by: Liz from Planet Print.
Maddy Swift is just an ordinary girl, until the fateful night when she is struck by lightning and wakes up face down in a puddle. Then it's goodbye to all things Normal – such as breathing and having a heartbeat – and hello to yellow vision and a whole new Afterlife.
Turns out there’s a lot more to being a zombie than shuffling and groaning, but surviving school as one of the living dead requires a totally different set of skills. And things don’t get any easier when Maddy realises that she’s not the reanimated student at Barracuda Bay High . .
Maddy is pretty much a normal high schooler until on the way to a party, she gets struck by lightning. Not only does Maddy miss her date with the new guy who asked her out, she dies and is reanimated as a zombie. On top of managing her junior year and her rather demanding best friend, Maddy now has to handle being undead and the craving for brains that comes with it. Luckily, she’s not alone, and manages to find some zombie friends to help her with the transition. But as it turns out, not all zombies are good ones like Maddy and her friends, who only feed on animal brains. Students have been attacked and killed, and it seems like those responsible are after Maddy next. Will Maddy survive being dead? It turns out being a zombie is far more difficult that it seems.
I haven’t read a lot of zombie books before, but I think after reading Zombies Don’t Cry, I’m a little more intrigued by them. The take on zombies was quite unique and I liked the way electricity was used as an explanation for how zombies were created and why they craved brains. I was a bit sceptical about the romance and a few of the characters, but overall, I enjoyed Zombies Don’t Cry and I’ll probably be reading more zombie books in the future!
Maddy was a likeable character and had a great sense of humour throughout the book, even after her life was completely altered when she was struck by lightning. I think she accepted her imminent zombification a little too easily though, in my opinion – the first thing she did when she found out she had no pulse and was no longer breathing was look up vampires on the internet. The first thing I’d do in that situation wouldn’t be to try and find out what kind of supernatural creature I am – I’d go to the bloody hospital! But of course, hospitals and zombies just don’t mix, so I guess it was lucky that Maddie managed to find out she was a zombie online, because it meant she now knew she needed brains to survive. Maddy’s first trip to buy brains was probably one of my favourite parts, because I can just imagine being a shopkeeper and wondering why the hell a teenage girl would be ordering animal brains in the middle of the night! It was just such a funny situation, and the way Maddy got dragged off by Chloe and Dane after, with no explanation, really made me laugh. Poor Maddy, she was just thrown into this situation and had no idea what was going on!
Dane and Chloe were probably my favourite two characters after Maddy and they were sort of her keepers, and made sure she was managing okay with her new zombie status. Chloe was the oldest of them all and had a rather sad backstory. She also knew the most about zombies, however, and was the one who helped Maddy blend in with the crowd to avoid attracting too much attention. Dane was one of Maddy’s love interests, and I’m definitely Team Dane. Though I think the romance was rather lacking (to be fair, they were all more concerned with staying alive...or undead), I preferred Dane because he was actually very sweet and seemed to genuinely care about Maddy. Stamp, the other love interest, was...ugh. I did not like him at all. He was arrogant and kind of pushy and petty and meh! I don’t know what Maddy saw in him at all. What happened at the end definitely complicated the love triangle and to be honest, I wouldn’t have wanted to have been Maddy in that situation! It seems in the next book, her life only stands to get even more complex.
Plot-wise, I think the villains were a bit weak but enjoyed the obstacles Maddy and the others face overall. My only real problem with the book, besides the lacking romance, was Maddy’s best friend, Hazel. They had been best friends for eleven years and Maddy always put Hazel first, even though she knew that Hazel was quite bossy and selfish, yet suddenly when all the drama started happening, their whole past didn’t seem to matter anymore! They seemed to quite easily turn on each other when it suited them and didn’t seem very upset that all those years of friendship had gone down the drain. I know the author was trying to make out they were never really true friends...but it WAS eleven years. I don’t know if something like that would be so easy to throw away. Another thing that bothered me was the text speak. Oh, the text speak. It hurt me. Just look. Even if you are writing about a YA character for a (mainly) YA audience, just write texts in normal language. Some abbreviations, like “2” and “u” are just about acceptable, but please no “wuz” and “da”...just no. No. Honestly, we won’t get offended that you’re not trying to get “down with the kidz”. If anything, this attempt at text speak makes the teenagers seem more unrealistic than believable. Barely anyone bothers typing “wuz” when it has the exact same letters as “was”. And with smartphones having a QWERTY keyboard these days, it’s so easy to type that shortening words is kind of unnecessary now. I know this is kind of a small issue, but it is one that really, really bothers me. I see this happen in so many books, and ahh. It’s unnecessary. It really is.