The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever
Author: Jeff Strand
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication date: March 1, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Horror, Humor
*ARC provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Summary from Goodreads:
The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever is so bad, it could wake the dead…
After producing three horror films that went mostly ignored on YouTube, Justin and his film-making buddies decide it's time to make something epic. In fact, they're going to make The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. They may not have money or a script, but they have passion. And, after a rash text message, they also have the beautiful Alicia Howtz as the lead.
Hemmed in by a one-month timeline and a cast of uncooperative extras, but aching to fulfill Alicia's dreams, Justin must face the sad, sad truth: he may, in actuality, be producing The Worst Zombie Movie Ever.
“The only comment anybody posted about his latest film had been, ‘This twelve-year-old filmmaker sort of shows promise,’ which really frustrated Justin because he was fifteen.”
Justin lives movies. If you know anything about ‘90s pop culture, than you know he’s a lot like Dawson Leery from the creek. Justin and his friends Gabe and Bobby have already made several horror movies (their favorite genre). They make a plan to make one more—the greatest zombie movie ever—in one month before Gabe leaves for the summer. This puts them under a tight deadline; morals, standards, and friendships may be compromised.
“What I’m saying is that we should be ahead of the curve. We should be making movies that people can’t believe were made by fifteen-year-olds. I want people to be stunned at what we’re making. I want people to accuse us of being genetically enhanced.”
A determination to make the greatest zombie movie quickly degrades into creating a final product with a “lack of embarrassment.” Justin won’t call quits for anything, not an infected eyebrow piercing, an interruptive party clown, a broken camera, a house fire, getting hit by a car, or watching his love interest smooch another guy.
Honestly, I kept thinking I was going to loose interest in this plot. Not a lot happens. Sure they run into a few speed bumps, but what kept me interested in this story was the writing. Jeff Strand is hilarious. This is probably the funniest YA book I’ve read all year. His fast dialogue and quick wit kept reminding me of the Gilmore Girls, if Lorelai and Rory had been fifteen-year-old boys. And then, I really did want to see if they’d finish their movie and how things would end. Strand’s good characterization and humor drove this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Would I let my teen read this book?
Besides the humor, there are several things I loved about this book that make it recommendable:
1. Good roll models
It’s always nice to read about teenagers with serious interests and drives (though Bobby mostly seems like part of the team by association and willingness to be the guinea pig). The boys may be pulling all-nighters, and Justin might miss a few tests, but it’s not without the realization that school is important, otherwise Justin will be making a “documentary about living in a cardboard box in an alley, scavenging half-eaten lizards for his dinner, and burning his hair to stay warm.”
2. Teens interacting with adults
Justin and his parents get along fine. His parents are encouraging, but also realistic about balancing his passions and responsibilities. I appreciated what felt like a respectful, loving relationship.
The boys interact with some unreasonable adults, who do not understand them and have no interest in understanding them, even though the boys are being respectful.
Justin learns his boss, who he doesn’t like, might have a different side to him.
Justin learns that adults are capable of being understanding and gracious, even when he’s done something wrong.
I loved these different perspectives; adults in young adult literature can often be one-sided or nonexistent.
Totally clean. There is little that would offend anyone in this book. They’re making a movie about zombies, but the one graphic scene is littered with humor and a character’s disgust of fake guts:
“Gnaw on it! Gnaw, Bobby! Gnaw!”
I recommend this book for everyone 12 and older, though some parents might deem it appropriate for their mature young readers.
Age recommendation: 12
Language – None
Drugs & Alcohol— None
Sex – Narrator witnesses a couple kissing
Violence – A boom is dropped on a character's infected eyebrow piercing; One scene with theatrical gore interlaced with silliness and humor
My Goodreads rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Pre-order The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever on Amazon
Author: A.G. Henley
Publication date: November 12, 2013
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Genres: Horror, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Romance
Summary from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Groundling, Fennel, is Sightless. She's never been able to see her lush forest home, but she knows its secrets. She knows how the shadows shift when she passes under a canopy of trees. She knows how to hide in the cool, damp caves when the Scourge comes. She knows how devious and arrogant the Groundlings' tree-dwelling neighbors, the Lofties, can be.
And she's always known this day would come—the day she faces the Scourge alone.
The Sightless, like Fenn, are mysteriously protected from the Scourge, the gruesome creatures roaming the forests, reeking of festering flesh and consuming anything—and anyone—living. A Sightless Groundling must brave the Scourge and bring fresh water to the people of the forest. Today, that task becomes Fenn's.
Fenn will have a Lofty Keeper, Peree, as her companion. Everyone knows the Lofties wouldn’t hesitate to shoot an arrow through the back of an unsuspecting Groundling like Fenn, but Peree seems different. A boy with warm, rough hands who smells like summer, he is surprisingly kind and thoughtful. Although Fenn knows his people are treacherous, she finds herself wanting to trust him.
As their forest community teeters on the brink of war, Fenn and Peree must learn to work together to survive the Scourge and ensure their people’s survival. But when Fenn uncovers a secret that shatters her truths, she’s forced to decide who and what to protect—her people, her growing love for Peree, or the elusive dream of lasting peace in the forest.
I won't spend time on setting up this story, because the summary is FOUR PARAGRAPHS LONG. That just seems a little long for a summary, that's all. It is a nice set up. I read The Scourge several years ago. I believe I got it free for Amazon Kindle and thought I'd give it a go. I remember being surprisingly pleased. You can still read it for free with Amazon Prime or Unlimited, or you can purchase it for $2.99.
Fenn's blindness adds to the suspense and storytelling. She's brave in the face of something terrifying, willing to regularly walk through a horde of zombies for the sake of her people, even the Lofties. I also enjoyed the progress of Fenn and Peree's relationship. Though, if you don't like a fair amount of lovely dovey prose and dialogue, this might not be the book for you.
Clearly, some sort of disease has spread to create the Scourge (zombies), but Fenn and Peree discover new truths about the pandemic that make this story unique. I don't remember there being a lot of violence. Peree fights off the Scourge with arrows, but the people are not slaughtering zombies.
Age Recommendation: 15
Language - mild to none
Drugs & Alcohol - none
Sex - There's no sex, at least one kiss
Violence - There's some mild violence between the two people groups and the Scourge.
My Goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Buy The Scourge on Amazon.com for only $2.99
Something Strange and Deadly
Author: Susan Dennard
Published by: HarperTeen; Reprint edition
Publication date: June 25, 2013
Genres: Historical Fiction, Steampunk, Horror
Summary from Goodreads:
Philadelphia 1876. The Dead are rising. A zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor Fitt. Whoever controls the Dead Army has her brother. She avoids her mother's choice of husband for the lab of Spirit Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel. The situation threatens her reputation, and the lives of everyone in the city.
Welcome to a whole different kind of zombie book. Something Strange and Deadly is great for those of you who like historical fiction and steampunk. Throw in a little voodoo and necromancing and - KAPOW - you've got the perfect niche Halloween series for Zombie Week.
Eleanor is a brave heroine, who has a sense of humor about herself and can fight off a zombie with her parasol (with no combat-parasol training at all!). She's determined to find her missing brother and faithful in her pursuit, no matter what social rules she might break. Her pursuit leads her to the Spirit Hunters, who are trying their best to rid the city of supernatural danger.
If voodoo themes and reanimating the dead are not your thing, than this series is not for you. I only read the first book. I think I just wasn't in the right mood. However, besides some violence against zombies (nothing graphic), this book is nice and clean.
Age recommendation: 13
Language – Mild to none (maybe an old-fashioned Damn)
Drugs & Alcohol – none
Sex – It's been a while since I've read it. There might be a kiss.
Violence – They fight zombies, but it's not gory
My Goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Buy Something Strange and Deadly on Amazon.com
I'm currently reading an ARC (advanced reading copy) of a book titled The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever about three teenage boys aspiring to create just that. So, I thought why not run with the theme this week as we anticipate Halloween!
If you know me at all, you know that I hate horror movies, but somehow zombies have crawled/shuffled/ambled(?) into an accepted place in my life. Also, I've found it's easier for me to read scary stories than it is for me to watch them, unless we're talking about Shaun of the Dead, because, ellloooo, (if you can handle a fair amount of theatrical blood and British humor) Simon Pegg is really funny and he bashes zombies in the head with a cricket bat
*WARNING: kids under 18 should ask a parent before viewing said film.
On the flip side, we tried to watch The Walking Dead once, and got to like the very first scene and there's this little girl with her back turned to the camera and you can't see her face and we were like NOPE.
Like I was saying, it's easier for me to read about it. A year or two ago, I read the Razorland series by Ann Aguirre. The story is post-apocalyptic—think mole people meet zombies (or Freaks). Duece (named for a playing card) doesn't expect to live past the age of 20 (no one ever does). She helps fight off the Freaks in the tunnels, underground, where she lives. She also doesn't expect to ever see the sun. But when society turns against her and her hunting partner, Fade, she's forced to brave a new world above ground. Throughout the series, Duece and Fade wonder if there is any safe place left on earth.
Duece is a pretty cool chick. She's fierce, kicks zombie butt, but is not desensitized to the world she lives in. Fade is also an interesting character, just as tough, but with memories of having a normal life and real family (unlike Duece).
It's been a while since I've read these books, but if you're sensitive to violence, this probably isn't the series for you. It can also be creepy. There are also male-dominant gangs above ground, who have violent practices and abuse women.
Age recommendation: 15
Language - mild (from what I remember, please let me know if you discover otherwise.)
Drugs & Alcohol - some abuse in the gangs
Sex - Again, it's hard for me to be specific, but I think a couple has sex in the last book, and there are some kisses along the way. I don't remember this book being overly sensual.
Violence - Duece and Fade fight with knives and swords; fire and guns are also used to fight the Freaks; It's safe to expect violence, if I haven't already made that clear.
4 out of 5 stars!
Buy Enclave, Outpost, and Horde on Amazon.com
I read a lot. I'm a Mom. I'm officially in my 30s, but strangers often don't believe I'm old enough to drink. I love Young Adult fiction, and thought it was worthwhile to help teens and adults find age-appropriate options.