Review of GENERATION DEAD by Daniel Waters (see his blog)
Hyperion, May 2008
Something strange is happening to America's teenagers--the dead ones, at least. They're coming back to life, turning into zombies. Now the rest of society must come to terms with these "living impaired" or "differently biotic" people, who look and act strangely. Many of them are rejected by their own families. Do they have rights? Can they still learn, and should they be allowed to attend school? Are they human? Are they evil? Should they all be exterminated?
Goth teen Phoebe finds herself strangely drawn to a "dead" boy, one who courageously goes out for the football team despite strong opposition from the coach and other players. Consequently she finds herself at the center of controversy as her school, which has the highest ratio of zombies in the country, struggles to deal with the zombie issue. Adding to her conflict is the fact that one of her best friends became a zombie, and Phoebe feels terribly guilty about fearing and shunning her.
This is a wonderfully entertaining book, and while I was reading it I tended to forget that zombies aren't real. The author occasionally got a bit heavy-handed with the racism allegory, but I supposed he did it with a tongue-in-cheek attitude. The only thing I really didn't like was the ending, which felt unfinished to me, more like the set-up for a sequel. Then again, discrimination of any kind is seldom resolved and tied up in a neat bow, so perhaps the lack of resolution suits the subject matter.
Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to email@example.com. I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name.
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