Undead by Kirsty McKay
Publisher: The Chicken House
Publication date: September 1st 2012
My rating: 4 Stars
Out of sight, out of their minds: It's a school-trip splatter fest and completely not cool when the other kids in her class go all braindead on new girl Bobby.
The day of the ski trip, when the bus comes to a stop at a roadside restaurant, everyone gets off and heads in for lunch. Everyone, that is, except Bobby, the new girl, who stays behind with rebel-without-a-clue Smitty.
Then hours pass. Snow piles up. Sun goes down. Bobby and Smitty start to flirt. Start to stress. Till finally they see the other kids stumbling back.
But they've changed. And not in a good way. Straight up, they're zombies. So the wheels on the bus better go round and round freakin' fast, because that's the only thing keeping Bobby and Smitty from becoming their classmates' next meal. It's kill or be killed in these hunger games, heads are gonna roll, and homework is most definitely gonna be late.
Combining the chill of THE SHINING, the thrill ride of SPEED, the humor of SHAUN OF THE DEAD, and the angst of THE BREAKFAST CLUB, Kirsty McKay's UNDEAD is a bloody mad mash-up, a school-trip splatter-fest, a funny, gory, frighteningly good debut!
Undead was a heart-pounding, action-packed, zombie tale that took off and never stopped! I dare you to catch your breath while reading it!
Robby is on her way home from the school-trip from hell (little does she know, haha!). The school bus has stopped at the “Cheery Chomp” café (great name for a zombie tale) so they can all get off and have lunch. Robby, being the new girl and class outcast, is tired of the mean-girls, and decides to stay on the bus. Her are her ominous opening words: “I would rather die than face them all again. Die horribly. In a messy, fleshy, blood ’n’ guts kind of way. It is a total no-brainer.”*
Stuck on the bus with her is the rebel-without-a-cause, complete with inky black hair and leather jacket, Smitty. He’s been busted by one of the teachers for buying smokes and vodka with a fake ID. But the teacher can’t deprive him of food, so Mr. Taylor makes his way to the café to grab a sandwich for him. This leaves the bus driver, Smitty, and Robby to wait while everyone eats. Within no time, Alice or "Malice" as Smitty calls her, runs back to the bus in a panic. It seems when she came out of the restroom, the whole class, including Mr. Taylor, was dead as doornails. Well, at least for the time being……
Robby was the perfect heroine for this tale, the ordinary girl stuck in extraordinary circumstances rising to every challenge with courage. A zombie uprising brings out the best in this girl. I instantly loved Robby from the beginning with her snarky and humorous internal commentary, she had me laughing throughout the story. Smitty is all kinds of fun, and full of hilarious one-liners. He is the hero to Robby’s heroine, and between the beheadings and vomit, there’s a sweet little romance brewing. Then there’s Pete, the class geek and brain who manages to survive somehow. And the last of this mismatched quartet is Alice, the gloriously shallow mean-girl who manages to still have her lip gloss and mascara carefully applied in all the chaos. This beauty of a quote comes from her: “It’s such a nightmare!” Alice cries. “They want to kill us!” Her eyes narrow. “And Shanika’s got my CoutureCandy bag, the bitch!” she says to the driver. “Run them over!”* Kirsty McKay’s wickedly wonderful humor is laced throughout.
This story was non-stop action, terror, and ironically, fun. It had my heart pumping from the anticipation of what was around the next dark corner. But this was more than just a mindless romp; there is a mystery behind this outbreak that these four slowly uncover, and it hits close to home for one of them. I totally recommend this story to adrenaline junkies and zombie lovers alike. This ends on sort of a cliffhanger, but not the tear-your-hair-out kind. With that said while I was typing up the review for Undead, I ordered Unfed (Undead #2). I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Thank you to Netgalley and The Chicken House for allowing me to read this.
*Quotes are taken from an uncorrected proof and may change with the final copy.