Release Date: September 25th 2012 (US) | October 2012 (AUS)
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Thanks to: HarlequinTEEN Australia for the review copy!
She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.
Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.
Her father was right. The monsters are real….
To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….
There was a sneaky black hole hidden within the very first page of Alice in Zombieland, sucking me in without second thought of my eating, sleeping and general-living habits. Alice lives a sheltered and controlled life. Her father sees monsters - he's been this way since before she was even born. She thinks he's crazy, but that doesn't stop him from preventing Alice and her sister from never stepping foot outside their house after dark, when the monsters roam free. Until the night of Alice's birthday, when she convinces her father to let her sister attend a dance performance she's been so excited about. That's the night Alice became an orphan. Father, mother, sister - all gone in the car crash. A car crash where Alice is sure she saw her father's body beaten eaten by monsters. Taken into the care of her grandparents, Alice adapts to her new life, where Rabbit-shaped clouds loom ominously above, zombie-brides hover outside her bedroom window and the mysterious Cole Holland and his gang are hiding a deadly secret that Ali's about to get twisted up in.
Alice in Zomibland sports such a stellar cast of characters. Ali herself is the kind of heroine you want to read about; she gives as good as she gets. She can hold her own in both a fist fight and verbal sparring; girl has she-balls! Her determination, courage and overall kickassery really make her one of the better heroines to read. Then there's her Nana and Pops, who I wasn't expecting to be so adorable! They really try to connect on a 'teen' level with her, which provides plenty of laugh-out-loud reactions as they get it all wrong. You just want to wrap them up and take them home to be your own grandparents. Except when you have a boy come over. Trust me, you want to avoid that interrogation.
I can't go any further without mentioning Ali's new best friend: Kat. Oh, I freaking LOVED KAT! She and I shared an insta-love connection the moment she forced her way onto page, even though I did ponder whether or not she was on crack. Without question, she has to be one of my favourite ever best-friend characters. She's bold and fierce and HILARIOUS, and the most loyal, fluffy, little pitbull in the world. Her on-again-off-again, sort-of relationship with Frosty (his nickname will grow on you, it has a backstory) was so entertaining. I think I love it more than if they were actually together. They're perfect for one another in that, 'Go away / Come closer / I love you / I hate you,' kind of way... she's always pushing, he's always pulling, and you're always cheering for more, more, more.
The sexual tension between Ali and Cole took some time for me to enjoy. I wasn't a huge fan of their growing romance in the beginning, and I was shaking the book in substitute for Ali's shoulders when she went into the forest alone with him! But the more time they spent together, the more I enjoyed their banter and confidence, the way neither of them would wield to the other. I love that Ali stood her ground. Cole can be an intimidating figure, but she didn't allow him to think he could tell her what to do, even if she was a little nervous at times. It was interesting to watch how they adapted to one another; growing to respect their strong personalities. Cole is not a warm and fuzzy kind of guy, but he can't be in his situation. He's fiercely loyal and protective of those he cares about. He gives tough love, but it comes from a genuinely good place. He can be cheeky though, and with patience, you see his softer side peek through.
This has to be one of the most unique zombie books I've read. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but never would I thought of.... THIS. With weird visions when certain people make eye contact, spirit-fighting, balls of fire and hoards of zombies who don't exactly feast in the traditional way. It all fits together to make perfect sense in such a refreshing way. For those who think they've seen it all when it comes to zombies, Alice will definitely surprise you!
Whether you're a fan of Gena's previous work or not, I highly recommend this to anyone eager for something a little different. A book that keeps you on your toes, giggling into the night or clutching a hand to your heart in despair. It's the perfect balance of humour and seriousness. It manages to strongly convey emotions of loss, sadness and regret... I wasn't expecting these to punch me with such impact, especially so early in the story. Or for the genuine moments of hilarity that drew a grin on my face with permanent marker. Alice in Zombieland is the universal meal of choice for zombies, carnivores, vegetarians, freegans and rainbow munchers. It has enough appeal to leave everyone's mouth watering for MOOOOOOOOOOORE!
4.5/5 Golden Apples!
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