Published by Feiwel & Friends on June 24th 2008
Source: Book Swim
From the moment Hannah Sanders arrived in town, she felt there was something wrong. A lot of houses were for sale, and the town seemed infected by an unearthly quiet. And then, on Hannah’s first day of classes, she ran into a group of cheerleaders—the most popular girls in school. The odd thing was that they were nearly identical in appearance: blonde, beautiful, and deathly pale. But Hannah wants desperately to fit in—regardless of what her friend Lukas is telling her: if she doesn’t watch her back, she’s going to be blonde and popular and dead—just like all the other zombies in this town. . . .
Hannah and her father move around a lot. He’s on the run from bills and from the harassment that lingers from his past job as a New York Cop. Sometimes Hannah and her dad stay a few months, sometimes just a few weeks. But they always stay in small towns, her dad convinced that they’re the safest places to flee. Then they come to Maplecrest, where the streets have more houses for sale than houses that are occupied.
Once more Hannah must find her place in a new school, but on the first day she discovers that the entire school is run by the perfect blonde cheerleaders. Outcast Lukas warns her to stay away from them, that they’re zombies, but Hannah is just as entranced with the perfect cheerleaders as the rest of the town. When her dad goes out of town for a job, Hannah is plagued with doubts over Lukas’ claims of a town run by zombies, her desperate wish to just fit in, and all the things in the town that just don’t add up.
I really enjoyed this book, in part because zombies rock. I love the walking dead- whether they’re shambling slowly or running like drug crazed track stars. Hannah is easy to relate to, her wish to fit in, or at least to not stick out, is something most people can understand. The author does a good job of casting doubts on Lukas’ claims- yes the cheerleaders are just a little too perfect, but you have to wonder if at times zombies is just a metaphor for losing your identity to be popular. All the cheerleaders have bleached blonde hair and names that begin with “M”, having cast off their past personalities and names in order to be part of the perfect squad. As much unease as Hannah feels about certain aspects of the squad and the town, she is willing to suppress her suspicions in order to be popular.
The ending is good too, while the author answers questions raised throughout the book, he ends the book with a whole bunch of new ones. The book is suspenseful, but builds at a slow pace. Brian James will be an author I keep an eye out for. Zombie Blondes is a great read for those that love zombies, hate cheerleaders, and despise hometowns. It’s the ultimate book for anyone that’s ever been forced by their family to move from a perfectly happy suburban town to some dinky, creepy town where there’s more cows than people… or maybe that’s just me. I still haven’t forgiven my parents for that particular move and it’s been 19 years. And there weren’t even any zombies to make it interesting!