Undead Book Picks

Let me first say that the Midseason Premiere of The Walking Dead Season 6 was AMAZING!

All the haters for that episode need to just move along because it was the perfect mix of comic book storytelling and an uplifting turn on the well-deserved show descriptor “misery porn.”

With that being said, my zombie obsession is therefore still alive and well. Since Valentine’s Day is for zombies this year, I wanted to make a list of some of my YA zombie book picks:


The Unconventional Zombie Tale — Undead by Kirsty McKay


This story focuses on new girl Bobby and the local high school bad boy Smitty. They are the only two to stay behind on the bus while an entire class field trip is converted into ravenous undead. With a female lead who rises spectacularly to the hardcore occasion, this zombie novel is rather different than most of them which focus on a guy lead. Also, many of the traditional zombie flick tropes are actually parodied in the story. This book is definitely the choice for those who want something a little different.


The Classic — Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

rot and ruin

Considered to now be one of the tried and true classics of the YA zombie genre. It is a zombie story with a post-apocalyptic twist. The main character is 15-year-old Benny who becomes a zombie hunter to help defend his city from the undead. The only problem is that there is a conspiracy afoot and the zombie horde might not be what they seem.


The Survival Story — Sick by Tom Leveen


This book is somewhat of a “locked room” scenario coupled with zombie survival. Almost all the students and teachers at a high school are turned into bloodthirsty attackers. Brian and his best friend manage to find a safe place to stay with a bunch of theater kids, but they must get to Brian’s sister and his ex-girlfriend before they are torn to shreds. Even though the theater kids and Brian never mixed before this day, they band together to make it through the school and get the girls.


Hope you enjoy these zombie picks as much as I did!




Valentine’s Day Is for Zombies

If you are familiar with my blog at all, you know I have a slight obsession with the undead. Zombies just totally float my boat.

Which is why I’m so EXCITED about this February! Rather than shoving ooey gooey romance down our throats, oddballs like myself and my husband get to choose something different–zombies!

The movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies comes out this Friday February 5th. Then, The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday February 14th. Honestly, can you think of a better way to spend Valentine’s Day than to see if that idiot kid calling for his mom gets the group ripped to shreds? I certainly can’t.


This resurgence of zombie power in February has led me to pull out the YA zombie program that I did at my primary library branch this past Halloween.

Let’s start by saying it was pretty killer–HA! Couldn’t help myself.

This particular library branch has had a great problem with getting teens to it, despite the fact that one of the local high schools is just half a mile away (barely 15 minutes walking). One of the issues is that the branch doesn’t really do teen programming–this program was in October while the only other one that year was in April. Also, the branch is very popular with seniors due to several retirement homes in the area and a seniors rec center just two doors down the street. Teens tend to consider it the “old people library.”


zombie tshirtsPicking a very high-interest program (zombies) and making it as interactive and different as possible, I created Teen Zombie Night. One really different arrangement was in the promotion itself. I was able to get a promo set-up a few days before the event at the high school library and recruited one of the students to wear a “zombie-fied” t-shirt while I wore one myself.

tzn8Talking to the teens and making the program seem like a grand endeavor really helped.
The actual night of the program as had 12 living breathing teenagers (ranging from grade 9 to grade 12, including FIVE impossible-to-get teen boys). By comparison, the last program had only 4 (only one teen boy brought by his girlfriend).


zombie maskThe set-up was relatively simple. We performed a scavenger hunt of sorts, similar to the Jurassic World Scavenger Hunt, but on a much smaller scale. Rather than a dinosaur, teens had to complete the scavenger hunt while not having their flag taken by their not-so-friendly neighborhood zombie librarian. The winning team won Tim Horton’s gift cards for each team member.


There was also an obstacle course with the person who completed everything in the fastest time got a gift card for Tim Horton’s. Several of the challenges were physical (literally jumping through hoops) while others were “survival” in nature (create then fire a pom-pom launcher at a zombie target).

Our last activity was a zombie makeup tutorial where I performed two styles of zombie makeup on two volunteers. The teens could then choose to do zombie skin or the shadowed ghoul. The zombie skin was WAY more popular with only one girl doing shadowed contours on her face to look ghoulish.


We finished with zombie food (rice treat brains, blood splatter sugar cookies, and relabeled soda like “spinal fluid” for Sprite) and watching YouTube videos about The Walking Dead.

Overall, would I do it again? In a friggin heartbeat. It was an amazing night and really helped to earn the respect of the teens–showing them that the “old people library” could offer plenty of fun programs just for them.

YA Zombies: The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead has basically become an institution in the zombie literature world. While it is not necessarily a young adult option, many older teens have latched onto the graphic novels. With this idea in mind, I need to point out that some of the themes and scenes can get quite brutal and gory. Therefore, this adult-to-YA crossover should only be reserved for older teens—as in AT LEAST 16 years old.


Ok, with that caveat out of the way, we can really get into it!


The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman is actually an ongoing series of graphic novels. The story follows police officer Rick Grimes who wakes from a coma after being shot in the line of duty. Rather than being greeted by his wife Lori and son Carl, he finds his town is overrun by walking corpses. The first part of the series follows Rick trying to be reunited with his family, which happens in a rather unexpected way. Then, they must work to survive in this new, vicious world while trying to still have a life. It truly is amazingly written and has stunning artwork, courtesy of artist Tony Moore.


walking dead comic



Bring It to Life (BITL)!

There are actually two awesome ways to bring this graphic novel to life. The most obvious is of course The Walking Dead television show on AMC. The first season is quite short, but it really does a nice job of presenting this new zombie world and introducing Rick and his family as primary characters. Those who are already familiar with the graphic novels might find the second season to be better though since it picks up at the Greene family farm that is a notable setting in the first stories.


walking dead show


The second way to bring the stories to life is to actually zombify yourself! AMC created several ways for users to turn a picture of themselves into a walker. There is a smartphone app, an email service that chooses good pictures to zombify, and a way to upload fan art zombified self portraits to compete in the Zombify Yourself Challenge to have the picture appear during an episode of The Walking Dead! More information can be found at http://www.amctv.com/shows/the-walking-dead/zombify-yourself-challenge

zombify yourself

YA Zombies: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

I thought we would begin the October zombie-fest with something a little new. I happened to run across The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan when I was in a Montreal bookstore. Obviously, it was the French version so I had by now-husband-then-boyfriend translate the blurb since the cover looked intriguing.


Basically, it follows the story of a young girl named Mary. She lives in a small, enclosed village that is surrounded by a vast forest. While it seems this rather rustic setting is more about isolation and surviving without modern conveniences, it actually is a forced isolation as the forest is filled with “Unconsecrated,” which is their word for zombies. The terms utilized in the book are actually quite interesting unto themselves, such as Unconsecrated, the Resurrection, and the Sisterhood. The religious references are not by accident either since Mary’s village is super religion-orientated with the Sisterhood (basically a ruling class of nuns) using religion to keep the villagers in line and indicating theirs is the last human habitation on earth. This village is thrown into disarray when a young girl from Village XIV randomly shows up though.


A complicated romance is integrated into The Forest of Hands and Teeth, but throughout most of the story it kind of takes a back seat to survival. Therefore, the book is still suitable for those who do not care for reading about romance and young love.


Overall though, it is super amazing. Carrie Ryan followed up with another book called The Dead Tossed Waves, which is another zombie story within the same universe as The Forest of Hands and Teeth but not a direct sequel.




Bring It to Life (BITL)!


Compose a zombie survival kit!


The idea of survival in problematic situations is a strong theme in the book. Therefore, the best way to bring the concept of survival to life is to make your own survival kit. This is actually a fun party game too. Rather than composing a physical kit, a simple list can be made and then compared with friends.


The following is a really awesome survival sheet from LostZombie.com:

zombie survival list

Dun dun dunnnnnnn!

Please note that there will be no posts this week. I have a bazillion assignments and work to do this week. Also, I want to use this week to ramp things up for my end of October plan.

The plan is……..




I decided to embrace zombies for this Halloween with zombie books and movies. Therefore, next week and the week of Halloween will be focus on the walking dead. Buckle up and get ready!