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KateBond

Kate Bond

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Killbox
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The Reapers Are the Angels
Alden Bell
Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion
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Jay Kristoff
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Stephen Baxter, Terry Pratchett
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Rae Carson

Undead

Undead - Kirsty McKay I am not generally a fan of zombie horror. I don't like blood and guts (which Undead contains in spades, Jesus), but the characters are well-defined and funny enough that this series reads more like Buffy than The Walking Dead, so it works for me.OK. So. Bobby and her mother have just moved back to Scotland from the US, where they'd lived for six years, following the death (cancer) of Bobby's father. Before the school year starts, Bobby's mother insists that she go on a class trip to a ski lodge. On the way back from said trip, the bus stops for a lunch break, and Bobby decided to skip more of the teasing she endured all weekend to eat a peanut butter sandwich on the bus. Smitty, the annoying bad boy, is stuck with her as punishment for attempting to buy cigarettes and vodka with a fake id (these kids are, like, 15). Shit goes down almost immediately, causing the driver to leave the bus and return horribly wounded, as Alice, leader of the Mean Girls, flees the restaurant, informing Bobby and Smitty that everyone in there is now (un)dead.All of the above happens before page 10. As the book goes on, Pete the Nerd (and only remaining survivor from their class) joins the ranks of group as they attempt to escape through a countryside teeming with seriously disgusting zombies.I don't have a ton to say about this book. It was just a lot of fun, primarily because of the characters:Bobby, our first-person narrator, is wry and brave. She has a strained relationship with her mother, who is a cold, intellectual scientist. Bobby is still mourning the recent loss of her father. She and her three classmates develop a relationship similar to that of siblings--they are loyal to each other against outside forces but bicker constantly within the group. Bobby sloooowly develops a romantic attachment to Smitty, in a manner appropriate for fifteen-year-old kids.Smitty, the bad boy (he wears a leather jacket and eyeliner), is fearless, funny, and surprisingly kind. He has a stupid, charming habit of risking his life to save people who are clearly too far gone to be rescued. Bobby, who is more practical but loyal to a fault, tends to get sucked into his schemes. Being a teenager, Smitty has no interest in love or whatever, but develops a flirtatious camaraderie with Bobby.Alice, the mean girl, is inexplicably wearing her cheerleading uniform on the class ski trip. She's selfish and bitchy, and has a habit of peppering her speech with french phrases because she thinks it sounds cool. Alice possesses excellent people skills when it comes to lying and manipulation.Pete, the nearly-albino nerd, carries that air of detachment from human society peculiar to those who have spent their entire lives as the butt of a joke. He is also absolutely brilliant and ultimately grows into his own brand of heroism as the novel progresses.Lily, an older teenage girl who is caring for her toddler brother Cam after their mom becomes a zombie, grounds the group a bit by being capable of speaking logically without sarcasm, and by having a tiny creature relying on her.The first third of the novel takes place on and around the school bus; once the crew branches out to find help in the countryside it gets really, really interesting, setting up a fun cliff-hanger for book two.My only complaint is the slick, somewhat flippant writing style at the beginning. It chills out as the story progresses, but it's a lot to take right at the top. Still, it's one of my favorites of this past year, and I just read the equally awesome sequel, which is currently only available in the UK.