Children's Literature | 20 September 2012 |

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL ALERT: Zombies attacks have been reported in small villages in Ireland, Africa, and South America. Unless it is just a hoax. Antihero B Smith does not even blink; there is much tougher stuff at home to deal with, such as a racist, wife-beating, drunk of a father. As far as B is concerned, it is the zombies who had better watch out. For two-thirds of the book, zombies are backdrop rather than centerpiece. Set in London, the slang is pure British; but the kids do American things like eat fries, play soccer and get Cs (at best) in school. Suddenly, having skipped over mid-size and less remote towns, the zombies rudely burst into B's high school in the middle of the afternoon, a time of day one presumes one would be safe from such monsters. Stiff, unnatural dialog punctuates the free-for-all that ensues. As the kids fall like dominoes, B makes some difficult, bizarre choices. Near the end, mysterious mutants take the time to inform B that while today the zombies are merely taking over London high schools, tomorrow the rest of the world will fall. So you can ignore the travel alert. No place is safe. The most original part of the story are the nicknames of B's friends and classmates, which makes it all the more odd that B does not have one. However, horror fans no doubt will eat up Shan's latest, like some warm, sweet brains from a freshly cracked skull. Yum. First in the "Zom-B" series. Next will be Zom-B Underground.

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