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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

Feed

Zombies are everywhere these days, even infecting Day Two of the Adult 4 Teen blog. I would fight it, but Feed by Mira Grant is entertaining and smart, and as a paperback original it might have escaped notice. First in the Newsflesh series, this particular zombie apocalypse centers around social media, blogging, the future of communications and presidential election politics.

It also boasts a very clever website.

Feed won Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire) the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, presented at the Hugo Awards last month. So when your teen readers clamor for the second in the series, don’t say I didn’t warn you. (Deadline is scheduled for May 2011.)

While we’re here, thought I would mention that the publisher of Feed is Orbit, the Science Fiction and Fantasy imprint of Hachette Book Group. Orbit made a splash in the Adult Books for Young Adults world last year with Soulless by Gail Carriger, a 2010 Alex Award winner. In what is projected to be a five-book series titled The Parasol Protectorate, Soulless was followed this year by Changeless and Blameless.

Tomorrow we move into the realm of nonfiction. Meanwhile, enjoy the review.

GRANT, Mira. Feed. 608p. Orbit. 2010. pap. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-316-08105-4. LC number unavailable.  Feed e1287447062453 Feed

Adult/High School–When readers first meet Georgia Mason and her adoptive brother, Shaun, it is 2039 and they are battling a horde of zombies in the city that was once Santa Cruz. They escape when Georgia is able to drive over the mob and get them safely to the van they share with their third adoptive sibling, Buffy. The three of them form the core of a journalistic team earnestly engaged in spreading the truth through blogging, one of the only forms of communication still available. The society they know is cloistered, ever-fearful of the Kellis-Amberlee viral infection that rapidly transforms a human into a flesh-eating zombie. When the trio is chosen to cover the presidential campaign, they are thrilled. But as they get closer to the inner circles of power, uncovering the truth becomes deadly. This action-packed, technology-amped suspense novel has many page-turning elements–zombies, political intrigue, combat scenes, and even a hint of incestuous romance. Georgia (who is named after George Romero, because it turns out he got it right about the zombies) is a tough and passionate narrator. Teens who loved the latest spate of zombie tales will find something more satisfying than awkward high school romance here. In fact, the zombies are peripheral in much of the novel, which focuses on the corruption of the American political machine as well as the evolution of the deadly Kellis-Amberlee virus. Think Michael Crichton, only savvier. And the ending is a real killer, sure to leave readers hooked to the “Newsflesh” series.–Diane Colson, New Port Richey Library, FL

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Angela Carstensen About Angela Carstensen

Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.

Comments

  1. Readers who enjoy Feed may also like last year’s Alex award nominee Breathers, a self-proclaimed “zom-rom-com” the undead are the sympathetic characters. Victims of trauma are unexpectedly and unexplainably becoming “reanimated.” The zombies, all at different stages of acceptance, ability and decomposition, are outcasts of society. Their second class citizen treatment ranges from harassment (assault and limb-stealing) to SPCA imprisonment for curfew violations, with termination imminent if a human family member, or Breather, doesn’t bail them out.

    Some cope by meeting in AA-styled group sessions. In Undead Anonymous, Andy develops a crush on the lovely Rita (a suicide victim) and meets several unique and interesting individuals, including the charismatic Ray, a self-sufficient zombie who refuses to be disenfranchised and rallies the others for equal rights for the reanimated.

    This very funny satire manages to not take itself too seriously without getting campy. Browne deftly balances humor with pathos, and gore with romance. The vivid writing flows, delivering a satisfying pace and many amusing scenes. Characterizations are strong, and the voice steady throughout. My one criticism is that there is a hair of predictability to the story, but the ending still didn’t play out exactly as I thought.

    The opening draws the reader in immediately: Andy comes to in his parents kitchen, suspecting he has just killed them. From there, Browne delivers a backstory that relates what life is like as a zombie that one could analogize to being in the minority–others tend to make snap judgments about members of these communities and may be intolerant to varying degrees.

    In Breathers, being a zombie is analogous to being a teen. Not only is the protagonist adolescent in his thinking and behavior, but he is marginalized, treated as a second class citizen, has to obey a curfew, is dependent on his parents, is literally voiceless, and is frequently judged!

  2. Sarah Hill says:

    I keep looking at this book on my shelf–now I’ll have to read it! :)

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