Unless you’re a zombie yourself, you’ve probably noticed that zombies are making their mark on popular culture. From television commercials to movies to books, zombies are everywhere, including the young adult market. Want to take a stab (or shot or hack) at the genre, but not sure where to start? Here’s the lowdown on some of the popular young adult zombie stories out right now.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Carrie Ryan): Mary lives in a village surrounded by wooden fences that keep out zombies (or, as they call them, Unconsecrated). When the fence is breached and the Unconsecrated break through, Mary and her friends escape and decide to head for the ocean — and place that may or may not exist. Forest was followed by two sequels, The Dead Tossed Waves and The Dark and Hollow Places, neither of which were quite as good.
Warm Bodies (Isaac Marion): Warm Bodies wasn’t technically written as young adult, but has the short pacing and younger characters generally associated with the category. R, who generally feasts on the flesh of the living along with his fellow zombies, decides to bring a living girl home with him. He is quickly met with hostility from his fellow zombies, but once he gets to know the beautiful yet fiery Julie, his, erm, afterlife begins to change for the better.
Generation Dead (Daniel Waters): All across the United States, dead teenagers are coming back to life. Nobody knows how or why this phenomenon is occurring, but the zombies (or, as they reportedly prefer to be called, “living impaired”) are struggling to adjust to (after)life in a world that doesn’t accept them. When high schooler Phoebe falls for one of the “living impaired,” her already less than stellar social status is jeopardized.
Rot & Ruin (Jonathan Maberry): Benny Imura is a 15-year-old who reluctantly follows in his older brother’s footsteps and becomes a zombie hunter. But the job he thinks will consist of hacking away at the undead turns out to be a lot more meaningful — and he learns along the way that zombies aren’t the only bad guys in this world.
Something Strange and Deadly (Susan Dennard): In this steampunk adventure, the dead are rising, and Elijah Fitt has gone missing in the chaos. His 16-year-old sister, Eleanor, receives a note from Elijah via one of the Dead themselves, and sets out to find him. But what she ends up finding is a world of necromancy, Spirit Hunters (including a particularly handsome one named Daniel), and even the truth behind her father’s death years ago. The sequel, A Darkness Strange and Lovely, is also now available.
What are your favorite young adult zombie novels?