Z

Michael Thomas Ford, HarperTeen, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-073758-0
It's not all fun and games when make-believe zombie-hunting turns violent in this fast-paced futuristic thriller. Fifteen years after a vaccine was developed against the zombie flu, the hungry undead are a thing of the past, relegated to bad memories and virtual games, such as the one Josh and his friend Firecracker play, despite their parents' disapproval. A rising star online, Josh is thrilled when Charlie, another skilled player, invites him to join an underground group of live-action zombie-killer role-players. Even as Josh bonds with Charlie and her team, he begins to suspect something's not right with Clatter, the enigmatic brains behind the operation. Worse still, the game itself is proving more dangerous than he expected, leading to a desperate struggle for survival when things inevitably turn sour. Ford (Suicide Notes) artfully constructs a credible concept against the backdrop of a darkly atmospheric post-post-apocalyptic world. Several secondary characters remain underdeveloped, and readers might wish that the ending unfolded more gradually, but the partnering of virtual gaming with the brutality of "real" zombie warfare achieves an effect that is equal parts chilling and fun. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 11/22/2010
Release date: 09/01/2010
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-06-073760-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-206234-5
Hardcover - 208 pages - 978-0-06-073759-7
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-06-204313-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-199979-6
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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