cover image Zombie


J.R. Angelella. Soho, $15 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-61695-088-0

Jeremy Barker, a freshman at the Byron Hall Catholic High School for Boys in Baltimore, is obsessed with zombies, peppering references to his favorite zombie films throughout. Jeremy calls Byron Hall “prime zombie real estate” in part because of its ominous habitués, like eight-fingered teacher Mr. Rembrandt and fellow students Dirtbag Boy, Super Shy Kid, and the Plaids. Though rather prickly as a narrator, Jeremy is treated by the world as merely hapless. He lives by a zombie code, which includes “#3. Forget the Past,” a rule that grows in importance as Jeremy’s recently divorced parents begin behaving strangely. His Vietnam vet dad stays out all night, mysteriously. His mom has a new boyfriend and a pill habit. And his older brother is a sex addict. Will Jeremy go for the college girl he spies on through her window, or find love with his dream girl from Byron Hall’s sister school? Though Angelella’s debut novel crackles with energy and attitude, the plot is less compelling or coherent than it could be, and his whining 14-year-old hero may rub some readers the wrong way. Agent: Douglas Stewart, Sterling Lord Literistic. (June)