cover image The Undead Truth of Us

The Undead Truth of Us

Britney S. Lewis. Disney-Hyperion, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-368-07583-1

Lewis sensitively balances a sometimes-scary world populated by the undead with both melancholy and hope in this surreal debut. No one but 16-year-old Black Zharie Young seemed to notice that her mother turned into a zombie upon her death. But ever since then, Zharie sees zombies everywhere—with “eyes sunken and hollow; fresh skin dangling from their cheekbones, exposing their skeletal smiles.” Now she lives with her emotionally absent aunt and keeps her distance from others, until she meets charming new neighbor Bo, a Black and Vietnamese teen whose appearance randomly switches between half-human and half-zombie. She befriends him, hoping to find answers about why she’s the only one privy to the apparent zombie epidemic, but the more she discovers about her suddenly supernatural world, the less she understands. Zharie and Bo’s developing relationship is bizarre and enthralling: sometimes he’s a handsome boy with freckles and curly hair; other times he’s a decaying corpse with “open wounds and scars. Unblinking eyes. A feral, broken grin.” An equally compassionately drawn supporting cast adds depth to this haunting tale about finding love and happiness in the aftermath of tragedy. Ages 12–up. Agent: Katelyn Detweiler, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Aug.)