cover image Zombie Tag

Zombie Tag

Hannah Moskowitz. Roaring Brook, $15.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-59643-720-3

In this moving, thought-provoking tale—YA author Moskowitz’s (Invincible Summer) first for middle-grade readers—she explores the complexities of grief and acceptance through an extended zombie metaphor. Twelve-year-old Wil Lowenstein, is still getting over the recent sudden death of his older brother, Graham. To distract himself, he throws himself into a game he’s invented called Zombie Tag, which he and his friends play in secret (this is also a world in which zombie attacks have been a past threat). When Wil discovers a magic bell supposedly capable of raising the dead, he tries it out and succeeds, bringing back Graham and dozens more. But the zombies aren’t what Wil expected: they aren’t mindless, brain-eating monsters, but they are all but incapable of emotion. It’s up to Wil to decide his brother’s fate. While whimsical in its concept, the book’s tone and theme are quite serious, and Wil’s emotional spectrum, including alienation, denial, depression, and anger, will be familiar to anyone struggling with loss. Although the book’s message isn’t subtle, the characters are sympathetic, and their losses are deeply felt. Ages 9–12. (Dec.)