Each spring flowers burst into bloom and the world teems with new life. But a few of this season's titles focus on a more macabre rebirth—that of corpses. Vampires—from Sesame Street's Count von Count to Stephenie Meyer's Edward—have had their moment in the sun, but 2008 is shaping up to be the year of the zombie.
This May, Hyperion will publish Generation Dead by Daniel Waters, a debut novel in which certain teenagers who die start coming back to life, forming a whole new class of “living impaired” citizens. Prejudices arise between the living and the undead, and Phoebe, an already unpopular “goth” teen, doesn't win over new friends when she falls in love with the leader of the dead students at her school. Last month, Hyperion sent Waters on a joint pre-pub bookseller tour with author E. Lockhart, and the publisher's marketing campaign will include Generation Dead t-shirts. The first printing: 100,000 copies.
In June, Feiwel and Friends will publish Zombie Blondes by Brian James (Pure Sunshine; Dirty Liar), which features the tagline, “They're beautiful. They're popular. They're dead.” In James's story, Hannah moves into a new town, and her attempts to get in with the popular crowd—gorgeous, blonde cheerleaders with an unearthly pallor—may have deadly consequences. The title has an announced 50,000-copy first printing, and marketing and publicity plans include finished book and t-shirt giveaways to teen magazines, as well as a YouTube video, an e-card and more.
And while she's not really a zombie, ghostgirl makes her book debut later this summer, courtesy of Little, Brown. Based on the popular Web site ghostgirl.com, Tonya Hurley's book stars Charlotte Usher, a teen who finds it just as difficult to be popular in the afterlife as in life.