Daniel Waters,
Generation Dead
(Hyperion, 2008)

For the most part, Oakvale High is your typical American high school. You have your jocks, the popular kids, the moderately popular and the painfully unpopular. There are cliques and conflicts, peer pressure and all those horrible and wonderful things that make up the whole teen experience. The only difference about Oakvale and the rest of the high schools across America is that it is host to the growing numbers of "living impaired teens."

A strange new phenomenon is happening in the United States; some teenagers who have died are not staying dead. Scientists don't have any answers as to why, but while they try to come up with answers, there are a few groups of people willing to help the living impaired try to fit in. At Oakvale these zombied (not the PC term) teens make up another class of students.

Phoebe and her pal Margi are goth girls who are used to being stared at and not really accepted. When Phoebe befriends Tommy Williams, a living impaired/differently biotic teen, it causes more of a stir than anticipated. Suddenly lines are drawn and sides are taken as the fear of the unknown breeds hate. Adam is the star jock and Mr. Popularity; he is also Phoebe's best friend. With Phoebe, Margi and some of the undead, he joins a group to help bring awareness, understanding and tolerance to the differently biotic.

Adam's once close friend, Pete, takes hating and trying to hurt the differently biotic kids to a whole other level. He feeds off the hate and decides anyone who associates with the living impaired deserves his wrath. He is evil personified and his narrow-minded and terrifying antics gave me the creeps!

I loved Phoebe and Adam and their diverse and amusing living and nonliving pals. The beauty of this story and the writing is it's easy to forget you're reading fiction, and not at all hard to imagine this tale becoming reality. There are some funny, scary, tender and sad moments in this book, and I loved and devoured every word. Generation Dead is a clever, witty and brilliantly entertaining story that has me hoping desperately, and willing to beg the author, that this is the first in a series.

review by
Cherise Everhard

12 July 2008

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