Book Review: Generation Dead by Daniel Waters (New Take on the Zombie Theme)

All across America, teenagers are coming back from the dead.

Nicknamed “zombies” by their very understanding peers, they face daily prejudice and threats.  In this high school, goth girl, Phoebe, finds herself interested in one of them, Tommy Williams, who joins the all live football team.  Phoebe’s friend, Adam, attempts to understand his new teammate, but others in the school are out for blood.  Pete is disgusted by these dead things and intends to take full advantage of the lack of legislation for protecting the “differently biotic”.   Pete has a list, a mixture of zombies and live people who tolerate and befriend them.  He’s not going to stop until every one of them is dead, for good this time.

The blurb on the back cover caught my attention.  I liked the idea of reading a story told from the zombies’ side where these “monsters” had feelings, thoughts, hopes and ideas like everyone else.  But I should be clear straight away.  This is not a book about zombies or the supernatural.  Generation Dead is a story about racism, and the hatred and prejudice prevalent in society.  Some of the zombies are more functioning than the rest and are said to even be able to “pass” for human.  The zombies have no rights as they are legally dead, yet they attend school (I didn’t understand this).  On the buses they sit alone, in the cafeteria no one goes near them, and when they are killed in cold blood, their second and final death barely makes the news.

When Tommy and Phoebe show an interest in one another, we just know all hell is about to break loose.  Phoebe’s best friend, Margi, can’t even speak to their formerly live friend, Colette, and she can’t understand why Phoebe develops feelings for a zombie.  Even Phoebe’s parents are taken aback when she tells them she’s going to Homecoming dance with Tommy.

I enjoyed this book and read it quickly, but felt I didn’t get enough answers.  How did the zombies die?  We find out about a few deaths, but not enough.  Many of the zombies have no visible marks.  Apart from their halting movements and pale skin, they don’t look dead.  How so?  Why were many of these children turned away by families and friends when they returned?  Personally, I couldn’t understand this.  If a beloved teenager dies and comes back to life pretty much straight away, wouldn’t the parents, brothers and sisters be delighted to have more time with this family member?  One of the most chilling parts of this novel, for me anyway, took place in the group class where the zombies and their “normal” friends share stories.  Colette, the former best friend of Phoebe and Margi, tells the group that when she came back from the dead and appeared at her parent’s house, her father came out with a shovel!

I wasn’t blown away by this novel, but it hooked me enough that I ordered the next book in the series.  Also, here in Ireland, the book has a red cover with a black rose, which I think is more appropriate than the cover I see online with the cheerleader with the black eye-makeup.  There isn’t any zombie cheerleader in this book and I think that cover belittles the tone and message of this novel.  This is a book about discrimination, not a light and fluffy story about undead cheerleaders in cute outfits (see that cover below).  ****

Check it out on Amazon HERE

Note: I have since read the second book and I didn’t enjoy it.

So, floor’s open. Anybody read this or any good zombie books lately?

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About Emma

Buffy fan, avid reader, writer.
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18 Responses to Book Review: Generation Dead by Daniel Waters (New Take on the Zombie Theme)

  1. I’ve seen this book many, many times and never really knew what it was about….but thanks to your review, my interest has been sparked enough to give it a try. It is an interesting take where the Zombies are not monsters, well…I supposed to many in the book they are, but I mean that there is actually an attempt to acclimate them into society…so, thanks, great review…think I will give it a try:)

  2. I always said that I could NEVER read a book where a zombie was a romantic interest. However, at that time I was referring to zombies with body parts falling off, rotting skin, etc. Generation Dead sounds different.

    I’m reading the third (and maybe final?) book in the Zombie-Ish Apocalypse series by Shannon Mayer. And it is GREAT. But you have to read these three books in order or they won’t make sense. I never liked zombie books before, but when I read Eaters by Michelle Depaepe, I changed my mind. I like SOME zombie books. LOL

    • Emma says:

      My idea of zombies is traditional: gross, shuffling creatures who eat brains :) Generation Dead’s zombies are nothing like the old school monsters.
      I saw your post on Shannon Mayer. I’ve noticed her book, Dark Waters on a lot of blogs lately and will check her stuff out when I get the chance. The TBR list never gets any shorter :)

  3. You are all about the goth books! What’s up with that? Is it a huge phenom in YA that I wasn’t aware of? I really thought we did away with all the goth crap back in my day, but I guess not. Huh. ;) Not sure I’m into zombies, so I might have to skip this one. Right now I’m beta reading two super cool books that will be published soon. I’ll let you know about them closer to release because I think you’ll love them.

    • Emma says:

      It’s funny, Tameri; I didn’t realise I was reading so many until you mentioned it :) Not intentional, I swear! Ooh, I’m intrigued about those books. Keep me posted about them please.

  4. Haven’t read this one, but I’ve heard of a next generation of zombie books from the zombie’s POV. Interesting take, and I may have start with this one. Personally, zombies freak me out, especially since there’s been a string of zombie-like biting/cannibalistic attacks here in the States, mostly in the East and South. I’ll confess to jokingly (not really!) prepping for a zombie apocalypse, I really love the show Walking Dead, and when the discussion comes up at work, I tell them that as long as they’re slow zombies (unlike 28 Days Later) I’ll take them on…shovel, machete, axe, but not a gun. Why waste a bullet, right? ;-)

    • Emma says:

      What? I hadn’t heard about that. Yikes!
      So, do you have your own zombie survival kit tucked under your bed? :) I’m with you on the slow zombies, just remember the double tap to the head from Zombieland and we should be fine :) Although they used guns in that movie, which means wasting bullets. (We’ve really thought this through a lot, haven’t we?)
      The zombies from 28 Days Later are terrifying.

      • I have a completely unrealistic dislike of zombies. And yes, zombie survival kit, check. Although when the dead do start walking, I’ll probably have to reconstruct my chicken coop; the little darlings would likely draw the walkers like bees to honey. Zombieland was a great movie! Cardio, cardio, cardio!

      • Emma says:

        I’d say you’re pretty normal for disliking zombies, Serena. You’ll have to have a big feast of chickens when the apocalypse starts :)

  5. Suz Korb says:

    I love the cover of Generation Dead! It’s simple yet stunning with that black rose against the blood red.

    By the way, I saw your 5 star review of my zombie novel, Emma. I just wanted to say thank you so much! You’re a star. xx

  6. The rose cover is cool – the cheerleader was probably a poor choice: book looks dumb. But your review creates interest here – and I like series. (Will all those questions get answered? Hope some will)

    • Emma says:

      A few get answered but I didn’t like the second book. Parts of the next novel are painful to read as we go inside the zombie’s mind and this….is….how….they….think…and….talk….painfully…slowly…so….you….want….to…..rip….your….hair….out….as…you….read….!
      I’m not joking, this is how some of that book is written.

  7. Debra Kristi says:

    I totally need to read the first book. I have a story on the back burner to write that is all from the zombie’s POV. Someday I will get around to it. Thanks for the reviews, Emma.

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