Reading the Zombie Apocalypse
Zombies are invading again. They’re everywhere. On the streets. In your house. On the TV…and in your bookshelf. These brain-munchers have made an amazing comeback as they moan and shuffle their way to the top of young adult novel enthusiasts’ lists. Now it seems that you don’t have to be even interested in zombies before you read one. They’re that good. Infinitely infectious like the disease that lingers in their bite. They’ll drag you into their stories as villains, protagonists, and even as love interests as you scream for mercy…or more. Are you willing to risk getting bitten in exchange for a good story? I know I am.
So, to satisfy all you zombie enthusiasts, you apocalyptic survivors, and even you who’re searching for a good human limb to curb your munchies, I’ve procured a list of what I consider the top ten zombie list for YA novels.
1. Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Here we are people. Perhaps the greatest manifestation of the infestation. Rot & Ruin. It’s most certainly a must read. The undead. Zombie killers. A teenage-point-of-view post-apocalyptic life? What more could you ask for? Other than, you know…a sequel.
2. Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry
Well there you have it. I’ve granted your wish. Well no…not me. Though I wish I’d thought of the idea first, Jonathan Maberry, the king of the shuffling hordes, has done it again. Another magnificent tale of teens in life after the zombie apocalypse. Behold the thrilling sequel to Rot & Ruin.
3. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
In my opinion, not many come close the greatness that is Jonathan Maberry and his Rot & Ruin series. But this devoted brain-muncher has come pretty darn close. The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a book unlike any other I have ever read. Taking on the same idea of teenage life after the apocalypse, author Carrie Ryan spins a tale of romance among chaos and fear, and of course, the living dead. I give it five moans on the zomb-o-meter.
4. The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
Carrie tells a tale as good as the first in her second book in The Forest of Hands and Teeth series. Again love and survival must reign over the threat of the dreaded “Unconcecrated” or “Mudo” as some call them. Love. Secrets. Zombies. Could you ask for much more in a good zom-book?
5. The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
Are you getting tired of seeing Carrie’s name up here? I’m not. In fact, I wish there was more, but sadly The Dark and Hollow Places is Carrie Ryan’s last installment of The Forest of Hands and Teeth series. Another love story, this book completes the three. It answers questions and provokes new ones. Are the Mudo really the worst monster the world has ever seen…or is it man?
6. World War Z by Max Brooks
Now I know that this technically is not considered a YA novel, but I still think every devoted zombie geek should read it. I certainly enjoyed it. This book goes over in detail just how a real zombie apocalypse might happen. It’s chillingly realistic and believable, and will leave you boarding up your doors and windows.
7. The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks
Again, not a young adult book, but I still think this must be in the undead reader’s “must read” list. Max Brooks takes us into a world of possibilities. And how chillingly real those possibilities seem. This informative guide gives the huddled groups of dwindling mankind detailed instructions on how to prepare and react to the zombie masses shuffling outside their doors. This should be the first thing you pack in your ZAEB (Zombie Apocalypse Emergency Bag). Okay, that’s not real. But considering this book is certainly a good idea if you intend to fight or flight as the undead beat down your doors.
8. The Enemy by Charlie Higson
Now here’s a popular notion expressed in nearly every teen’s life at some point. Adults are zombies. In this post-apocalyptic world, anyone sixteen and older become ravenous, decaying monsters who run through the streets of London looking for children to eat. Another gripping story about teens who struggle to survive the impossible, this unique book delivers.
9. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
Can a zombie love? Apparently so in Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies. A touching story of a boy zombie who eats another boy’s brain and falls in love with the boy’s girlfriend. Isn’t that sweet? Hey, if that isn’t zombie love, then what is?
10. Zombies Vs. Unicorns edited by Molly Black and Justine Larbalestier
It’s a battle of the giants. War of the greats. Zombie? Or Unicorn? Which is better? This amazing anthology, the two sides are recognized by many bestselling teen authors, such as Cassandra Clare, Scott Westerfield, Meg Cabot, and many others. Which team are you? Team Zombie? Or Team Unicorn?
by Cuyler Creech, TLT Teen Reviewer
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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