Reviews for Zombie Blondes

Booklist Reviews 2008 August #1
Hannah and her father move frequently to avoid creditors, so she is used to the assimilation problems that come with being the new kid. But the eerily deserted town of Maplecrest, Vermont, brings more trouble than she has  ever found before. Most homes are up for sale, and people disappear without warning. Unpopular geek Lukas befriends Hannah and warns her that the town is infested with zombies. The cheerleaders are all strangely similar, thin blonds, and the football team is nicknamed the “Death Squad.” Sound like most high schools? Readers looking for a plot twist won't really find one. Half of the town really is comprised of zombies, and Hannah and Lukas find themselves in serious danger. James counters the suspense and unique lesson about the dangers of popularity with a camp sensibility. When Lukas tells Hannah to “be serious,” she says, “You're the one using a stupid horror comic as our survival guide.” Lukas' fascination with his horror comics is yet another appeal for teens, who will be sucked into this fun read. Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring
Would you die to be beautiful and popular? That's not always a rhetorical question, as Hannah learns after moving to the quiet town of Maplecrest, where the cheerleaders and football players seem just a little too perfect. Distracting sentence fragments and a slow plot (she doesn't discover they're zombies until the very end) make the book more exasperating than scary. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2008 June #1
Always on the run from bill collectors, Hannah and her single, ex-cop dad relocate again, this time to small-town Maplecrest, Vt. The string of abandoned homes should be their first clue that residents are dying to leave. But as Hannah's father leaves for a two-week messenger assignment, the teenager enters high school, determined finally to fit in. She befriends another loner, Lukas, who reveals that the elite cheerleading squad, an entourage of gorgeous blonds with M-letter names, is actually a pack of bloodthirsty zombies. Although Hannah notices some strange behaviors and disappearances, how can she turn down ringleader Maggie's invitation to cheer for the "Death Squad" and score a football-player boyfriend and instant popularity in the process? While Daniel Waters's recent Generation Dead (2008) is more witty than creepy, this foray into the world of the living dead is suspenseful and downright terrifying, with an ending right out of a classic film. Move over vampires; make way for zombies, as teen readers feast on this latest tale of the undead. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 June #2

Despite its surface resemblance to satires like Daniel Waters's recent Generation Dead (reviewed Apr. 21), James's (Pure Sunshine ) zombie novel plays its horror theme for chills, not laughs. Over the past six years, Hannah has gotten used to abrupt moves with her single father, a former cop who now stays barely a step ahead of the debt collectors. But when the two take up residence in tiny Maplecrest, Vt., Hannah soon realizes something isn't right. A clan of too-perfect blonde cheerleaders runs the high school, where the football team is known as the Death Squad. An outcast warns Hannah of the cheerleaders' malevolence, and predicts, correctly, that they will court Hannah. Finding the promise of instant status too potent to resist forever, she eventually joins their team, only to learn the town's deadly secret. James does a wonderfully authentic job depicting the love-hate feelings Hannah has for her father, and Hannah's smart narrative voice largely compensates for the lack of action (the suspense doesn't kick in until the finale); the author is better at portraying the real-life aspects of high school and family dynamics than at sending shivers down the spine. Ages 12-up. (July)

[Page 51]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews 2008 September

Gr 7-10-- It's not easy moving every few months, but after six years, there are some constants upon which 15-year-old Hannah can rely. The small-town cops will always uncover her father's past, the creditors will find them eventually, and the popular girls are always easy to spot. She knows the type: blond, pretty, athletic--the cheerleaders. Maplecrest is no different. They sit at a central table in the lunchroom, so alike they resemble clones. There is something almost inhuman about them, but that doesn't mean Hannah is willing to believe her new lunch-table friend, Lukas, when he says they're zombies. Nor is she willing to pass up the chance to join the cheerleading squad when asked, even as classmates are disappearing and the number of empty houses in town increases. James has created a believable novel about starting over, making friends, bullying, and ostracism, while adding a dash of the supernatural. However, with every part of the book screaming that the cheerleaders are, in fact, zombies, Hannah's continued refusal to see the truth becomes unbelievable. One almost begins to hope that they aren't zombies, and that Lukas is just a crazy kid making Hannah's adjustment that much harder. Though not really suspenseful, readers will still give a rousing cheer to James's take on teenage issues.--Cara von Wrangel Kinsey, New York Public Library

[Page 186]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

VOYA Reviews 2008 October
For those readers who have always known that there was something sinister about blonde cheerleaders, this amusing novel gives the reason why-they are zombies. New girl Hannah has recently moved to Maplecrest with her father, just in time to start another year of high school. Hannah is a pro at adapting to new schools, but an unfortunate encounter with one of the cheerleaders on the first day of school has seemingly cast her into the outer darkness of high school society. Her new friend and fellow outcast, Lukas, despises the cheerleaders, intimating darkly that they are not what they seem. Hannah thinks he is just paranoid, especially after a cheerleaders takes Hannah under her wing and begins to groom Hannah to join the squad. Hannah is thrilled that she has achieved ultimate popularity status. She dismisses her unease with the Stepford-like physical appearance of the cheerleaders and their endless demands for her to conform to their rigid standards. Lukas warns her that they are zombies, but she refuses to believe him, until the cheerleaders take her into the gym equipment room for a bleach job and she discovers that Lukas was telling the truth This enjoyable, light thriller spoofs both cheerleader and zombie stereotypes. On a more serious level, the book is also a cautionary tale that addresses the issue of social conformity and how easy it is to lose one's self in the relentless drive to achieve popularity. Given the huge popularity of "undead" teen novels in the wake of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga, this book will undoubtedly have a popular following.-Jan Chapman 4Q 5P J S Copyright 2008 Voya Reviews.