ZIA, The Teenage Zombie & The Undead Diaries – Angela Scott
Zia would give anything to be a typical teenager . . . again. Heck, she’d settle for being a vampire or smelly werewolf, but a member of the walking dead? The lowliest of all the monsters? No way! Nothing is worse than being a skin-sloughing, limb-losing, maggot-housing, brain-craving undead girl. Nothing.
It wouldn’t be so bad if humans didn’t insist on “Living Impaireds” wearing bands to keep their insatiable appetites in check. And if LIs want to coexist with humans, then rules must be followed, no matter how ludicrous they might seem. Why do undead teenagers have to go to high school anyway?
Zia does her best to blend in and go unnoticed, but when a new group of LIs are bused in from another school and she finds herself part of a growing horde, all bets are off.
Besides, rules are meant to be broken—especially when an unbeating heart is pulled in two different directions.
#ReadIndie Review: This book was a strange surprise. I worried I’d hate it, but it turned out to be fun.
The novel delivers what the title promises. Zia is a teenage zombie who keeps a diary of her high school experiences. She wants to be a normal teen girl, but when she goes to prom with her horde of “Living Impaired” friends, it nearly causes a zombie apocalypse.
I was hesitant to start this book because I didn’t think I’d be able to take a zombie narrator seriously. I love idiotic kids’ books, but if a story is labeled “young adult,” I want it to have more depth. I worried that ZIA would be funny and nothing else.
It turns out I shouldn’t have worried. ZIA is funny, but it’s also gross, and sweet, and has a lot to say about being an outsider in our society. Despite her maggot infestations and rotting limbs, Zia is relatable. She wants to be loved and accepted, but humans don’t trust her. The story shows her struggle to live in a society where she’s looked at with suspicion. Her classmates are constantly armed. One wrong move could get Zia decapitated. The book made me think about how much a person should change in order to fit in. Zia wants to be human, but no matter how hard she tries, she can’t be human. Part of her also wants to be a brain-munching zombie, but then she’d be killed. She can’t win. She’s always trying to be something she’s not. Who knew a zombie novel would give the reader so much to think about?
For me, the book has too many characters. The minor characters aren’t developed very well, so it was hard for me to remember who is a human, zombie, vampire, werewolf, etc. The minor characters were mostly just names to me. This is somewhat frustrating because Zia has a male best friend and three different boys who are interested in her. (Would that be a love square?) Early in the book, I had a hard time remembering who (and what) was who.
I also wish I had understood the stakes of certain events better. Sometimes Zia’s reactions seem out of proportion to the events that happen. She freaks out over playing truth or dare, and she freaks out over a movie that shows zombies behaving badly. There’s a mysterious council that can kill Living Impaireds who misbehave, but we don’t learn much about them. I could have related to Zia’s reactions if I had understood the council, their reputation, and their power better.
ZIA, The Teenage Zombie & The Undead Diaries is a quick read that will leave you smiling at the end. I just wish there had been more worldbuilding.
I was given a free copy of this book for the #ReadIndie Challenge. This did not influence my review.