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Product Details

  • Series: Reaper Diaries (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin Teen; Original edition (November 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373210469
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373210466
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #732,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michele Vail writes young adult paranormal fiction about zombies and reapers. She likes reading, dogs, cats, board games, ghost-hunting shows, and Halloween. She believes in magic, in the impossible, and in the restorative powers of chocolate. Michele lives happily-ever-after with her Viking and their family. Please visit her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MicheleVailBooks or her website at MicheleVail.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"This is the third time," groused Mrs. Woodbine. She slapped the arm onto the counter with a meaty thunk. I looked at the flabby, gray-skinned limb with its sausagelike fingers then at the jowl-faced woman who squinted at me through her bifocals. She wore a purple jogging suit that was too tight and amplified her chunky form. The top jacket was unzipped, revealing old-lady cleavage, which made me want to yark. Seriously. Wrinkled boobs were not pretty.

"Hello, Mrs. Woodbine," I said. Must. Resist. Sarcasm. "I see Mr. Woodbine has lost another limb."

Another Friday afternoon in hell, thank you. As usual, I'd come to work straight from school, which was only a couple blocks away on the other side of Warm Springs Road. Our house wasn't too far away, either. We lived in a typical Las Vegas house (think beige, Spanish tiles and zero-scaping) on Grimsby Avenue (ironic, right?), which was on the other side of Green Valley High School. I worked for my dad, every afternoon and on the weekends. I got paid, which was good. But I also had less of a social life than most girls my age. Try no social life.

Except for tomorrow. Finally, it was my sixteenth birthday, and I was having a big party. At least I hoped so. Lots of people had RSVP'd, including Rick Widdenstock. Even though he was just a sophomore like me, he was the quarterback for the Green Valley High School Gators. Did I mention Rick's hotness? We'd been flirting for the past couple of weeks; yesterday and today, he sat with me at lunch. Gena and Becks, my two best friends, had found other things to do, even though we always ate lunch together. That was why they were my best friends—because they knew when to bail. And they didn't even mind about all the zombie stuff. Most normal people were weirded out by my necro powers. Necros were all over the place, you know? But there were only a handful who attended my high school, and most of them were too dark and angsty for my taste. Plus, I didn't look good with kohl on my eyes and my nose was too cute to be pierced.

Mrs. Woodbine jerked on the leash she held in her free hand, which was attached to the neck of her husband, Mortimer. He shuffled to the counter, his empty gaze on the floor. Like most zombies, he looked gray and hollow-eyed. His clothes hung loosely on his thin frame. His gray hair stood up in stiff tufts and his skin was flaking. His lips were crusty; his teeth blackened. Had Mrs. Woodbine even bothered to skim the state-issued guide The Care and Feeding of Your Zombie? No wonder parts of her husband kept falling off. Sheesh!

We were required to give every new zombie owner the guide at the end of the four-hour course. Hmph. The Moron's Guide to Not Getting Eaten by Your Zombie might've suited Mrs. Woodbine better. Zombies required care. You had to comb their hair, cut their nails, oil their skin, brush their teeth and give them weather-appropriate clothing and shoes. Even though I was a ka heka (zombie maker) in training and I knew zombies weren't really people (sorry, but they're not), I still felt a lurch of pity for the thing that used to be Mortimer Woodbine.

"It's the same limb," Mrs. Woodbine said. "Frankly, I'm tired of having to bring him down here. Big Al's low, low prices certainly don't translate to quality work."

I bristled. My dad, Alfonso Bartolucci, was what you'd call larger-than-life (though that's not the description some people would use). He owned and operated Big Al's Zomporium, and despite the cheesy name and Mrs. Woodbine's opinion, we were a decent operation. My mom had been a ka heka, too. She'd walked out on us when I was ten. After she left, Dad hired a guy named Demetrius to be the Zomporium's ka heka, and he was teaching me and Ally. Demetrius was a cool dude. He was as black as coffee grounds, old as dirt and he still had a smear of a Jamaican accent. I liked him a lot.

But the zombie-abusing Mrs. Woodbine? Not so much.

"Hel-lo/" Mrs. Woodbine screeched, snapping her fingers in my face. I blinked, my thoughts skittering, and resisted the urge to slap her hand away.

"Teenagers today! I swear to God! You're all worthless." She huffed at me, turkey neck quivering, as she poked the arm. "Did you hear me? This is the third time his damn arm has fallen off."

It ka-illlled me, but I smiled. "Let me see what we can do for you."

"I want a discount," she said, her flat brown gaze flashing with triumph. "A big one. You're lucky I don't call the Zombie Safety and Inspection Service on this place!"

You're lucky I don't whap your big stupid mouth with Mortimer's arm. I slid the pathetic limb off the counter then picked up the phone. I buzzed the cell of my sister, Ally, who was supposed to be organizing the storage room but was probably making picket signs for Citizens for Zombie Rights. Ally and her friends had created the group last year after watching a Dateline expose on zombie abuse.

She's such a dork.

"What?" she spat.

Ally didn't care much about social graces, diplomacy or keeping her mouth shut. That was why I was manning the customer care center and she was stuck rearranging all the crap in storage. I didn't necessarily like everyone who walked through the doors, but I knew how to be polite. Most of the time.

Ally sighed in that dramatic, you're-making-my-brain-melt-with-your-stupidity way that always drove me nuts. I wanted to ride her about making idiotic protest signs instead of stacking toilet paper, but I didn't dare misbehave in front of a customer. Not even cranky, gnarly ol' Mrs. Woodbine. Nonna Gina had ears like a reaper and a rolling pin we called "lightning fury." Our grandmother was unafraid of whacking our butts with it. That was how she'd raised our dad, and he was still afraid of the rolling pin.

"Mrs. Woodbine has an issue with her zombie," I finally said. "Would you mind keeping her company while I take care of Mortimer?"

"That hag is back again?"

I smiled at the hag. "Yes. So, can you come up?"

"Gawd!" She snapped her phone shut.

A moment later she stomped out of the door situated behind the customer care desk. Her scowl zeroed in on Mrs. Woodbine. Ally was fourteen, tall and gangly, still flat-chested and had braces, too. She had the best hair—long, silky chestnut waves with auburn highlights, but did she care? No. She also liked to wear baggy clothes in blah colors. Even though I would never admit it to her (not ever), one day she'd be gorgeous. Y'know, after she lost the metalwork, got some boobs and developed some fashion sense.

"Mrs. Woodbine," she said. Her voice held a hint of accusation. "Would you like some tea while Molly takes Mortimer for repairs?"

The woman was caught between reacting to my sister's less-than-friendly tone and the seemingly polite question. Finally, Mrs. Woodbine nodded. "I would love some tea. Did your grandmother make any cookies?"

Sometimes I wondered if she broke Mortimer's arm on purpose so she could chow down on the almond biscotti Nonna baked fresh every day for customers. Luckily, my grandmother saved the buccellati-fig cookies for us.

Ally gestured toward the seating area and Mrs. Woodbine hurried toward the side table that held dispensers filled with three kinds of herbal tea and two large platters of Nonna's treats.

I rounded the desk, holding poor Mortimer's arm, and then grasped the hand of the arm still attached. It was like gripping crusted leather. I felt another surge of anger at Mrs. Woodbine's poor zombie management skills. "C'mon, z-man. Let's get you fixed up."

We entered the same door my sister had flown out of, and she sent me a glare, and hissed, "Hurry!"

"Do you want to take the zombie to Demetrius?" I asked.

Ally eyed Mortimer, and I got the distinct feeling she was imagining some kind ofjailbreak. Knowing her and her nutso friends, they probably had a plan for that kind of thing. "Never mind," I said. "I don't want to get grounded because you're planning zombie intervention."

"Whatevs. Just go already." She looked down her nose at me, and then she perched on the stool behind the customer care desk. Her glare tracked Mrs. Woodbine as the woman filled a plate with cookies.

I kinda hoped Ally would do something mean to Mrs. Woodbine, but even Ally had her limits on rudeness. Probably.

I took Mortimer down the hallway, which had one door on the left (employee bathroom), two on the right (supplies, storage) and one at the end (sahnetjar).

Sahnetjar was the ancient Egyptian name for the place where they made mummies and zombies. Necromancers still used the term today, probably because it sounded all fancy and mysterious.

As I led the zombie to the sahnetjar, I felt another pang of pity. I don't know why Mortimer hadn't put an Advance Zombification Directive into place. Lots of people had an AZD—and sometimes, their relatives would still try to zom-bify them. Dad read anyone the riot act who tried to circumvent an AZD—and sadly, a lot of people tried.

A memory pattered me like cold rain. I was in the lobby watching Ally color because I'd been directed to "Look after your sister." Seemed like I was always watching her, and I was always caught between feeling protective and resentful. Pretty much the way I felt about my sister now.

Dad and Mom were arguing about a customer.

"You shouldn't have done that, Cyn. You know how I feel about AZDs."

"But he offered a fortune/ And his wife's dead. Zombies don't have feelings, Al. She doesn&#...

More About the Author

UNCHOSEN (THE REAPER DIARIES, #2) - AVAILABLE 10/29/13


Michele Vail writes young adult paranormal fiction about zombies and reapers.

She likes reading, dogs, cats, board games, ghost-hunting shows, and Halloween. She believes in magic, in the impossible, and in the restorative powers of chocolate.

Michele lives happily-ever-after with her Viking and their family.

Customer Reviews

Who knew reading about Egyptian mythology, reapers, necromancy, ghosts, and zombies could be so much fun!
Books4Tomorrow
I got the feeling that Michele Vail tried very hard (perhaps a little bit too hard) to make her look and sound like a really cool and witty teenager.
Evie Seo (Bookish blog)
The world building was not done well, the characters felt too young and immature, and there were far to many plot holes for me to enjoy the story.
Emily @ Falling for YA

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Evie Seo (Bookish blog) on November 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
Fast paced, entertaining and frequently silly, Undeadly is a decent paranormal romance that will appeal to fans of the House Of Night series. While not breathtakingly original, it's a readable story that offers something you don't see in the YA genre too often - Egyptian lore and necromancy. And for that reason alone it's a story worth checking out!

Molly Bartolucci is a necromancer. She was born with the ability to raise and control zombies. She's not particularly fond of her talent. She'd much rather live a normal teenage life, hanging out with her friends and dating Rick. Unfortunately for Molly, that scenario is out of question. And not only because her soon-to-be-boyfriend dies on the night of her sixteenth birthday, but also - or perhaps most of all - because Anubis chose her to be one of his reapers. And not just any reaper, either, but the only living reaper with the power to defeat evil.

Let me start off by saying that as excited as I was to read a story featuring Egyptian gods, necromancers, zombies and reapers, I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped I would. And that's mainly due to the fact that I didn't connect with the main character. At all. Molly was definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed and at times I wondered if perhaps the author intentionally made her so. She was immature, irresponsible, at times disconnected from reality and - as much as I hate to say that - plain stupid. Not only did her actions made me raise my eyebrows in surprise and shake my head disapprovingly, but her unlikeable personality really got on my nerves. And - no matter how exciting and entertaining the plot line - it's very hard to like a book when you can't stand its lead heroine. Molly was just a little bit too over the top for my taste.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Emily @ Falling for YA on November 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was so excited when I began this novel. I love the entire idea of Reapers and the addition of ancient Egypt seemed like a really original take on the idea. Not to mention the cover of Undeadly is gorgeous so I really expected to love this book. Unfortunately, it ended up falling flat right from the start.

I knew this book was heading in the wrong direction when instead of careful world building Vail begins the book with vast information dumps. I wanted desperately to skip these sections but instead plowed on expecting a fuller and more in depth explanation later on. I never got this grand explanation and instead I was greeted by Molly, the main character, who was immature, flippant, and generally really bugged me.

Molly has a dream on her 16th birthday about Anubis the ancient Egyptian god of the underworld. In this dream he asks if she will accept extra gifts from him. Molly accepts and then spends the rest of the book complaining about these gifts and not really learning anything about her new powers and what her purpose is. I think that was my main problem with this book. There was no clear goal or plot direction. There are a ton of different possible story lines and in the end only one of them is resolved leaving all the others never explained or even explored. I was disappointed with the direction the book took.

Molly as a character got on my nerves. I understand that she is 16 and is entitled to being a little immature, but she takes immature to a whole new level. Molly can not do anything herself, believes everyone at face value, and just kind of dances through life with no deeper thoughts then the mall and boys (even when people tell her she needs to think of something else).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michelle @ In Libris Veritas on November 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
In compliance with FTC guidelines, I received this book through Netgalley.com

This book immediately caught my attention when I saw it. It has two things I really adore, Egyptian mythology and zombies. When it comes to Egyptian mythology I've been really starved for it since Greek and Roman have exploded onto the scene. So I snapped this one up with the hopes of having a double whammy of fun...but instead I was kind of left a bit underwhelmed.

The plot is fresh and I haven't personally read anything in the YA catergory with a Necromancer main character. Add that with the great use of the Egyptian myths involving the gods and the soul, and you have a great basis for something that could really stand out. Vail added some great elements with an interesting Necro school, Anubis (my favorite myth god), and the fact that zombies have a rather interesting place in society; but I think what brought it all down was the main character, Molly.

Molly is a bit frustrating. At first it was the way she talked, because she does use some dated language that I haven't heard since the nineties, but I got over it because it's just one of those things that I try to give some on. Then it became increasingly apparent that Molly was not going to win any awards for intelligence...in fact I doubt she would be invited to the award ceremony at all. She's not the typical teenager that just requires a little time to see things clearly, she's just plain frustratingly stupid. There is a moment where she can't figure out who the bad guy is that I gave up all hope on her making a come back. She also comes off as increasingly shallow as the book progresses. There is a romance but it's kind of pointless and a bit sappy, but the outcome while unconventional was still a bit predictable storyline-wise.
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