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Zombie Blondes Hardcover – June 24, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Praise for Zombie Blondes:
“James has created a believable novel about starting over, making friends, bullying, and ostracism, while adding a dash of the supernatural… readers will still give a rousing cheer to James’s take on teenage issues.”--School Library Journal
“Narrated by Hannah Sanders, a new kid in a very strange town, 'Zombie Blondes' takes its time making the case that the bitchy teen queens are actually deadly. It's tremendously readable stuff, though: James does a good job showing the allure of popularity even while Hannah tries to stay above it.”--San Francisco Chronicle
Praise for Brian James:
“The language is raw yet poetic; Chan’s voice is appropriate and fresh. The author has done a fine job of presenting the issues surrounding teen homelessness.”—School Library Journal, on Tomorrow, Maybe
“A riveting story. . . . Powerful, compelling, and, in the end, almost sweet.”—Booklist, on Dirty Liar

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends; First Edition edition (June 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312372981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312372989
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,042,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up outside of Philadelphia, a town I portrayed all my thoughts and feelings about in Pure Sunshine and the short story Filthadelphia. When I was eighteen, I moved to New York City where I stayed for ten years. You can read about my impressions of that city in both Tomorrow, Maybe and Thief. For the suburban experiences of my life, check out Perfect World and Dirty Liar.

Needless to say, ten years in Manhattan is more than enough. It was time to pack up and head for the peace and quiet of the middle of nowhere. Alas, I ended up in the Woodstock area of upstate New York. An area aptly portrayed in my book Zombie Blondes.

My fascination with writing started in childhood with the notion of making up stories. I loved action figures as a kid. Actually, I still do and still collect them. But as a child, I would set up my entire bedroom like the stage for one epic story that I would play out for days. I didn't know it at the time, but it was the basis for what I do now. I was also a stuffed animal kid. I had dozens and they all had names and they all personalities. Basically, they were characters. Writing isn't very different than playing. It's just a grown up way of doing it.

Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jessie Potts VINE VOICE on July 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Zombie Blondes was a very quick and interesting read. The story was the age old new girl moves to town, popular cheerleaders don't like her... then a guy tells her they're zombies. Alright a little off the well beaten path but still a little predictable.

Hannah's father was a snitch on a fellow cop and has been on the run since she was very little. This means she gets to be the new girl every few months to a year. This time her father takes her to a small town that has identical, blonde, blue-eyed cheerleaders whose names all start with 'M'.

As if that wasn't bad enough the entire town seems to listen to the head cheerleader and people routinely vanish with out anyone becoming suspicious. Hannah begins to accept her fate as the unpopular new girl again when she gets asked to try out on the cheerleading team.

From there it gets bad to worse...

The plot is a little predictable and the character of Hannah is painfully ordinary, but the twists are what keep the book afloat. The ending also leaves the reader on a cliff hanger so you're left with the hope that there's a sequel. All around a solid 3 stars for interesting developments and the imaginative 'M' names.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Book Sp(l)ot Reviews on February 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Henceforth to be known as the Miley Cyrus Zombie Book (you'll get it if/after you've read it--the why's spoilery).

Hannah and her father pack up their car and move every few weeks or months, whenever their money woes catch up to them. This time it's to Maplecrest a small--yet ghost-like--town.

Hannah has the moving thing down, who is who in the schools: who the jocks are, the 'it' girls, etc but is this school like all the others? Her new friend Lukas sure doesn't think so. Sure, the cheerleaders-Maggie, Morgan, and a few other M named girls are making her life hell but there's no way the town's anything other than an annoying small town with a hateful group of girls. Right?

My thoughts on this book? I liked the whole zombie premise--it's why I wanted to read the book after all. But I did feel like there wasn't really anything new in the book. Hannah starting the new school went much the same way about any story of a girl being the new girl goes: she knows no one, things suck, one person immediately befriends her, a group of popular girls make her life hell. I don't really have a problem with that 'formula' (as unrealistic as it may be) as long as it's a set up to something else better...

I didn't think it was, though. This book felt like a lot of tell and not a lot of show. There seemed to be a whole lot of Hannah's recollections (even to begin current happenings) or just Hannah telling things...the actual events of the book seemed to be limited. There were also too many similes for my taste (I had to return the book to the library before I could get quotes and Amazon's search won't give me any, but searching 'like' I get 190 returns; not all will be similes but there will be some with 'as' so...).
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Format: Paperback
This was a tough one for me. This book had me feeling bipolar in some ways. It had these really great moments where I felt the author would redeem the female lead for me, and then he would go back down into this pit of unlikablity. Hannah wasn't a character I would call strong. I guess with the way the author wrote her, he pulled if off if that was his goal. She was weak-minded, superficial, selfish, and really mean. But I also felt that every female character in this book was laid out to be this way. I couldn't figure out if this was the way the author wanted this 'town' to be, but based on Hannah's introspect, the author seemed to make a generalization of how girls are in high school. It is laid out that every teenage girl wants to be popular, blonde, worshiped, and adored. This guy has obviously never met the comic book|fangirl|nerd chick (That was me.) I didn't care about popular, actually I related to Lukas if I am being honest. I live my life in origin stories, revenge stories, or redemption stories aka comic book story arcs. But I'm not sure if this author was venting a personal hatred towards high school girls in general, or if he was writing a cautionary tale. I honestly was thinking one way, then Hannah's action would have me going towards the other story arc option. Not to mention the author built TOO much tension. He waited until the last 2 1/2 chapters for anything amazing to happen. I was waiting and waiting for zombie action, how this was going to take place, and I was WAITING. When you spend too much time in a characters head who is unlikable you tend to not care about the awesome gruesome action when you get there.

I kept finding myself wanting more Lukas, then feeling bad when he came into the scenes because Hannah treated him like garbage.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I love zombie movies. The cheesier the better. Sometimes they're not even real zombies, like The Stepford Wives. Or Disturbing Behavior, which everyone should see at least twice. This story reminded me strongly of Disturbing Behavior, however I couldn't invest as emotionally with it. Each character had their flaws, but not in a character building, we love you for them way. In an irritating, why on earth are you doing that sort of way.

As soon as we met Hannah, I knew she was going to be cardboard cutout Bella. Yeah, that Bella. I dislike comparing characters to Twilight, however, girl moves to a small town and complains about everything she lays her eyes on is pure Bella. Although, with Bella, I still somehow liked her. With Hannah, I just didn't care.

This would have been a better story had it been more fleshed out. Hannah needed a better backstory, I don't remember her once missing whatever used to be home or mentioning friends (although with a personality like that I'm not sure she had any). There was a brief mention of past boyfriends once. It felt like she only started existing once she arrived in the town. Her Dad was supposed to be running from debt collectors but again. that was never really expanded upon, just brief mentions. Lukas was the only character who could have had some sort of likability but I couldn't understand why he would even try to help a girl who didn't want to be helped. I would have preferred to see the entire story from his Point Of View actually. Besides the blondes, Lukas, a few teachers and one girl who disappears quickly, I never got a sense of the school. There were no other characters mentioned, which is pretty weird for a school.

The ending, much like the book, was meh. Nothing I couldn't predict. I would happily watch this as a bad movie. Reading it however, I just had no feelings towards it. I guess I'd recommend it to someone who was really, really bored one afternoon.
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