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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rot & Ruin

I usually don't read horror novels, but Jonathan Maberry's Rot & Ruin is on the Texas Lone Star Reading List 2012 and the students at my school who have read it absolutely love it. This is labeled as YA (Young Adult) and portrays the violence that exists in an apocalyptic world where the dead rise again as human hungry zombies unless killed in a specific manner. Although that may be the initial draw to the story for readers, it is the emotional storyline, well-developed characters, and representation of our human need for meaningful relationships that makes me want to read the next book. Fourteen years have passed since First Night – the night that dying people rose from the dead as zombies…the night Benny Imura, just a toddler, was saved by his older brother, Tommy. Benny remembers seeing his mother scream and their zombie father attacking her while Tommy was running away with him. Benny has never understood how Tommy, now a respected Zombie Hunter, could have acted so cowardly that fateful night. Although he has very little respect for Tommy, he agrees to learn his brother’s business – ending zoms’ lives once and for all. Tommy teaches Benny to remember that the zoms were once someone’s loved ones and deserve to be at peace. Despite Tommy’s lessons, Benny idolizes Charlie Matthias and his sidekick, Marion Hammer – two tough guys who control the area – they are the real heroes to Benny. When Benny and his friends collect the most recent Zombie Cards (one of the limited forms of entertainment for the teens) to add to their collection, Benny stumbles upon the card of The Lost Girl. Things begin to spiral out of control, people who matter to the brothers are killed and Benny’s good friend, Nix, is kidnapped and will be forced to compete in Gameland – a place where young kids are forced to fight zombies for others’ entertainment. This book had me cringing, cheering, and at times crying – I loved the characters and their determination to survive. Book 2 is Dust and Decay. Recommended for 8th grade and up. Click on the video below to hear Jonathan Maberry tell you more about his amazing book.

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