Title: Girl Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie
Author: C. A. Verstraete
Publisher: Intrigue Publishing (Aug. 1, 013)
“A virus. A freaking virus.”
Welcome to the day to day life of sixteen year old Rebecca Hererra Hayes. Infected by a scratch from her cousin Spence, Becca is slowly turning into a zombie. However, the virus has mutated. When it infects a young, healthy person like Becca, it doesn't kill them. Instead, it just makes them smell funny, turn greyish-blue, and deal with things like an eyeball that rolls back on its own. All of the things a sixteen year old girl wants to be noticed for, right?
Wrong. Instead, Becca and her cousin Carm are frantically trying to locate their mothers and trying to find a cure for Becca’s condition. However, there are about a million starving zombies between here and there, and any one of them would love to take a nice little bite. Also, the two young girls have a hard time not being noticed over the course of that journey. The problem there is, not everyone is convinced that the half-zombies are any better than the rest of the mindless horde of brain-eaters. It’s not Becca’s fault. She just wants to find her mom and get better. Can’t a girl catch a break?
We were lucky enough to meet the author of Girl Z through social media, and she was wonderful to send us a copy. When the book arrived, I was very impressed by the quality of the binding and very intrigued by the cover art.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book, being nearly thirty and decidedly not-a-girl. What I found was that the title is a very good exercise in foreshadowing what you’re going to find inside. This book reads very much as the life of a teenage zombie. Becca and Carm speak to each other in a refreshing combination of Spanish and English which feels very much like the natural dialogue of a couple of teenage girls. Also, Verstraete has done a fantastic job of creating believable and endearing characters that act and react just how they should.
If you’re looking for a rocket ride, a story about a larger-than-life heroine, or action novel with thrill-a-minute pace, you’re not reading the title close enough. Girl Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie is a realistic fiction about the life of a sixteen year old girl who just happens to be about half-dead. However, that’s not to say that there is no plot to the novel, because the book is also a griping story of two frightened, young girls’ quest to find their lost mothers before it’s too late. Along the way, they encounter a cast of quirky and interesting characters and a whole mess of trouble.
Girl Z is an original entry in a saturated market. Every time I try to explain why, I always come back to the characters. Becca is a tough, independent teenage girl, but that’s just what she is. I believe her story, and I feel like she’s struggling her way through this mess just how I imagine I would if I were in her shoes. I really enjoyed the bilingual dialogue and the fact that neither Becca nor Carm were written as half-witted eye candy, nor were they male characters in female camouflage. Young Adult Winner in the 2013 Halloween Book Festival contest, and nominated for 2014 Lovely Award for the Best Paranormal – Sci Fi Horror, follow this link to read a synopsis and to preview the first chapter. Then, pick up your copy of Girl Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, Powells, or go and request a copy from your local book store.