*I received a free ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
I’ve continued to read the post-apocalyptic zombie genre, despite never being a big zombie apocalypse fan, because I’ve been determined to find some books that are really deeply character-focused rather than zombie-killing-focused, and this was definitely one of those books.
The absolute best thing about this book was how so very real the characters were. I honestly felt like I was reading about real people. Main characters, side characters—they all came across as three-dimensional. And even though I hadn’t been in the specific situations any of them were in, I still found myself relating because the emotions and relationships and actions and reactions were so realistic and subtle rather than forced or dramatically exaggerated. The characters weren’t all likeable, and they didn’t always do good things, but that was part of what made them so real.
There was also some focus on important topics, like drug use and LGBT struggles. There was a lot of relationship stuff, but it’s not a book I’d classify as romance, and even though these heavy topics were addressed, there were still light, funny, and sweet moments too.
The way this book was written was kind of unusual though. First of all, there were multiple POV characters, which is something I like, so no complaints there. But the whole book also jumped back and forth between the present, showing the characters surviving the zombie apocalypse, and the past, showing their lives leading up to the end of the world as they knew it, for both Asher and Rico’s POVs (Wendy’s was only in the present). And while I thoroughly enjoyed both the past and the present scenes, I’m not sure how I feel about having two storylines going on at the same time for each main character (though Asher and Rico did eventually end up in the same present storyline).
I also felt like the plot in the “after” meandered a bit, but that seems to be common with zombie books since the goal usually seems to just be “don’t die.” The plot still kept my attention, and it did at least have a pretty action-packed climax.
The only thing that actually disappointed me was the ending. I don’t mind cliffhangers that lead you into the next book after the events of the current book have all been wrapped up, but this one left questions hanging from this book’s events that I feel should have been addressed. And even though there was a climax and a wrap-up to the present in Wendy and Rico’s POVs, I felt that the past storylines and Asher’s POV in the present ended in abrupt spots. I decided not to knock off any stars since I still enjoyed the book, but you might want to wait for the next one to be out first if waiting for answers is going to bother you.
Overall though, despite the issues I had with this book, the things I liked (i.e. the realistic characters and situations) made up for everything else and made the book really gripping and enjoyable for me. This was a book I didn’t want to put down, and I look forward to the next!
Anyone looking for a very realistic, character-focused, YA zombie book that also addresses the topics of LGBT struggles and drug abuse.