Zurvival Saturday (86) Review: Girl Z by Christine Verstraete
Genre: Horror, Zombies, Young Adult
Publisher: Intrigue Publishing
Publication Date: August 1, 2013
Life can suck when you're sixteen. It can suck even worse when you're not- quite- dead.
Sixteen-year-old Rebecca Herrera Hayes faces every teenager's biggest nightmares: bad skin, bad hair, and worse . . . turning into one of the living dead.
Becca's life changes forever when her cousin Spence comes back to their small Wisconsin town carrying a deadly secret—he's becoming a zombie, a fate he shares with her through an accidental scratch.
The Z infection, however, has mutated, affecting younger persons like her, or those treated early enough, differently. Now she must cope with weird physical changes and habits no girl wants to be noticed for. Then she meets Gabe, a good-looking part-Z like her, and fears falling for him. After all, how can he, who shows hardly any Z symptoms, be interested in someone like her?
But time is running out... Becca needs his help as she and her cousin Carm search for their missing mothers and fight off hungry Zs.
Most of all, she needs to find something, anything, to stop this deadly transformation before it is forever too late...
Girl Z may sound like your average Zombie novel but it is anything but typical. Sure it has Zombies, bloodshed, and people fighting for their lives but what makes this novel so unique is it being told from the Zombies perspective.
What I liked about Girl Z was the originality of the story. Sure I've read Zombie books from an infected persons perspective but usually the character is trapped inside themselves having to deal with their Zombiefied state while never being able to express to others that they are still human inside. Girl Z on the other hand literally makes the main character a Zombie rotting body and all. Becca has to deal with her cravings, her body slowly decomposing around her and the stigma from her peers of being one of the living dead. It was quite refreshing to read.
Another thing I liked was that although the story was Young Adult and humor filled the suspense and horror that any proper Zombie novel should have wasn't lost entirely. Yes, the story could've been gorier (for my tastes) or had a bit more Zombie battles along the way but then I'm not sure the book would of felt the same. Girl Z is a very us (meaning Becca, Carm & Tia) vs. them (every other character whether they be alive or dead) type of story and while it works (mostly) part of me still yearned to learn more from the them side of things. To expand further what I mean is that this is really Becca's story the Zombie Apocalypse going on around her is sort of an afterthought.
Now although I really enjoyed Girl Z the book wasn't without its faults. One thing that really bugged me was the copious amounts of Chicken Becca consumes. Why chicken? Raw steak is fantastic and bloody. Wouldn't that suit a Zombies diet better? Only thing I can think of is Tia worked at a Chicken processing plant (I don't believe her job is ever mentioned) and so it was easy to come by. Still, I know if I was a Zombie I'd want something bloody not cold ass slimy chicken day after day.
I would've also liked to see more urgency in the reactions from the characters. The Zombie threat is supposedly major yet we never really see any undead people besides Becca for a significant portion of the book. The only real indication in the beginning that a Zombie apocalypse is going on is the convenient news updates and even then nobody in Becca's household seems to take them seriously. As a big Zombie reader and even just from a survival standpoint, it's really quite frustrating to see how nonchalant everyone is about things. I'm like where's the stockpiling of food and supplies? Why is nobody boarding up windows and securing the perimeter?! They do however leave some bug out bags by the door so I guess that was something at least.
My biggest issues with the story however stemmed from Becca herself. While she isn't a badly written character the fact anyone would think she could lead a normal life as a Zombie is beyond me. In all honesty, Becca shouldn't have been allowed out of the hospital in the first place since were told as fact that they really have no clue how the virus works. Yet after regulating her "diet" here's Becca going home and then going about her life like nothing has happened. Becca spends so much time trying to regain what she lost ie a normal existence from buying special Zombie makeup, to obsessing over clothing to cover her rotting body that it did kind of make me feel less sympathy towards her undead situation. It certainly didn't help that both Tia and Carm acted like she was the same girl that she was pre-zombification. Tia being the Adult shouldn't have ever let her entertain the idea of leaving her room let alone the house while so very little was known about her condition. It's like nobody cared that she could possibly infect untold amounts of others as long as Becca was happy.
While I might not have loved every part of Girl Z it was still a book worth reading and purchasing. As far as the Zombie aspect goes this one definitely stands out. It's rare to read books from the Zombies perspective and even rarer for it to be a teenage girl with most of her original personality intact. So I guess this begs the question, Would I recommend Girl Z? Yes, although I do think this books is more geared to female readers as boys might find Becca a bit of a nuisance. With that being said, I'll be rating Girl Z by Christine Verstraete ★★★.
About the Author
C.A. (Christine) Verstraete is an award-winning journalist and author from Wisconsin who loves a good scare and has been known to frequent a haunted house or two.
Out of curiosity, Have you read heard of Girl Z?
If yes, Have you be read it?
Would you let a Zombie like Becca live in your house?
Leave me your answers in the comments below or feel free to tweet me them @Hermyoni
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