Cover Lust: So I’ll be the first to admit that, like a lot of girls, I’m attracted to anything shiny or pretty. The cover of this book is shiny and pretty and is exactly why I chose to read it. The playing card theme is something you don’t see often, and Ali’s frilly blue dress is edgy and fun. Plus, there’s a cute little rabbit on the back. Who can resist a fluffy little white rabbit? The drawback was that I’m definitely not a fan of zombies, I’m more of a fairy princess kind of girl. But I do love Alice in Wonderland, both the book and movies. Even though the reviews on Goodreads made it clear that it was not a retelling, I had to check it out. I’m glad I did, because I was hooked after the first chapter.
Back Blurb: Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.
Her father was right. The monsters are real.
To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.
The Book: This book is great! The plot is a little slow to develop, but it’s unique. It’s definitely not an Alice in Wonderland retelling, per se, but more of a tie-in with the whole rabbit hole and insanity themes. Most zombies stories, or at least the ones written for movies, have the same plot: a bunch of dumb, down-on-their-luck kids survive the apocalypse, only to battle zombies for what’s left of the earth. The main focus is the gory slaughter and bad-assery. But in Alice in Zombieland, Gena creates a complex, spiritual world around her zombies that is irresistibly fierce and fun. A little bloody at times, but definitely better than watching The Walking Dead.
SIDE NOTE: Absolutely no offense meant to TWD fans. I know you’re hard-core into it, but I can’t handle the blood. Sorry *sad face*. Anyway, on to the book…
Sixteen-year-old Ali (Alice) has spent her whole life under the control of her crazy father, who was convinced that monsters were constantly lurking in the dark and out to kill them. Ali, her mother, and little sister Emma all thought he was crazy. It’s not until the monsters murder her family that Ali finally believes. They DO exist, and now they’re after her.
Ali is uprooted and moves in with her maternal grandparents, who always believed that her father was deranged. As she tries to work through her grief, she connects with a group of zombie-hunting kids at her new high school. Only people with certain “gifts” can see the zombies, and like her father, Ali is one of them. Her gift also allows her to have romantic “visions” with future lovers, which attracts her to bad-boy zombie slayer Cole Holland. Cole has these visions too, and the two are inexplicably drawn to each other. As much as Ali and Cole try to resist one another, each for their own reasons, the two ultimately team together in a violent and obsessive romance, fighting good against evil.
With the guidance of her dead sister’s ghost, Ali slowly becomes her father, hunting and tracking the zombies’ every step. The zombies are not simply dead bodies able to rise from the grave, they are the spirits of those afflicted and unable to pass on. Ali and the slayers must fight the zombies in spirit form, separate from their own bodies. As she uncovers the mysteries of the zombies and how to defeat them, Ali struggles to maintain a front of normalcy with her grandparents and her best friend Kat, and also gain acceptance from the other zombie slayers (including some of Cole’s jealous ex-girlfriends). She soon learns whom she can and cannot trust. There is another group trying to defeat her slayers and keep the zombies alive, and one person might be playing on both sides. After another devastating loss, Ali comes face to face with someone she never thought to be an enemy, and isn’t sure she has the courage to battle.
Oh, how I love you, Gena Showalter! You managed to keep me in suspense and make me laugh. So, for all you zombie haters…give this a try! I never understood people’s obsession with zombies, much like I didn’t understand the rage over Star Wars, but I totally get it now. It’s just fun. Lots of drama, gore, other scary stuff, and of course, teenage romance. Who doesn’t love a bad boy with tattoos and a hard body? I definitely do. This book isn’t a life-changing epic, nor does it have any deep meaning or life lessons to teach, but it sure is entertaining. The diverse group of characters in this book have plenty of attitude and wickedness, making for a lot of fun in the midst of some intense zombie-slaying.
Being my first Gena Showalter book, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I knew it would be pretty good. A lot of fans make her out to be somewhat of a queen of YA, and I have to agree. I was pleasantly surprised by how much it reminds me of an R.L. Stine book, but sassier. This book is just pure fun. There are zombie-ghosts, pretty girls, bad boys, high school drama…everything that would make a great Halloween movie. The best part? Ali’s grandparents who try to relate by using teenage slang. Example:
“Reeve.” Pops pursed his lips. “That sounds like a made-up name to me. What exactly will be crackalackin at this party? Will her parents be there?”
Again with the horrible slang, the adorable man. “We’ll swim, talk, probably play video games and Ping-Pong,” I said, sidestepping the parents portion of his interrogation. I hadn’t heard one way or the other, but I suspected a big fat no.
Pops gave me the evil eye. “You’re not going to get chewed, are you?”
Later in the conversation…
“We ask because we care.” Nana brushed her hands together, and crumbs went flying in every direction. “Now, then. Do you need a few dead presidents?”
Honestly, how can you not love grandparents like that? The next book in The White Rabbit Chronicles is Through the Zombie Glass (#2), and Gena has so thoughtfully provided us with a short scene from Cole’s perspective on her website, entitled Cole…Meet Ali. Until the next book, happy zombie hunting!
Did you love or hate Alice in Zombieland? Sound off in the comments below!