- It has one of the most beautiful covers; and
- It relates to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, one of the books that I have owned (along with its companion, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There) for the longest time. (As I have conveyed in this blog previously, I have a love/hate relationship with Alice; it is a wonderful story that has characters that (cough) drive me mad.)
Once you part company with the cover, there is absolutely no resemblance to the original story (OK, there’s a white, fluffy cloud resembling a rabbit). It is a zombie-slaying story from first to last, so know that first and foremost. It still has a lovely cover, though.
Alice, or Ali, as she now prefers to be called, has lost her father, mother and little sister in the most horrific of ways. Now Ali understands why her father never let them outside of the house for any reason after dark. Sure, they all tolerated Dad’s nuttiness/insanity, but just this once, Ali wanted her sister, Emma, to be able to participate in her ballet recital. Plus it was Ali’s birthday (not that anyone remembered), so she used that as leverage to get her father to agree. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end well. It seems, after all, that Dad was right. Originally, he was the only one in the family who could see the zombies, but now, Ali can see them, too.
After getting over my disappointment that there was no actual Alice story here, I discovered that there wasn’t enough for me to get excited about, period. My biggest problem? The catalyst. Here’s a man who is, in his family’s view, a hefty helping of crazy with a large dose of alcoholism. He NEVER lets them out of the house after dark, which, to Ali, is a large source of disappointment. She’s never been on a date, to a dance, or anything else that would keep her out at night her entire life. She’s 16. So why, oh why, did Dad acquiesce this time? And with so little argument?
Why does Mom believe Dad anyway? Apparently he was the first boy she ever dated, and they locked eyes and that was all she wrote. She puts up with Dad’s idiosyncratic nonsense with good humor, rubbing his back on bad days. And then there’s Emma, who, at eight years old, spoke like an adult, saying things that I just could not imagine a kid this age saying, such as: “this is my gift to you” and “you’re lost in your head again when I’ve never needed you more.” This was pretty typical talk for the tyke.
Moving in with her grandparents in a nearby town, Ali attends a new high school. So, of course, there is a scowling, menacing and bruised violet-eyed hunkity hunk who catches Ali’s eye on the first day of school. Catches and doesn’t let go, and as a result, Ali has some major daydream about him, right in the middle of the hall. Awkward. Her new friend, Kat, a funny, sarcastic ball of fire who dated (and dumped) one of Cole’s friends tells Ali all about her ex, Frosty, and the head of the “gang,” Cole. Cole of the Elizabeth Taylor eyes and down-turned, sexy mouth. Seems they scare everyone in school, engage in fisticuffs and generally don’t mix well with others.
After much hemming and hawing, this story picks up speed. I did start to think that I liked it, but I had to stop trying to make sense of it all. But, alas, at some point, I couldn’t relax enough to continue to do so. There was too much eyes drilling and legs hefting and clunky language trying to be a substitute for the intensity of it all. And while verbification can be useful in painting a picture for the reader, it can be overused. It just seemed like there the preference was to make up a word when a perfectly good word that already existed was ignored. (“I lugged to my feet;” “meshing his lips against mine”). And all of the explanations as to why there are zombies, what they can do, why some people can see them, how to fight them, etc. etc. was overwhelming and confusing. It made me. And then there’s another story line about some competition against Cole’s group that made my head spin. And a mean girl.
So if you’re looking for Alice, you’re better off trying to get a cup of tea from a hatter.
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter was published September 25, 2012 by Harlequin Teen. I bought this.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction Fantasy Paranormal Horror Thriller Romance Series
Ages: 13 and up
COYER Scavenger Hunt #3: Read a book with a cover that is at least 51% black or grey. (1 point)
COYER Red, White and Blue Read-A-Thon