The Zom-B Chronicles are a collection of 12 books which tell the story of the life and adventures of B Smith. B is a high school student who is utterly bored and frustrated by life, until a virus breaks out in the high school and all of the students are locked in!
And who are the puss-covered guys hanging around the school, or the guy with owl-like eyes and a poochie stomach? Or Mr. Dowling, the maniacal clown, whose appearance is quite dreadful and who drips spiders from his mouth. I am sorry to say that you have to read pass the first book to find out. This collection of stories takes place in and around (and sometimes under) London. Chapters are short and the story moves quickly, with wickedly drawn pictures to help you feel scared or disgusted along the way. There are loads of bad guys and crazies, but who exactly is bad. It’s kind of hard to tell. And how will this end? Not the way you think.
These books are a great read for anyone who likes zombie books, and the author has a lot to tell us about human nature.
The Hunted by Charlie Higson, penultimate in The Enemy Series #6
“The sickness struck people sixteen and older. First it twisted their minds; next it ravaged their bodies. Now the sickos roam the streets, crazed and hungry for young flesh…”
This is hugely graphic story with blood and gore thickly spread. From a writer who feels young people should experience fear to be prepared for later life, he is, to phrase it tamely, obliging. It’s okay, if you have a stomach for zombies and intense horror. This series has a huge following of fans. Charlie Higson can tell a story for sure, interweaving stories and creating complex believable characters, but if you dream about what you read, try Higson’s Young Bond series instead.
Guillermo del Toro, Daniel Kraus
Disney Book Group
Age Range: 12 – 18 years
Grade Level: 7 – 12
Hardcover: 320 pages
Pub Date: Jul 14 2015
I received this as an eGalley through Netgalley free in exchange for an honest review.
What a perfect, creepy, gory, wonderful book for middle-schoolers. Especially middle-school boys. I was a little leery when I saw Guillermo del Toro’ name as one of the authors since his movies are by no means kid friendly. However, He and Mr, Kraus did a fantastic job of blending in just enough horror to make Goosebumps proud, but infuse enough humor and fun to keep the story from becoming too much nightmare. I called our head librarian as soon as I finished this story and told her to put it on our purchase list. Our boys are going to love this novel and I think some of our adventure reading girls will as well. There is a wonderful female lead character who in some ways is stronger and better prepared than Jim.
The story is about Jim Sturges, son of a hard working, highly paranoid mechanic who was left scarred after his brother was taken during the great Milk Carton epidemic in a small sunny California town in the 60s. Now kids are disappearing again, and it is up to Jim and his friends to find within themselves the courage to stand up and fight. There are good guys, bad guys, slime, and a whole host of creepy crawlers that go bump in the night. I love great Middle school horror novels. I would not recommend this to a sensitive reader or one prone to nightmares, but it has a great good triumph over evil message and a kick butt ending.
Parental note: This is a horror novel. While appropriate for Middle schoolers please be aware that it is dark. It is even grisly in places, and it is not until the half way point that we get to see some light at the end of the tunnel. There is a bully, and he is physically abusive of the main characters. A lot of cats die, people are killed, and the final battle involves mowing down tiny bad trolls with a lawnmower.
Serafina and the Black Cloak
By Robert Beatty
Hardcover: 304 pages
Release date: July 14, 2015 | Age Range: 8 – 12 years | Grade Level: 3 – 7
What an absolute treat. I am so glad I was able to read this as an early eGalley from Disney and Netgalley. I sat down and read it all in under two hours. I rarely devour books like that, but This deservedly has the title of best new work. It is set on the Biltmore Estate during the height of the Vanderbilt’ power and influence. And yet, that scene largely takes a back seat to the goings on of the Biltmore’ quietest and least seen residents: Pa, the estate engineer, an his thirteen year old daughter Serafina. Serafina lives in the basement of the house and knows every nook and cranny. But when she witnesses a terrifying event in the sub basement, she is forced to come out of the shadows to stop a creeping evil from taking anyone else.
This is the best sort of children’ mystery novel. This is a wonderful spooky novel that blends enchanting characters, dark specters, and children running around at night long after the adults have gone to sleep. The Biltmore is a grand backdrop for a classic whodunnit that is sure to please any child with a bent for mystery and mayhem. This will be on our purchase list for the school, and I will be buying a hardback copy for my home library.
Parental note: This is a spooky fairy tale, and the black cloak is classic horror. There are some imagery that might upset younger kids. In fact one scene in particular was enough that it gave me pause thinking “would this be something that gives my ten year old nightmares?” I think the ending resolves that problem, but you have to get that far.