"I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish." (Alice In Zombieland, prologue)
Like the title implies, Alice in Zombieland is the story of a girl named Alice. Orphaned after a tragedy takes her parents and sister away from her, Alice is forced to move to a new school and live with her maternal grandparents. She makes new friends, misses the ones she's lost, and generally acts how you'd expect a girl to act whose lost everything. Well, except for a few small things. Like the fact that there's this boy she can't ignore--literally can't ignore, because something she can't control forces her into visions whenever she's near him, visions of love and violence and confusion-- and there's also the fact that she might be going crazy, because she's seeing things that shouldn't exist, things that she used to think her father was crazy for talking about.
Alice in Zombieland is literally nothing I actually expected with my first impression of the book, and that's actually pretty amazing. For one thing, besides the fact that the main character's name is Alice, I really don't see a connection between Alice in Wonderland and this book. There's a few very small references, but no real big 'AHAH!' moment for me. There's always the possibility that I might just be missing references or something, but still. It doesn't actually matter, but it definitely skewed my ideas for what this book was going to be about.
Secondly, Showalter breaths new live into the zombie myths with this book. The zombies Showalter writes are still very obviously zombies: living dead, rotting, shambling, feeling no pain, etc. But they're also a bit more than that, although I really can't say much without ruining what I feel is a part of the book that you should read for yourself. Without spoiling it for you, let me just say that I like Showalter's idea of a zombie a -lot-, particularly because it somewhat makes Alice's story more applicable to real life, in the way that so many other authors manage to make vampires seem like things that could actually lurk in the night.
Like all YA books today, it seems, Showalter threw in a nice dash of romance in this novel, and surprisingly, I'm pretty okay with that. I absolutely despise how every other YA book I pick up is nothing but a romance story with some paranormal aspects, sans explicit scenes. Like, I love romance. I do. But sometimes, I'd really enjoy reading a book that has an amazing plot and doesn't get derailed for seven chapters by whiny teenage romance. That being said, Showalter really pulls it off. The romance in Alice in Zombieland is played off really well, without really allowing it to completely overshadow the story. It's woven in expertly, and I really applaud Showalter for her efforts.
Overall, I really liked Alice in Zombieland, so much so that I've already passed it on to a fellow book blogger because I want the word of this book to get out. It's a great story, has a lot of humor, and I loved it! I'd recommend it to fans of the zombie genre in general, as long as they don't mind tossing a bit of paranormal and magic into their zombie mythology. I'd also recommend it to the huge YA romance fandom, as Showalter's romance is amazing. Finally, I'd kind of like to recommend Alice in Zombieland to fans of Hack/Slash, with the understanding that Alice is a lot more children friendly and less violent. The attempted female zombie slaying kind of speaks to me in both cases, haha.
Alice in Zombieland actually comes out in September 2012, so keep an eye out around that time to get your copy on this amazing book!