"On a sunny Wednesday morning in October, a day that would mark the end of one life and the beginning of another, I found out my grouchy next door neighbor was the walking dead. When you turn around expecting to see something familiar, and instead see something else altogether, it takes a little while for your brain to catch up with your eyes. I call it the 'Holy Crap Factor.'"
Forced to flee his home and family, twelve-year-old Will Ritter falls in with the Undertakers-a rag-tag army of teenage resistance fighters who've banded together to battle the Corpses.
One day Will is going to school when he starts to notice that some people he knows resemble corpses-his grumpy neighbour, his teacher...and he thinks he is going mad until the 'zombies' attack him and he is saved by a school friend Helene. She is part of an army of kids called The Undertakers who can see the corpses and rescue other kids like themselves to fight against this enemy.
This book was a little frustrating for me. I really liked some parts of it yet other parts bugged me. It made it more difficult to rate.
Lets start with the good. I liked the idea that some alien force uses dead bodies to move around, and use a glamour to make them look normal. Adults and most kids only see the glamour but a small group of kids like Will can see through this disguise. When the copses learn that a kid is a Seer, they kill them. I liked the idea of The Undertakers and how they try to rescue these kids and train them to survive, with everyone contributing to the community. The start of the book where Will is under attack is good and the scenes featuring corpse attacks are well written and enjoyable. I loved the ending as well, which was very satisfying. The storytelling was nicely done and the kids do behave like kids so thought has been put into how they behave and interact in a big community ie eating junk and immature behaviour. It gave a book a sense of realism.
The characters are pretty diverse. My favourite had to be Dave because he is fat and funny! His stupid remarks and enthusiasm for everything make him a likeable character. I liked most of the characters except the asshat who hates Will as soon as he arrives. YA novels seem obsessed with the MC being instantly hated by someone, which gets boring very fast. Will himself was quite annoying at times. He's only been there five minutes and he's breaking the rules, disobeying Tom and basically being a royal pain in the butt. He's a kid from a loving family but thinks he knows better about survival than Tom who grew up on the streets. I got annoyed with Will talking back to Tom, Will sneaking out and getting into trouble, Will ruining carefully laid plans because he knew better. That got a bit frustrating.
There are a few bits that I found a bit slow. There is a big info dump when Will arrives at Haven and is shown around, with a lot of detail about everything he sees. From there until the end of his time at First Stop was pretty slow. After that it did pick up thankfully. I got a bit fed up with the repitition about Will's dad being the only adult ever to see through the glamour. I felt we got hit over the head with a stick a few times on that subject!
There was enough good stuff in this book for me to finish it and go on to read the short story that follows-Night of the Monsters. Part of me wants to know what happens to the gang but I haven't yet made a decision on continuing with the series. I would however recommend it to those who like YA paranormal books.