Thursday, February 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Kissing the Dead: A Cautionary Tale

*Originally posted on cj's bookshelf on July 1, 2011*

Title: I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It
Author: Adam Selzer
Publisher: Delacourt Press
Publication Date: January 2010
Reading Level: 16 and up

Synopsis (from Goodreads) -
Algonquin “Alley” Rhodes, the high school newspaper’s music critic, meets an intriguing singer, Doug, while reviewing a gig. He’s a weird-looking guy—goth, but he seems sincere about it, like maybe he was into it back before it was cool. She introduces herself after the set, asking if he lives in Cornersville, and he replies, in his slow, quiet murmur, “Well, I don’t really live there, exactly. . . .”

When Alley and Doug start dating, Alley is falling so hard she doesn't notice a few odd signs: he never changes clothes, his head is a funny shape, and he says practically nothing out loud. Finally Marie, the school paper’s fashion editor, points out the obvious: Doug isn't just a really sincere goth. He’s a zombie. Horrified that her feelings could have allowed her to overlook such a flaw, Alley breaks up with Doug, but learns that zombies are awfully hard to get rid of—at the same time she learns that vampires, a group as tightly-knit as the mafia, don’t think much of music critics who make fun of vampires in reviews. . . .

My Review:
First and foremost - "I Kissed a Zombie" is a parody of "Twilight." Now, I've made no secret that I severely dislike the "Twilight" books (for many reasons, not the least of which it offers up a perverted version of one of my - and the author's - core religious beliefs and that didn't sit well with me at all. Again, another rant for another day), so this sounded intriguing. Anything that pokes fun at "Twilight," I like to give it a shot. I actually met Adam Selzer briefly when he was on a teen author panel at the Utah Library Association Conference back in May [2011]. I didn't get to speak with him for very long, but it was long enough that I wanted to fork out $8 for his book and read it.

Alley Rhodes is no Bella Swan (or any other main female character from a paranormal romance novel, for that matter). Alley is witty, sarcastic and she constantly makes fun of all the girls in her high school who are dating vampires. Did I mention that, in this world, all the vampires have come out and made themselves a regular part of society? Which means, of course there are going to be tons of high school girls falling over themselves to get a piece of that undead action. [SARCASM WARNING!] Because, as we all know, high school girls are entirely that stupid. That's the kind of sarcasm Alley and her friends, the Vicious Circle (who also run the school newspaper), employ on a constant basis. And I have to admit, it's actually quite funny.

Then Alley becomes enamored with Doug, a guest singer for a band Alley is reviewing for her column in the school paper. He sings all her favorite songs and actually sings them well (Alley has a thing for dead gay singers from the 1930s) and she thinks that he's actually sincere about being a goth - not just these pseudo-goths that are just goth because it's suddenly cool on account of all the smokin' hot vampires around.

Another thing I found hilarious was, after Alley discovers Doug is a zombie, her debate with herself whether or not to become a zombie. She contemplates things like the fact that she'd have to drink embalming fluid every four hours (she decides that she could acquire a taste for it) and how long she and Doug could last as zombies before crumbling into dust (well, if they're careful, there are billions of years before the sun expands and the earth explodes. Then, they'll just be zombies floating around in space).

It helps when you read a book to know that it's a parody. If that had not been in the forefront of my mind as I read this, I would have hated it. But as it is a commentary on some of the more absurd premises in paranormal teen romance, it makes a lot of sense. It was a quick little read and one you might enjoy if you're looking for a fluffy piece of beach reading this summer.

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