I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It, by Adam Selzer. New York: Delacorte Press, 2010. 177 pp. ISBN 9780385904971
To Alley, Doug is the cutest guy, with impeccable taste in music: hers. So what if he's a little -- well, a lot -- pale?
Alley Rhodes is a high school senior who lives in a small Iowa town in what has been termed the "post-human era". It is so called because humans, zombies, and vampires live together, without harming each other for the most part. The era began when the vampires came out of the shadows to successfully spearhead a legal action on behalf of the zombies, whom the Megamart chain had brought back from the dead to use as slave labor. Against this satirical backdrop is an engaging story about Alley's meeting of and dating Doug, a guy from a neighboring town who sings with a local band and shares Alley's taste in music. But she shortly realizes that he is not quite human. However, he is her first real love, and their relationship really transforms for the better the way that she treats others. She also grapples with the question of whether a teen like herself should make permanent life-altering decisions in order to be with the person she loves.
This is an easy and fun read which will get teens thinking about social issues and interpersonal ones as well. The plot is fairly simple but the story is well-paced; Alley's experiences day-to-day at school and dating milestones such as having Doug meet her parents, going to prom, etc. are balanced with her sorting through her feelings about the relationship. The story is quite funny at times, and Alley is a likeable character with whom I think teens will identify. The other characters are not as developed.
What may make this novel controversial to some are a couple mentions of teenage drinking and teens dying in order to become vampires or zombies.
HOW THIS BOOK HELPS
I think this novel could help teens involved in romantic relationships to keep their perspective and not let the relationship radically change their post-high school plans. It could also help teens to develop more compassion for physically challenged or ill classmates.
WHY I CHOSE TO READ IT
The phrasing of the title and the idea of dating a zombie made me laugh.