Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review: Passing Strange by Daniel Waters

Karen DeSonne
always passed
a normal teenager -

and now that she's dead,
she's still passing -
this time, as alive.

Karen DeSonne always passed as a normal (if pale) teenager; with her friends, with her family, and at school. Passing cost her the love of her life. And now that Karen’s dead, she’s still passing—this time, as alive. Karen DeSonne just happens to be an extremely human-like zombie. Meanwhile, Karen’s dead friends have been fingered in a high-profile murder, causing a new round of antizombie regulations that have forced them into hiding. Karen soon learns that the “murder” that destroyed their non-life was a hoax, staged by Pete Martinsburg and his bioist zealots. Obtaining enough evidence to expose the fraud and prove her friends’ innocence means doing the unthinkable: becoming Pete’s girlfriend. Karen’s only hope is that the enemy never realizes who she really is—because the consequences would be worse than death.

When I started this series I thought it was going to be all about the typical teen drama in high school with
some paranormal stuff tossed in. Boy was I wrong. This was the third book of the set and they all share the themes of prejudice and intolerance. The fact that the victims here are zombies is actually not the main idea and they aren't described in the typical zombie fashion. They aren't the ghouls of the horror movies and Michael Jackson videos. They do suffer various physical ailments and possibly some deformities but they retain their intellect, memories and emotions. The same person who was accepted, loved and successful one day could easy be an uncoordinated outcast the next.

No one has been able t
o figure out why or how for the past several years some young people have returned after death. Since these kids no longer have a heartbeat they aren't technically alive, aren't considered citizens anymore and they have no rights. It's not even illegal to "reterminate" them. Society in general isn't very supportive and usually misunderstands them. There are even those who have developed a mob mentality and are on a mission to destroy the differently biotic teens. A few people have decided to try to make a difference and Karen DeSonne is one of them and is the main character in this book. Although she is dead, she looks normal and is able to pass for a typical teen. She risks everything to uncover the truth about recent crimes blamed on her friends. The consequences have been far-reaching and paranoia and fear have spread. Karen is trying to find out who sets this in motion before it's too late and more lives are lost.

I thought it was a very interesting and disturbing take on prejudice, intolerance and fear. The zombie kids could be almost any minority that has suffered in this horrible way. Using the popular paranormal theme brings the story current and sheds a new light onto these horrible issues. It really made me think about it more. It's hard enough to be a teenager trying to cope with all of the typical problems in their lives and then this comes along. The characters were interesting and engaging. I had strong feelings for or against them and their actions. This wasn't a series to be taken lightly. I was impressed with the author's story telling and look forward to reading more of his work.

Thank you to

Publisher: Hyperion Children
Release date: June 2010

Pages: 386
Price/format: $16.99 /hardcover

Books in the series:

Generation Dead (#1)

Kiss of Life (Generation Dead #2)

Passing Strange (Generation Dead #3)


  1. I'm glad to see there's a message to the book since I imagine the paranormal aspect will appeal to a lot of kids.

  2. Huh...interesting take on the book! I haven't read this particular series but I was exposed to the author's work in a short story collection I read recently. The writing wasn't bad, but the story featured the same "creatures" and I was at a loss to understand WHY it happened (them coming back). Was hopeful it was explained in the main stories....but even without that, it sounds like the storyline carries a different message at heart...quite well too. Thanks for sharing your adventure with this book....happy reading!

  3. What a great way to write about such moral dilemmas; I'm going to have to look into this one! Thanks for the review!

    Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

  4. what i dont get is why theres 2 covers. are they 2 different books or the same one?

  5. what i dont get is if there are 2 it the same book or is it 2 different books.


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