High school sucks.
It's worse when you're dead.
Ohneka Falls is a small, Western New York town where everyone
knows everyone and nothing of note happens. Ani Romero is a sixteen-year-old girl who wants to play sports, hang out, and kiss Mike, her middle-school crush. A childhood carrier of the zombie virus, she died at fourteen but didn’t become a mindless, brain-eating monster. Her controlling mother forces her to join the emo crowd to hide her condition behind a wall of black clothes and makeup, and her friends abandon her.
When creeper Dylan learns her secret, he falls into obsession,
with Ani and with death. She bites him in self-defense. Persecuted by the jocks and ignored by Mike, Ani struggles through the motions of life hoping her mother’s research unveils a cure, or Dylan dooms them all to a hungry, walking death.
As her emo facade crumbles in the face of jealousy and obsession,
Ani knows that the worst thing she can do is be true to herself.
*(Tied for 1st place in the 2012 JS writing contest.)
It took me a little while to get to this but I was hooked as soon as I started it. What first attracted me to this book was that the setting was a little town in western NY state. I live in western NY state. The major landmarks like Niagara Falls, Lake Erie, Buffalo or Rochester might appear in a story but the little places seldom do. It was so fun to hear mention of a small town I often drive through or a college I've visited yet unnerving to realize it was in the context of zombie inhabitants. Eek!
The writing was very well done and so fluid. I was drawn into the life of Ani and her single mom. I constantly forgot this was a male writer because he captured a teenage girl's voice so well. There were many twists and turns that made this an exciting story and the details were terrific. It's hard enough to be sixteen but to have a virus that could lead to your instant annihilation at any moment could put a girl on edge! While Ani's life was filled with angst it seemed like she had constant dilemmas (understandable of course for a secret zombie teen). The tension was great but I felt that her issues became a bit overwhelming for the reader. Ani and her mom can't seem to catch a break!
The story was a nice change from the traditional zombie tale. This is about life in the near future after an attack but not an apocalypse. People have overcome the situation and developed ways to live with it in a "normal" society. Ani is a unique individual who is struggling to maintain her humanity. I don't want to give anything away here because the surprises really enhanced the story and I'm so glad I hadn't heard details before I read Twice Shy.
The ending was abrupt, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but after such a detailed build up I found it unsatisfying and a departure from the style of the rest of the book. I did discover there is a sequel, Special Dead, which makes it more appealing. I look forward to reading that story and more from this talented author.
Thank you to LibraryThing Early Reviewers for an arc to review.
Release date: 10/26/12
Pages: 240 (paperback)
Type: YA horror