Friday, 10 June 2011

Review: Never Slow Dance with a Zombie - E. Van Lowe

Published: August 18th 2009, Tor Teen
Pages: 253 pages, paperback
Series?: Nope, standalone
Acquired: Kindly sent for review

Summary (from Goodreads): Romy and Michelle's Hight School Reunion meets Night of the Living Dead in this laugh-out-loud debut YA novel by Emmy Award-nominated TV writer E. Van Lowe.

Principal Taft's 3 Simple Rules for Surviving a Zombie Uprising:

Rule #1: While in the halls, walk slowly and wear a vacant expression on your face. Zombies won't attack other zombies.

Rule #2: Never travel alone. Move in packs. Follow the crowd. Zombies detest blatant displays of individuality.

Rule #3: If a zombie should attack, do not run. Instead, throw raw steak at to him. Zombies love raw meat. This display of kindness will go a long way.

On the night of her middle school graduation, Margot Jean Johnson wrote a high school manifesto detailing her goals for what she was sure would be a most excellent high school career. She and her best friend, Sybil, would be popular and, most important, have boyfriends. Three years later, they haven't accomplished a thing!

Then Margot and Sybil arrive at school one day to find that most of the student body has been turned into flesh-eating zombies. When kooky Principal Taft asks the girls to coexist with the zombies until the end of the semester, they realize that this is the perfect opportunity to live out their high school dreams. All they have to do is stay alive...

My review: So, it looks as though zombies are becoming the new vampires, doesn't it? Now the market for vampire novels seems to have finally become exhausted (fingers crossed) the attention has turned to another branch of the undead. Yay. That was sarcastic. Now, horror novels involving zombies? Brilliant, love them, can't get enough. But a zombie novel that may contain even a whiff of a romance or high school politics? For God's sake. Not impressed. Zombies are awesome and scary, let's not dumb them down, please?

So, onto the story. How would you react if you walked into your high school one morning and found that 90% of the students were zombies? Um, run, maybe? Well, not in this novel. Of course, when the undead are threatening to take over the world it's obvious that what you need to do is whine about not having a boyfriend and try to become chair of the homecoming committee. Believability is not one of this novel's strong points. How am I supposed to have empathy for characters when they're so dumb they think the zombie uprising is nothing to be concerned about?

Okay, maybe I'm being a little harsh. I know Never Slow Dance with a Zombie is supposed to be funny and realism isn't the main priority. I get that, I do, I just couldn't relate to Margot at all and, as such, I didn't care what happened to her. Oh, and it kind of annoyed me that the most important thing in the entire world was for her to get a boyfriend. Really, because that's the most important thing for a teenage girl to achieve? Great.

But my main problem wasn't the fact I found the story to be unrealistic and the characters hard to warm to. I just couldn't take to the writing style at all - I found the writing quite sloppy and the pacing was all over the place. The beginning was so slow it barely moved forwards for chapters on end but the ending was completely rushed. This is one novel that definitely would have benefitted from a lot more editing.

Now, this book is definitely one that you either love or hate and unfortunately I fall into the latter category. Hate is a strong word and I didn't exactly hate Never Slow Dance with a Zombie but I did struggle with it and it's not one I'd rush to recommend. I love zombies in a horror capacity and really hope this trend of lacklustre YA zombie novels doesn't continue. They smell, they're dead, they eat brains and will rip you apart - okay? Remember that.

If you're looking for a number of 5* reviews of this novel then head on over to the Goodreads page to check them out - there are a fair few so do have a look at them if you think this may be one you'll enjoy.

First line: "Do you think I'm a failure?"

Read if you liked…: I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It - Adam Selzer

Plot: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Cover: 4/5
Total: 12/20 (D)


  1. Oh no I rad the synopsis and thought yay a bit of fun.
    Shame you didnt connect with the characters.
    I adore your review - it made me smile loads. I <3 your sense of humour & zombie descriptions :D

  2. This one has all the right elements too. Excitement, adventure, mystery, love and friendship are all key in this story, as well as the paranormal twist with zombies.

    I know a lot of people that will devour this story, like zombies devour brains!!

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