Zombie Tag

Gr 5-8—Ever since his older brother's death earlier this year, 12-year-old Wil's coping strategy has been to escape with his friends into Zombie Tag, a game in which the "zombie" tries to capture the other players and eat their brains before they can find the hidden object and escape with it. Of course, he knows (or thinks he knows) that zombies don't really eat people's brains: he has scoured the Internet to piece together information on the zombie awakening of 30 years ago that the government still denies happened. From his research, he knows that some kind of bell woke the dead all those years ago, and that it has been hidden in a top-secret place so that an awakening can never happen again. When his friend Anthony lets slip that his father is the keeper of this Wake-Up Bell, Wil is determined to find it and bring Graham back to life. He is ultimately successful, but having his older brother back isn't at all what he expected, and he finds that it is lonelier with Zombie Graham than it was without him. Moskowitz keeps readers guessing as to how Wil ultimately comes to terms with his situation. The efforts of Wil and his parents to cope first with Graham's death and then with his reappearance are a major thread in the story. While Moskowitz's characters are fully formed and believable, it's never quite clear whether the author's going for laughs or poignancy, and ultimately, the result falls a little flat. Still, this unique twist on zombie stories will engage readers who are looking for contemporary fiction sprinkled with a dash of the morbid.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Wil would do anything to bring back his brother, Graham, who died during an asthma attack. When Wil discovers a bell that revives (but then destroys) the dead, he rings it with unexpected results. Zombie-Graham returns, but as an emotionless shell of his former self. Wil's realistic struggle with loss anchors this sometimes absurd yet funny and honest exploration of grief.

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