Saturday, September 6, 2008

Generation Dead by Dan Waters

American teenagers have begun rising from the grave soon after their deaths. Whether suicide, car accident, or worse, the teens return to their families after their funerals. But not all families want them back. Some of the undead are abandoned by all who once loved them, shunned by their community and the nation as a whole. But there are so many, and more are rising by the day. Accommodations are being made, laws are being debated, but until legislation is passed, and until people start accepting them, these “living impaired” teens will remain outsiders.

Tommy is one such outsider. But instead of being repelled, Phoebe is fascinated. The living impaired teens have been attending local schools for awhile, but Tommy is the first to play on the football team, and the first to challenge the idea that he’s just an undead zombie with no thoughts or feelings. But the steps Tommy and Phoebe take toward friendship cause other students to cringe, or worse. Pete and his buddies, the “Pain Crew,” are determined to do whatever it takes to eliminate the zombies, and the zombie-lovers, from his school. Is it illegal to kill someone who’s already dead?

Generation Dead is a lot deeper than I was expecting. Couched within the intelligent novel are issues such as integration, political rights for minorities, school bullying and the power of love. The ending left enough room for a sequel, which I hope is already underway.

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