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The Resource Better off undead, by James Preller

Better off undead, by James Preller

Label
Better off undead
Title
Better off undead
Statement of responsibility
by James Preller
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Adrian Lazarus, who became a zombie just before starting middle school, and new friends Gia, Zander, and Talal, navigate a mystery involving global warming, disappearing bees, and billionaire developers
Storyline
Review
  • Grades 5-8 /* Starred Review */ Preller takes the black-kid-in-a-white-school premise to the next level with Adrian, who is not only African American but also a zombie. The author sets his tale in a near-future world in which climate change and pandemics are wreaking odd paranormal phenomena as well as predictable havoc. Having inexplicably survived a fatal hit-and-run accident over the summer, aptly named Adrian Lazarus is off to seventh grade, sporting a hoodie to hide his increasing facial disfigurement and lunching on formaldehyde smoothies to keep himself together. Simultaneously resenting and yet understanding the varied reactions of his schoolmates—which range from shunning to all-too-close attention from a particularly persistent bully—Adrian is also surprised and pleased to discover that he has allies, notably Gia Demeter, a new girl with a peculiar ability to foretell certain events. Preller might have played this as a light comedy (and there are some hilarious bits), but he goes instead for darker inflections. Even as Adrian sees himself becoming ominously aggressive (while developing tastes for roadkill and raw meat), his discovery that fabulously powerful data miners Kalvin and Kristoff Bork are ruthlessly scheming to put him under the knife in search of his secrets cranks the suspense up another notch. Nonetheless, in a series of splendidly lurid exploits, Adrian beats the odds as he fights for a well-earned happy ending. -- Peters, John (Reviewed 10/15/2017) (Booklist, vol 114, number 4, p55)
  • Gr 4–7—Adrian Lazarus is a middle school zombie, the result of an accident that left him "as undead as a toenail and not really thrilled about it." The book is similar to Paolo Bacigalupi's Zombie Baseball Beatdown; however, this cautionary tale is more than just a brain-eating gross-out. Set in the not-too-distant future when humanity is suffering from numerous self-inflicted woes, this story's villains are the Bork Brothers, owners of K & K Industries, "the richest, most powerful corporation on the planet" and also the source of much of the planet's environmental troubles. Like The Wizard of Oz, to which this book makes frequent allusions, the Bork Brothers control the world behind a curtain of extreme privacy, "pour[ing] their millions of dollars into helping certain politicians win elections." With one of the brothers dying, they attempt to kidnap Adrian, hoping to glean the secret of cheating death. Adrian foils this plot with the help of his friends, one of whom is a thinly disguised Demeter-like creature. While following these fantastic adventures, readers learn about real environmental issues, such as the vanishing of bees, with the clear message to not be a "zombie," but to instead take action to protect the planet before it is too late. VERDICT This uproarious middle grade call to action has considerable kid appeal and a timely message. A strong addition to school and public library collections.—Eileen Makoff, P.S. 90 Edna Cohen School, NY --Eileen Makoff (Reviewed 08/01/2017) (School Library Journal, vol 63, issue 8, p91)
  • After a skateboarding accident leads to his death and inexplicable reanimation, Adrian Lazarus is forced to start seventh grade as a decomposing and slightly smelly zombie. In addition enduring bullying, Adrian is being watched, but he’s not sure by whom or why. Teaming up with his loyal friend Zander, no-nonsense Gia, and budding detective Talal, Adrian sets out to fend off the bullies and figure out who’s behind the surveillance. Preller (The Courage Test) takes the physical and emotional awkwardness of middle school to grisly levels as Adrian worries not about acne or voice changes, but about his nose falling off in class and his desire to “scarf up a dead squirrel from the street.” Readers will empathize with Adrian’s discomfort in his own rotting skin: “I felt... almost normal. But every time I caught a glimpse of my reflection, I instantly understood the physical revulsion that people experienced when they saw me.” Against a near-future backdrop, Preller thoughtfully chronicles the anxieties of middle school, using a blend of comedy and horror to send a message of empowerment and self-acceptance. Ages 9–13. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Oct.) --Staff (Reviewed 09/18/2017) (Publishers Weekly, vol 264, issue 38, p)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10596757
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Preller, James
Dewey number
[Fic]
Index
no index present
Intended audience
660L
Intended audience source
Lexile
Interest level
MG
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 4
  • 7
Reading level
4.7
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Study program name
Accelerated Reader AR
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Zombies
  • Middle schools
  • Schools
  • Bees
  • Environmental protection
  • Adventure and adventurers
  • Mystery and detective stories
  • Zombies
  • Middle schools
  • Schools
  • Bees
  • Environmental protection
Target audience
pre adolescent
Label
Better off undead, by James Preller
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1882211
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
275 pages
Isbn
9781250066480
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2016058773
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781250066480
  • (OCoLC)964334671
Label
Better off undead, by James Preller
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1882211
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
275 pages
Isbn
9781250066480
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2016058773
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781250066480
  • (OCoLC)964334671

Library Locations

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      30.1876256 -97.7419319
    • Twin Oaks BranchBorrow it
      1800 S. Fifth St., Austin, TX, 78704, US
      30.2486884 -97.76239749999999
    • Yarborough BranchBorrow it
      2200 Hancock Dr., Austin, TX, 78756, US
      30.3234684 -97.74072129999999
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