Written by: A.J. Whitten
Released: May 2, 2011 by Graphia
Summary: Meredith Willis is suspicious of Adrien, the new guy next door. When she dares to sneak a look into the windows of his house, she sees something in the cellar that makes her believe that Adrien might be more than just a creep—he may be an actual monster.
But her sister, Heather, doesn’t share Meredith’s repulsion. Heather believes Adrien is the only guy who really understands her. In fact, she may be falling in love with him. When Adrien and Heather are cast as the leads in the school production of Romeo and Juliet, to Heather, it feels like fate. To Meredith, it feels like a bad omen. But if she tries to tear the couple apart, she could end up in the last place she’d ever want to be: the cellar. Can Meredith convince her sister that she’s dating the living dead before it’s too late for both of them?
Look no further if you want a good zombie novel to read. This novel is full of creepy walking dead goodness with a side of romance and a dash of Romeo and Juliet tragedy. Really, it has just about anything that a reader could ask for in a novel.
The novel starts out shrouded in mystery and though the veil is quickly lifted, what’s left behind is the unsavoury feeling of unease. Don’t let the shortness of the novel fool you, this story packs a lot of punch within its pages and the climax at the end is chaotic.
As far as characters go, it’s clear that both Meredith and Heather have been deeply affected by the death of their father – though in very different ways. Meredith had burrowed into her strength and tried to be the pillar of support and the voice of reason. But Heather has retreated into herself and seems to be lost in her own darkness... until Adrien shows up. While it’s quickly shown that Adrien isn’t what he seems, it’s hard to decide what to think of him as the plot unfolds.
Through the alternating perspectives of Meredith, Heather, and Adrien the story unfolds and it’s hard to take a firm decision on whom to side with. Personally, I can see the love that blooms between Heather and Adrien, I feel the need in Meredith to protect her family from evil. But then the question of how to define evil comes about; after all, evil is relative.
The ending left me a little confused, though. It’s just that there seemed to be a few details overlooked – which I can’t elaborate on without giving anything away – but unless I read too fast and just plain skipped over them, I have some unanswered questions. But for the most part, though frenzied, the ending was non-stop action that almost left me in tears.
I enjoyed reading this novel. The writing was fantastic and the plot was pretty damn cool. And while it may not normally be something I would pick up, I’m really glad that I read it. I’m giving this a 7/10. I now want to read other works by these authors (since A.J. Whitten is a pen name for a mother-daughter duo).
Oh, and isn't the cover gorgeous? It definitely adds to the mystery and creep-factor.
My thanks to netGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this novel.