My rating: 4 of 5 stars
All over the country, a strange phenomenon is occurring. Some teenagers who die aren’t staying dead. But when they come back to life, they are no longer the same. Feared and misunderstood, they are doing their best to blend into a society that doesn’t want them.
The administration at Oakvale High attempts to be more welcoming of the “differently biotic.” But the students don’t want to take classes or eat in the cafeteria next to someone who isn’t breathing. And there are no laws that exist to protect the “living impaired” from the people who want them to disappear—for good.
When Phoebe falls for Tommy Williams, the leader of the dead kids, no one can believe it; not her best friend, Margi, and especially not her neighbor, Adam, the star of the football team. Adam has feelings for Phoebe that run much deeper than just friendship; he would do anything for her. But what if protecting Tommy is the one thing that would make her happy?
Generation Dead is a zombie novel with shades of Warm Bodies and the Princess and the Frog thrown in. From the cover, it comes across a romance oriented novel, with probably a little humor and laughs about zombies acclimating to living, but in the subtext, the book delves into abuse of people considered different by society, be it homosexuality or race. The author metaphorically brings that out in this new America where there are undead teens trying to co-exist with the living. They are bullied, and beaten and even killed, but they try to make their fellow classmates aware that they too deserve a place in society.
Besides the main arc, there is a lot of smaller plots that enrich the story immensely. Pete and his hate against the zombies is brought about vividly through his perspective, which humanizes him without excusing him. Adam and his feelings for Phoebe, for which he is resolved to do anything, even help out the zombies, shows the power of one person making a radical change. Phoebe is, of course, the main driver of the story, since she takes the first step towards friendliness with the undead and also making her friends understand from their perspective. She, however, is human and keeps getting caught in a bigger battle between the living and the not. Her relationship with Tommy, I felt, was sweet but swept aside for development with Adam. And with that ending, I can somewhat see where the plot is taking. Nevertheless, I am excited to read the next and the next.