Ten Zombie Books To Turn Your Stomach by Karin Perry
Sometimes our mood determines what we want to read. Every once in a while you might need a good cry, so you’ll pick up something like The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Sometimes you really need to laugh, so you choose Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. AND, for those times you really want to be creeped out, zombies are a great choice.
Believe it or not, not all zombie books are scary, so, unfortunately you can’t just pick up any zombie book you find and expect to be scared out of your mind. For your convenience, I’ve pulled together ten zombie books that will scare the pants off of you (or totally gross you out).
The Infects by Sean Beaudoin
Nero, a bad boy, is stuck on a wilderness hike with several other juvenile delinquents. “Inward Trek” is meant to teach the boys survival and responsibility with the hopes it will encourage them to start walking the straight and narrow. However, events take a terrible turn when the counselors turn into flesh-eating monsters overnight and start chowing down on some of the hikers.
Having seen plenty of zombie movies, the surviving hikers quickly come up with “Zombie Rules” they need to follow in order to survive. They quickly run for the woods in an attempt to get to safety, however, they soon realize that pretty much everyone on the mountain is infected. The boys soon meet other hikers, children, cheerleaders, and even football players that have turned into a ravenous hoard. Eventually, the boys find a hunting lodge that has been occupied by the uninfected Girls’ Inward Trek group. It’s then the fun really begins.
The Infects is not for the faint of heart.
Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick
This is a trilogy. Shadows and Monsters comes after this first one. While the monsters in this book aren’t necessarily zombies, they are definitely in the same vein as they attack and eat humans. Alex, a young girl suffering from a terminal brain tumor, retreats to the mountains to say goodbye to life. When an electromagnetic pulse sweeps though the sky while she is still camping, every electronic device is destroyed and billions of people are killed. Those that survive fall into two categories – the humans and the Changed.
Alex, saddled with a young girl whose grandfather died during the EMP, meets up with a young army veteran named Tom. Together, the three of them attempt to survive in this post-apocalyptic world and stay away from the deadly group of “zombies” willing to kill and eat anyone that gets in their path.
Soulless by Christopher Golden
For the first time ever, three powerful mediums are going to join hands on a live morning TV show in order to conduct the largest ever séance. The minute they join hands, people in the live studio audience begin to hear voices and feel the bone chilling cold that is so often associated with the spirit world. Panic breaks out and rightly so….the spirits have been given the opportunity to come through an open door into the world of the living and they aren’t wasting any time.
Spirits are returning to their dead and decomposing bodies and rising up from their graves. Zombies begin to brutally attack anyone unfortunate enough to get in their path. A group of strangers are thrown together and forced to find a way to survive – even if what they have to do is very unpleasant.
Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart
Jake Stephens is a normal guy. He doesn’t stand out and definitely doesn’t attract the super popular girls, but one day all that changes. During lunch, Jake starts feeling funny and when he looks across the room and locks eyes with Amanda, the most popular girl in school, things get crazy. They didn’t mean to attack and eat half of the senior class, but something like that can’t be undone. Now, Jake and Amanda are on the run – terrified about what just happened.
In a situation like this the government most definitely is called in and Cass, a psychic teenage government agent is put on the case. Cass can get into the mind of the zombie by touching the victims’ belongings. Using her visions, Cass leads the government from victim to victim in the hopes of catching up to Jake and Amanda, but soon, Cass begins to have second thoughts about capturing Jake. She’s had a chance to get to know him through her visions and she kind of falls for him. What will happen when the government gets ahold of him? She can guarantee it won’t be anything good.
Eat, Brains, Love is a great mix of humor, horror, and suspense. Fans of The Walking Dead and Warm Bodies will definitely find this to their liking.
The Enemy by Charlie Higson
It’s the kids against the grownups – literally. A virus has crippled England. Everyone 14-years-old and older is effected. The lucky ones die. The others become crazed, confused monsters that chase, attack and eat anyone they can catch. Kids are left to fend for themselves. Small bands of children gather in abandoned houses and stores – anywhere they can make a stand against the Grown-ups.
One group survives in a grocery store. They’ve secured the place with barricades and other safety measures hoping to stay alive. The problem comes when they have to leave the store. Everyday they have to send out a party to scavenge for food. Some places are safer than others, but there are dangers lurking everywhere.
The kids are forced to expand their searches farther from the store as supplies are depleted, presenting new dangers everyday. Imagine their surprise when a stranger shows up and tells there is a safe place – free of Grown-ups with plenty of food. Buckingham Palace is a safe haven. Should they trust the stranger?
After taking a vote, they decide to leave the safety of the grocery store and begin to navigate the treacherous route to Buckingham Palace. Danger is around every corner and not everybody makes it alive. Will the journey be worth the risk?
Zombie Blondes by Brian James
Hannah is used to being the new girl in school. She has made picking out the rulers of the school an art form. At Maplecrest, they are the Cheerleaders and the Cheerleaders are led by Maggie Turner – with her pale skin, glowing blonde hair, and brilliant blue eyes, Hannah can see why she attracts so much attention.
Lukas approaches Hannah at lunch on her first day. He comes to warn her. The popular crowd, he warns, is made up of flesh eating zombies that are slowly killing off the people in town. Hannah’s mind immediately flashes to all the For Sale signs she saw in the yards of the homes her and her father passed on their way into town, but zombies? There’s no way she’s going to believe that. She can clearly see by the comic books Lukas carries with him that he is letting his imagination get carried away. While glad to have a friend at school, she doesn’t like him talking about zombies and quickly put it out of her mind as crazy talk.
When the Cheerleaders approach Hannah, she is excited and nervous. Can she make the cut and win a spot on the squad? What will she have to do to be accepted by the girls?
Sick by Tom Leveen
Sick is fast paced and action packed. I LOVE Brian and his tough, mohawk-wearing best friend, Chad. After a virus spreads through their town, they end up stuck in the theater department with a few of their classmates. The main problem is staying away from the very violent zombies outside of their school building. The second problem is, Brian is separated from his younger sister and girlfriend, Laura.
We see a TON of violence as Brian and Chad, along with the theater kids, fight their way through the zombies in their attempts to rescue the two girls and eventually escape the confines of the school grounds (they are locked in with a HUGE metal fence). This is definitely a book for the people who like blood and gore. These are bone-crunching, marrow-sucking zombies.
Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Benny just turned fifteen. In his world that means he must find a job in order to continue receiving his rations. The problem is, Benny can’t find a job he likes. He and his best friend, Chong, waited too long to get one and all the easy jobs are gone. The ones that are left aren’t very appealing. It seems like the only option left is to join the family business.
Benny’s brother, Tom, is one of the most respected and successful zombie killers. The problem is, Benny doesn’t know why people think Tom’s that great. He’s never seen Tom do anything especially exciting or impressive – in fact, he’s actually turned away from violence, which makes Benny think Tom’s a coward. Tom is nothing like the totally cool Zombie Killers like Charlie Pink-Eye and Motor City Hammer, but Benny learns a lot while out in the Rot and Ruin with Tom. He learns about his own past, what it is that Tom really does, and what separates man from monster. Benny’s outlook on life completely changes as he begins to realize there might be more to life than just his small town of Mountainside.
Undead by Kirsty McKay
This is a story of a school ski trip gone horribly, horribly wrong. Bobby, the new girl, and bad boy Smitty are the only two students to stay on the bus when the rest of the class goes into the Cheery Chomp for lunch. They don’t really pay attention to the time that has passed until it starts to get dark outside and snow starts to really pile up. But, finally, their classmates start coming out of the restaurant. However, their classmates aren’t okay. They’ve changed – they’re zombies.
Bobby and Smitty get the bus in gear and start running over anyone in their way. The only way they will survive is to drive the bus away from the restaurant and hopefully find somewhere safe. But, it doesn’t look like safety is something they are going to find any time soon. Undead is like a wonderfully, horrible zombie B-movie. It is full of blood and gore in the form of beheadings, blood splatter, and zombie chomping. All action is served up with a slice of snarky humor.
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Sloane Price wants to kill herself and she plans to do it soon. She finds it hard to feel bad about the zombie apocalypse happening outside of her school since this seems like the perfect time to give up and stop caring. The problem is, the five other people hiding with her in the school desperately want to live. But, all she thinks about is how easy it would be to allow herself to be bitten.
Sloane quietly watches those around her as they come to terms with their situation. After days of survival, she watches things begin to deteriorate inside and realizes that the dangers aren’t only outside. Soon she realizes that she might want to live after all and that the only way to make it might be to go outside with the zombies.
Do you feel sick yet? Are there any gross zombie books I didn’t list that you think should have been included? Comment below to let me know.
Karin Perry is a former middle school librarian and current Assistant Professor of Library Science at Sam Houston State University. She loves that her job consists of reading young adult novels. She keeps track of her reading on Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/kperry and currently blogs at http://www.karinsbooknook.com. She lives with her husband of 18 years and her Chihuahua, Max on 29 acres in rural Oklahoma. You can find her on Twitter at @kperry.