22 November 2012

Review: Barely Alive by Bonnie R. Paulson

Barely Alive (Barely Alive #1) by Bonnie R. Paulson

Published: 26 March 2012

Pages: 290 (paperback)

Genre/s: YA, Zombie

Source: Author for review

Check it Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK


In twelve weeks, seventeen-year-old Paul Ledger will be dead. At least he hopes so.

Paul is trapped in the worst cult the United States has ever seen. Infected with a zombie virus, symptoms culminate in a dead body but thriving mind over a course of twelve weeks. If he doesn’t earn the final death he longs for, he’ll be chained in a basement facility, moaning for human flesh for eternity.

Sent out to kidnap girls for food, toys, or whatever the boss wants, Paul nabs Heather McCain. He’s not a fan of humans as a general rule, but even his graying skin and insatiable hunger for her flesh don’t stop her from reaching out to him. Give him the second chance he doesn’t know he needs.

Overcome by his cravings, Paul bites her delectable skin. Amazingly, she doesn’t develop the zombie-like side effects. When the boss discovers Heather’s immunity, he gives Paul an ultimatum – deliver up Heather and her family to continue the research or watch as Paul’s brother suffers the zombie fate.

Paul has a chance to endure his short zombie existence knowing his brother is safe. But he’ll have to sacrifice Heather to do it.

My Thoughts

With the deluge of zombie books out there, one kind of book particularly grabs my attention, and that's the story told from the zombie perspective.   There a few of those books out there, but I believe this is the first one I've read from the perspective of a teenage boy, which makes it even more unique.

Barely Alive is the story of Paul - a typical teenage boy who also happens to be a zombie.  And this particular zombie virus isn't your normal quick-turn-into-brain-muncher virus - it's been engineered by a particularly shady scientist, Dominic, who is using the virus to create an army of the nearly-undead to capture teenage girls for his own creepy needs.  The hunger is preset from the beginning, but gradually their bodies waste away, leaving just their mind trapped inside the shell of a zombie.

It did take me a little while to get into the story, and also to feel connected to the characters.  I liked Paul straight away, and Ms Paulson did an excellent job in writing a realistic teenage boy - after he meets Heather he struggles with keeping his need for flesh from driving him to eat humans and to keep his lust for Heather from distracting him on their attempt to escape the clutches of Dominic.   After gathering up a few more zombies and the good-guy scientist that Dominic used to work with, they set off to find the remnants of their families and to try and find a cure.

Barely Alive is a mixture of zombie apocalypse survival, zombie perspective and road-trip as Paul and his gang attempt to get from Vegas to Idaho, all the while with Dominic on their tail. Ms. Paulson does a fantastic job of balancing the science behind the virus with a good post-apocalyptic story, right down to the effects of the virus on the infected.  

Although it took a while for the story to really pull me in, Barely Alive was so unique and interesting that I tore through the second half of the story within a couple of hours, and I'm looking forward to reading more of the series, and finding out more about the virus and if the characters can actually find a cure.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm. I can't decide how I feel about this one. It sounds like I might love it or hate it.



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