Week of July 15 Pull List: Football Playing Zombies vs. A Cook From Hell?

Anyone with a fondness for books knows how quickly a To Be Read pile can get out of control.  It seems the more I read, the more books end up on that pile.  These are the books that hit my radar and got added to that list over the past week.

Parallel worlds, zombies, citizens of hell, delusional protagonists… this week I came across some weird books.  It’s a good thing I like weird.


Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris
Delacorte Press (7/12/11)

Buy it on Amazon here

Someone's been a very bad zombie.

Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steroids are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe--not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate!

She's got to find an antidote--before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town. . . and stay hormonally human.

I first saw the cover of this book a few weeks ago, but there was no description with it so it looked like a Pretty Little Liars / Gossip Girl / fashion-and-boys-are-the-most-important-thing-in-my-teenage-life sort of thing.  Then I read a friend’s review on Goodreads and I realized there were zombies.  High school football playing zombies.  And that just made me laugh.  But really, what does that cover have to do with high school football or zombies?  It sounds like it probably gets a bit hokey and that the protagonist could be a very one dimensional flaky stereotype, but I felt like I went to high school with zombies.  It will be like a nostalgic trip for me…


The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith
Feiwel & Friends (11/9/10)

Buy it from Amazon here

Sixteen-year-old Jack gets drunk and is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London as planned for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury.

There is war in Marbury. It is a desolate and murderous place where Jack is responsible for the survival of two younger boys. Conner is there, too. But he’s trying to kill them.

Meanwhile, Jack is falling in love with an English girl, and afraid he’s losing his mind.

Conner tells Jack it’s going to be okay.

But, it’s not.

Andrew Smith has written his most beautiful and personal novel yet, as he explores the nightmarish outer limits of what trauma can do to our bodies and our minds.

At first I thought this was a companion or sequel to the creepy gas mask book I bought off Amazon on a whim.  It has that same super close up of a face, the muted color palette, and the reflection of a person in one of the lenses.  Then you have that disturbing orange and red bulging eye, which ups the creep factor.  But no, different author, different story line.  From the summary, it’s hard to tell if the trauma of a kidnapping creates a parallel world in the boy’s mind or if the parallel world is actually for real.  I have a soft spot for alternate timelines and parallel worlds, especially when a character’s life might be on the line in one and not the other.


Hellcity: The Whole Damn Thing by Macon Blair & Joe Flood
Image Comics (8/24/10)

Buy it from Amazon here

Ex-detective Bill Tankersly has a new gig, as a cook at the Piggery. The Piggery isn’t a fancy restaurant with a funny name, though; it’s a hole-in-the-wall . . . in hell. (You really don’t want to know about the pigs.) The job and never-ending therapy sessions are his sentence for killing himself. But the long-legged—and bat-winged—Mary D’Metre wants Bill to shadow her supervisor. Lou, boss of Hellcity, has been drinking, showing up late, and reading poetry at press conferences. He just doesn’t seem evil anymore, and without his strong claw at the helm, hell seems ready to descend into chaos. Bill soon finds himself in the middle of a demonic mutiny, a human rebellion, and the devil’s surprising secret life. Fans of Hellcity, v.1 (2006), can finally read the rest of the story, which has languished in publishing limbo until now. Blair’s story is over the top yet dramatically satisfying, and Flood’s black-and-white drawings are boldly kinetic. Together, their vision of hell is sly and surprising—rarely have the tortures of the damned been so entertainingly evoked. (Blurb from Amazon.com)

Not until I pulled this description from Amazon did I know that this is actually a sequel to a previous graphic novel.  As much as I love warring angels, I think I might like the politics and demented character interactions that can only exist in a hell dimension.  It’s always interesting to see how hell is portrayed in anyone’s imagination.  No version is ever quite the same, unless it’s the cliché Dante’s Inferno version.  A graphical depiction, with the right artist, would give it that much more texture, that much more believability, that much creepier.  Sometimes you just need creepy.  Add in the fact that the mayor of Hellcity is turning “good” and it sounds like a bit of comedy is thrown in to add a little spice.  I’ll have to keep my eye out for a copy next week at Comic Con.


My Favorite Band Does Not Exist by Robert T. Jeschonek
Clarion Books (7/11/11)

Buy it from Amazon here

Sixteen-year-old genius Idea Deity believes that he exists only in the pages of a novel written by a malevolent, omnipotent author . . . and that he will die in chapter 64. Meanwhile, an older teen named Reacher Mirage sings lead vocals for the undercover rock band Youforia . . . a band that exists in Idea’s world only as an Internet hoax that Idea himself perpetuated. Then there’s beautiful and mysterious Eunice Truant, who links their destinies. When Idea and Reacher plunge into the reality of Fireskull’s Revenant, the twisted epic fantasy novel they’ve both been reading, chapter 64 bears down on them like a speeding freight train on an unstoppable collision course. Being trapped in a bad book can be a nightmare. Just ask Idea Deity.

First of all, the title of this book fits perfectly on a hipster’s t-shirt.  This has a vague Thursday Next tone to it, but more sinister and not so literary.  The concept of living inside of books or having your life dictated by a book has always fascinated me.  While the names of the characters (and the real-yet-not-real band name) give me pause for being “trying too hard to be clever”, the description of the book piques my interest by leaving me terribly confused.  I know that sounds weird, but now I need to read this book to see if it even makes sense.


All book blurbs pulled from the wonderful Goodreads.com