She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.
Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.
Her father was right. The monsters are real….
To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….
I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I’d tell my sister no.
I’d never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I’d zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I’d hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I’d tell them I love them.
I wish… Yeah, I wish.
Alice in Zombieland is inspired by the classic Wonderland story but is very much its own piece of work. The title was the hook for me but it’s the words that reeled me in. I didn’t go into this book seeking parallels, and it’s a good thing because there aren’t many. As my first Showalter novel I had no expectations but the thrill of starting a book by an author I’ve heard of but have never read. I really enjoyed her writing, dauntless characters, crafty twists, strange zombies, and badinage. Lately I’ve been on a roll with one “just okay” novel after the next but this broke free of that pattern. I feared the monotonous cycle would never end, but amidst the previous disappointments lay hope.
Refreshingly Alice Bell is a female lead who doesn’t wait around for someone else to fight her battles. She can throw down on a physical and verbal level, which makes her my kind of heroine. At first you perceive her to be the victim but soon she becomes someone you wouldn’t want to mess with. Bell gives a beat-down to zombies, doesn’t respond well to intimidation, and has absolutely no problem whatsover when it comes to confronting others. I love seeing young women who don’t assume the role of damsel in distress, YA needs more of that. Ali isn’t alone in being her fierce self, her newly appointed best friend is something to marvel at too. Alice meets Kat when she’s in a dark place and she forcefully pulls her out of it and talks sense into her. After sticking up for Ali numerous times and proving her loyalty they become inseparable friends. I love that they are on the same wavelength about everything and are like two connecting pieces of a puzzle. They are an unstoppable pair whose comedic remarks will land with readers and elicit a fair amount of laughter.
At sixteen Alice Bell’s life is thrown down the rabbit hole when her entire family is killed. She was warned by her father repeatedly that monsters were out there but she didn’t believe him—didn’t want to. Now as the only survivor of the tragic accident she’s taken in by her grandparents who just want her to move on, and get better, but she can’t. How could she move on when she knows that there are creatures out there, the same creatures who murdered her family and stole everything she valued away? No. The only thing that keeps her going is her determination to rid them from this world, and training to make herself stronger, and deadlier.
Every high school always has its share of rebellious teenagers but in Alice’s new school their is a group who asks for trouble. Students keep their distance, girls fantasize about them, and guys steer clear of this crew. Cole Holland is the ringleader and when he gives a command people jump to obey. He’s secretive, menacing, and most devastating of all—he’s extremely attractive. Ali and Cole have this weird bond where when they look at each other each morning they experience intense, and often, uncontrollable visions of themselves romantically together (it’s pretty hot). Regrettably all of their conversations turn into arguments. They are either fighting or making out. I didn’t fully understand their relationship aside from the attraction factor and passionate episodes. I liked some of Cole’s qualities such as fealty to his friends, and protectiveness towards Alice but the rest just was lost on me. It was the effervescent banter between Alice and her BFF Kat that I was entertained by the most. I think those with a penchant for bad boys will fall for Cole, and it could be just me but I wasn’t in awe of him. I hope to see more sides of him in the next installment that could sway my opinion, I’m kind of counting on it.
Alice in Zombieland diverges a lot from the original tale as we all know it and it’s bloody fun. If it’s zombies you seek than zombies you will get…just not the kind you were most likely expecting. As much as everyone is probably hoping for a novel full of your run-of-the-mill walking dead, instead you’ll find a new version of zombies that are—just as nasty but, if at all possible—more skin crawling and dreadful. Just as the animated dead would surely devour you, you’ll greedily fly through this novel. It has a steady flow of action, fabulous humor, and an assemblage of great side characters. If you enjoy avant-garde retellings that have a more than capable heroine, romantic tension, and zombie slaying this book should be an instant purchase. As for the sequel Through the Zombie Glass, consider it owned!