Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life has a lot of dead bodies in it. So, after finishing the book, I thought, I need to read about more dead bodies.
Actually, no, I didn’t think that. But that’s what wound up happening. Only, while the dead bodies in Life After Life are disturbingly real, Eat, Brains, Love features refreshingly cartoonish death and destruction.
There have been a ton of YA and Adult zombie books with similarly insouciant tones flooding the market lately. There’s Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies — which I enjoyed immensely, —and Kirsty McKay’s Undead series — which I thought was tepid — that immediately come to mind. I wouldn’t have felt compelled to pick up yet another zombie book if Eat, Brains, Love hadn’t 1. gotten good reviews around the blogosphere, 2. had a great cover, and 3. been available at my public library. It turns out, I’m really glad I read this book, because I sucked it down smooth and easy in a single day, mostly while the twins I watch were napping.
The book has two first-person narrators — Jake, a teen zombie and Cass, a teen psychic. The former undergoes necrosis in between classes, along with the most-popular-girl-in-school, Amanda Blake. The two fresh zombies raze their cafeteria, and when they come to after their hunger black-out, decide to go on the run together. The latter, Cass — please, no more psychics named Cassandra — was recruited by the U.S. government after an aptitude test revealed her supernatural talents. She works with a secret government division devoted to keeping the general population unaware of the zombie outbreak.
Eat, Brains, Love was mildly funny, but what really kept me reading was the fantastic pace. There was hardly a dull moment in the book. It grabbed my ADD-ridden attention firmly and I swept through the pages with astonishing speed. There was something really satisfying about this. This book is the literary equivalent of piping hot french fries.
Another thing that kept me turning pages was the oddly pleasing dynamic between stoner Jake and queen bee Amanda. The relationship between these two cliches is hardly a new thing under the sun — hardly — but it made for fun reading nonetheless. More worrisome was the development of a potential love triangle between Jake, Amanda, and Cass. An everyman character gets to choose between the prom queen and the girl next door? It reads like a male fantasy, BUT, to be quite fair, how many books do I eagerly consume that are female fantasies? (Stephanie Perkins books *cough* Stephanie Perkins books *cough cough*)
Fortunately, I picked up the sequel, Undead With Benefits, from the library, along with Eat, Brains, Love. I’m very curious to see if book two has the same addictive quality and superb pacing as book one has. I’ll read and report back.