Friday, August 17, 2012

Review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter


Author: Gena Showalter
Release Date: September 25th 2012 (US) | October 2012 (AUS)
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Add it: Goodreads
Thanks to: HarlequinTEEN Australia for the review copy!
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….

There was a sneaky black hole hidden within the very first page of Alice in Zombieland, sucking me in without second thought of my eating, sleeping and general-living habits. Alice lives a sheltered and controlled life. Her father sees monsters - he's been this way since before she was even born. She thinks he's crazy, but that doesn't stop him from preventing Alice and her sister from never stepping foot outside their house after dark, when the monsters roam free. Until the night of Alice's birthday, when she convinces her father to let her sister attend a dance performance she's been so excited about. That's the night Alice became an orphan. Father, mother, sister - all gone in the car crash. A car crash where Alice is sure she saw her father's body beaten eaten by monsters. Taken into the care of her grandparents, Alice adapts to her new life, where Rabbit-shaped clouds loom ominously above, zombie-brides hover outside her bedroom window and the mysterious Cole Holland and his gang are hiding a deadly secret that Ali's about to get twisted up in.

Alice in Zomibland sports such a stellar cast of characters. Ali herself is the kind of heroine you want to read about; she gives as good as she gets. She can hold her own in both a fist fight and verbal sparring; girl has she-balls! Her determination, courage and overall kickassery really make her one of the better heroines to read. Then there's her Nana and Pops, who I wasn't expecting to be so adorable! They really try to connect on a 'teen' level with her, which provides plenty of laugh-out-loud reactions as they get it all wrong. You just want to wrap them up and take them home to be your own grandparents. Except when you have a boy come over. Trust me, you want to avoid that interrogation.

I can't go any further without mentioning Ali's new best friend: Kat. Oh, I freaking LOVED KAT! She and I shared an insta-love connection the moment she forced her way onto page, even though I did ponder whether or not she was on crack. Without question, she has to be one of my favourite ever best-friend characters. She's bold and fierce and HILARIOUS, and the most loyal, fluffy, little pitbull in the world. Her on-again-off-again, sort-of relationship with Frosty (his nickname will grow on you, it has a backstory) was so entertaining. I think I love it more than if they were actually together. They're perfect for one another in that, 'Go away / Come closer / I love you / I hate you,' kind of way... she's always pushing, he's always pulling, and you're always cheering for more, more, more.

The sexual tension between Ali and Cole took some time for me to enjoy. I wasn't a huge fan of their growing romance in the beginning, and I was shaking the book in substitute for Ali's shoulders when she went into the forest alone with him! But the more time they spent together, the more I enjoyed their banter and confidence, the way neither of them would wield to the other. I love that Ali stood her ground. Cole can be an intimidating figure, but she didn't allow him to think he could tell her what to do, even if she was a little nervous at times. It was interesting to watch how they adapted to one another; growing to respect their strong personalities. Cole is not a warm and fuzzy kind of guy, but he can't be in his situation. He's fiercely loyal and protective of those he cares about. He gives tough love, but it comes from a genuinely good place. He can be cheeky though, and with patience, you see his softer side peek through.

This has to be one of the most unique zombie books I've read. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but never would I thought of.... THIS. With weird visions when certain people make eye contact,  spirit-fighting, balls of fire and hoards of zombies who don't exactly feast in the traditional way. It all fits together to make perfect sense in such a refreshing way. For those who think they've seen it all when it comes to zombies, Alice will definitely surprise you!

Whether you're a fan of Gena's previous work or not, I highly recommend this to anyone eager for something a little different. A book that keeps you on your toes, giggling into the night or clutching a hand to your heart in despair. It's the perfect balance of humour and seriousness. It manages to strongly convey emotions of loss, sadness and regret... I wasn't expecting these to punch me with such impact, especially so early in the story. Or for the genuine moments of hilarity that drew a grin on my face with permanent marker. Alice in Zombieland is the universal meal of choice for zombies, carnivores, vegetarians, freegans and rainbow munchers. It has enough appeal to leave everyone's mouth watering for MOOOOOOOOOOORE!

4.5/5 Golden Apples!

Add it: Goodreads

31 comments:

  1. This review is BADASS. I've got a copy on my shelf and though I was already looking forward to starting it, now I'm dying of excitement to start reading my copy! *sqeeeeee* Ali sounds amazing, as do all the other characters. Kat sound epic and crazy and loony...and a bit like you ;D Intrigued by Cole as he sounds really different and not at all like your typical YA book boy. I'm not a zombie fan, I've never even read a book about the brain eating species, but the premise for Alice in Zomibland, along with your brainy, awesome thoughts, have totes perked my interest! I love, love, love this review. Your reward? A shirtless Gabriele.

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  2. they sound so awesome. awesome awesome/ i hope i can get the paperback soon. a badass review brodie

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  3. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE BRODIE! I'm currently reading this (although I'm only up to page 20-ish?) but ME LIKEY! I haven't read many books about zombies (the last one I remember reading about is Dearly, Departed?) but this book sounds AMAZING! I haven't read books by Gena Showalter too but I can't wait to finish Alice in Zombieland. I knew I had to read it just by looking at the cover. Isn't it extremely gorgeous? Plus, Cole is intriguing! I hope the romance between him and Ali is SIZZLING! ;)

    Awesome review, Brodie! ♥ SO glad you enjoyed it!

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  4. I LOVE zombies!!... so I can't wait for this to get here in October! And the cover is gorgeous! Great review!

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  5. MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE WANTS TO READ THIS VERY, VERY BADLY NOW!!!! Hahaaa Everytime I read "Alice" I think of caps-lock rival ALICE. I freaking CANNOT wait to meet Ali and Kat and COLE! I'm SO intrigued by the romance :D Meeee craves a some sexual tension between characters right now :) hahahaaa Anywayyyy I'm SOOOOO glad you enjoyed this Brodieeeeeeeeeeeeeee!<3 I'll definitely be reading this one VERY SOON. Fabbb review!

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  6. Awesome review, Brodie! Yet again. hehe. I have to say I wasn't a HUGE fan of this book, even though I'm a fan of the author's previous YA series. But I can totally understand why you loved Kat - she was a pretty awesome gal, at least most of the time. As for the whole Ali and Cole situation . . . it took me quite a while to warm up to them, more so with Cole, but it was still a very unique zombie book. Not at all what I expected . . .

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  7. Oh my god, you make this book sound SO GOOD! I will seriously have to pick it up soon, it sounds nothing like what I expected - it sounds BETTER! Oooh, excitement! :D Thanks for the awesome review, Brodie!

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  8. OH, oh, so now you think you're cool for raving about Alice in Zombieland before September? Well, I've got a news flash for you, Brodie, you big meanie, I'M NOT APPRECIATIVE. This is the most teaserrific review of this novel I've encountered and I swear I want to strangle you for making me read this. Now, I can't stop my physical undeniable yearning for this book. I hate you, but I love you, and then I hate you some more. HOW CAN YOU DO THIS TO ME? *yanks hair*

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  9. Yaaay! This looks so good, and that cover is to die for. The characters sound amazing and loveable. Awesome review, Brodie! :)

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  10. I absolutely adore your review <3 I was completely sucked into the story you are telling her and it was ashame that it ended. You totally sold this book to me. I already couldn't wait to read it, but now I just want to scream out of frustration :p I don't want to wait any longer :( I LOVE fairy tales and retellings & zombies, so this sounds like the ultimate book for me. Thank you so much for sharing your lovely review with us.

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  11. Awesome! I love your last sentence so much!!!!!!! "rainbow mushers"! Now where can i meet them? Gosh, i really want to read this book now!!!!! Sweet review Brodie!
    I really want to meet Kat!

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  12. My copy of this book got lost in the post :/. I'm so upset, as I was really looking forward to it. All the characters sound amazing (especially Kat!), and I'm definitely intrigued by these zombies! So sad I won't get to read this one for a while, but really glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the awesome review, Brodie :).

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  13. Ali sounds like such a good main character with secondary ones to back it up.
    Thanks for review,
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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  14. *chuckles* she- balls! I love that, Brodie. :) I'm so, so thrilled you loved this, because I've been wanting to read it for AGES. It sounds like very a fun, superb novel with such great characters and unique zombies! Although not so much an Alice in Wonderland novel, eh? And that cover... *dies* I WANT. :D

    Brilliant review Brodie, not that I expected any less of you. ;)

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  15. I hadn't even heard of this up until a couple of weeks ago and decided it wasn't for me but your review has made me VERY curious, Brodie! I'm not a huge fan of zombie books but I now want to know what is so different about this one and I really like the sound of Alice! Also, I am yet to read anything by Gena, so maybe I should start with this!

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  16. I agree with practically everything you said! This book was a lot of fun and I ended up enjoying it too. I get what you mean about the romance. The banter won me over in the end. :) And yes! The zombies in this were really different! I can't wait for the next book. Amazing review Brodie! :D

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  17. Unfortunately this was a bit of a miss for me - I didn't really like the romance...or Kat! :o *hides* Hehe, glad you enjoyed it though! Isn't the cover prettyyyy?! :D

    Great review! <3

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  18. Oh gosh oh gosh oh gosh, Brodie, this review is AMAZING!! This book's been under my radar, but it looks like I need to get a Vivi-Owl to snatch up a copy ASAP >_< How you described those characters, from awesome Alice to the adorable grandparents, omigosh, I neeeeed to reeeead thiiiis!! <3333 Love the gorgeous cover as well, and your review really had me completely pumped up all the way! Thanks for sharing it!

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  19. I didn't really enjoy Gina's previous ya series, but your review has changed my mind about reading this book:) I adore zombies and this story sounds so fascinating. I'm glad you liked it!

    Danna

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  20. Hi Brodie! *hangs head in shame* I haven't visited your blog in weeks until now. I'm SO sorry!! Lost net connection and was busy with thesis. As usual, your enthusiasm is just infectious. I'm looking forward to this release, too! It sounds so fun, right? Stellar characters, sexual tension and unique zombie story?? I'm in! Great review!

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  21. Wonderful review, Brodie!(: I've actually seen a lot of mixed reviews for this one as many readers seem to have thought it was quite typical of YA Lit these days and had a lot of emphasis on romance opposed to zombies, so I took it off my TBR-Shelf, but I've just added it back on because of your review! It seems as if this is a novel I simply can't miss, so I'm looking forward to reading it when it releases! Thanks for the helpful review, Brodie! :D

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  22. I loved this book , I loved Cole, lol!! What I loved so much was he made the reader work for him. It wasn't this insta thing for us as a reader, he even made Ali work to tell him what she saw. He didn't give anything away easily. I found him a refreshing character. I am almost ashamed to say that I may have connected with Kat more than Ali in this first instalment. Is that bad of me?

    I LOVED the original thing with the Zombies....how cool was that! Now I have been reading quite a few Zombs of lately and this was just wonderful. Who would have thought to do that with them? Well, Gena:D:D

    Frosty and Kat...lol! Aren't they darling together. She is like a push-me, pull-you, funny and the way Frosty handles her, hehe!!

    Wonderful review Brodie!!! I have to admit I got rather excited about Alice In Zombieland even before I read it. I didn't realise how much I enjoy the fear of the zombie, but this take on them was even more frightening for me:D

    Mich

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  23. BRODIE, you have filled me with NEED for this book! I'm actually desperate to get my hands on it and your review only makes me want it even more! I can't wait until October :(

    Just WOW. The characters all sound so amazing and diverse. Ali seems totally badass - I adore strong heroines who are courageous and determined (it makes me wish I was more like that!) and who doesn't love an adorable pair of grandparents? And Kat sounds totally awesome too - it's always a bonus when there's a kick-ass best friend on the sidelines!

    I've never read a zombie book before so I'm definitely gonna start with this one! It sounds very unique and the characters seem really likeable!

    'Alice in Zombieland is the universal meal of choice for zombies, carnivores, vegetarians, freegans and rainbow munchers. ' - All I can say now is: I NEED THIS!

    Thanks for the A-MAZING review, Brodie <3 I've been so busy this week that I haven't had time to tell how much I ADORE your new design!!! It's so pretty and mysterious and... *sighs* It's just beautiful <3 Oh, and I just noticed you're reading, Deadly Hemlock! Yay!!! So glad you decided to pick it up, I really hope you're enjoying it as much as I did!

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  24. Fantastic review! I haven't gotten around to reading my ARC of this even though I'm absolutely desperate to read it! Haha :) You have persuaded me to pick it up soon. Thanks for sharing!

    Steph @ SteppingOutOfThePage.co.uk

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  25. Great review Brodie. I started this the other day but I've only got to like page 50 before I picked up an adult book. I'll go back to it later but I'm glad you liked it! Xx

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  26. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ...

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ME CAN'T THINK. I'M JUST SO EXCITED TO BLOODY READ THIS!

    I was kind of wondering about the mythology and zombies and monsters and... this honestly sounds like absolutely NOTHING I've ever read. And that? THAT SOUNDS EXCITING.

    Seriously, Brodie, I love your reviews. SO BAD. I'm trying to think of a way to explain how much but they all sound incredible innapropriate, like 'review Boners', and I mean... ew... heh. Matt Boner...

    *runs away giggling*

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    Replies
    1. Not this again... *remembers Matt Boner, fairy twitter conversation*

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    2. Ahahaha! And you didn't even see the ORIGINAL one >:D

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    3. YOU BRAIN. HONESTLY. It fascinates me as much as it terrifies me. Just one HOUR I want to spend in there. <333333333333333

      You can't tell me you don't call him Matt Boner too, Becca! At least... in you head :P

      ALSO: READ ALICE READ ALICE READ ALICE. THE BOTH OF YOU. READ ALICE.

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  27. Eeee. This review is awesome! I was already excited about this book but now I'm even MORE excited. How do you do it Brodie? How do you just make me want to read every book you're reading?

    Can't wait to get my hands on this book - and I've never even read a zombie book before! :D

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  28. Are you trying to make me put aside what I am currently reading and grab my copy of this? Because that is what I feel like doing. I told myself I was not going to read your review until after I had read the book, but I caved and I am SO GLAD I DID! This sounds amazing, and epic and wonderful. I love the sounds of Ali and Kat especially! Thank you for making me extra excited about this one....now to get those pesky review books out of the way so I can experience it for myself.

    AMAZING review!

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