By: John Hornor Jacobs
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Publication Date: February 2013
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: May 22, 2013
Dealing candy at the Casimir Pulaski Juvenile Detention Center was easy, way too easy for someone like Shreve. Booth was always watching him, but no way could he catch a shrewd dude like him. Shreveport Justice Cannon wasn’t a loose cannon by any means and he learned a lot from the school of hard knocks. Mom was a drunk and so tending to his younger brother, Vig, gave him a purpose in life, but until Jack Graves became his roomie in juvie he only had that candy. Heaths and Blow Pops were as good as gold in Casimir. Assistant Warden Horace Booth, who was determined to catch Shreve, was digging for it in his nose when he thought no one was looking.
Thirteen-year-old Jack was one of those kids who cried himself to sleep so it looked like he needed to be looked after kind of like Vig. “You got like a gajillion fingers,” Shreve blurted out when he saw Jack’s hands. It was really kind of a freaky thing and Jack didn’t appreciate the commentary, least ways the thing about being in a circus. A strange “thing” emanating from Jack pushed Shreve back. “No!” This kid had more than a gajillion fingers, he had some sort of power. Shreve shouldn’t have said anything about those fingers, but he wanted to listen to Mr. Quincrux interview Jack and needed to bribe Ox so he could listen through his wall.
“Your former foster brother will live ...” This kid’s powers were seriously strong and Quincrux wanted him for some reason. Jack had defeated “five older children in hand-to-hand combat.” Shreve’s powers began to quickly emerge and he remembered what happened when Quincrux got into his head. Quincrux’s “residue or something was left behind,” and Shreve was soon able to read minds and take control of other people’s bodies. The two boys had to escape from juvie because they had a mission to accomplish. Somewhere out there something was calling to them, but who or what was it?
Shreve and the twelve-fingered boy, Jack, meet up with zombies ... and become them. This is an amazing debut novel that captures the essence of two young men and their flight into the unknown world. The novel progressed so evenly and rapidly that the characters are well-rounded and their situation almost becomes believable. Shreve’s powers grow and begin to eclipse those of his young cohort, Jack. All the while, we still are grounded on earth as we feel Shreve’s angst at his “incarcerado” and the longing for his dysfunctional home, family, and girlfriend, Coco. Everything starts in Holly Pines Trailer Park, a place where there is no inkling that things will spiral into the twilight zone. This is an excellent zombie novel the YA crowd will love!
Quill says: This well-written novel will draw in the young adult who is drawn to action-packed, highly unusual reads.