When the zombie apocalypse breaks out, no one knows what to do. Twins and their mother stay in their house, hidden away from everything. Members of a band, isolated in a rented cottage, don’t even realize it’s happening. A couple, right in the center of the outbreak, fight together to survive.
Why this book?: I loved Alison Evan’s Ida and Long Macchiatos and Monsters. Also, diverse zombie apocalypse? Sign me the fuck up.
Unlike a lot of people, I haven’t seen or read much zombie media. For some reason, I was just never interested in the living dead, so I just never bothered to pick up books with zombies or watch movies with zombies. But when I learned that one of my favorite authors was writing a YA novel with an all queer cast during a zombie apocalypse? I just couldn’t say no. Highway Bodies is a unique zombie story centering queer teens and found family during times of need. An intense story, a lot of warnings would need to be said for this book. But having read and loved this book so much, I can’t not recommend it.
The story is told in three perspectives: Jojo’s, Dee’s, and an unnamed trans girl. You get each of their experiences as the zombie apocalypse breaks out, and all three of them have different stories. I especially enjoyed Jojo’s because of their relationship with their mother and sister, as well as them being non-binary. While I loved every single character in this book, Jojo landed a special place in my heart. Each character was crafted so well, with each their own stories and backgrounds, and every detail was included seamlessly. Evans created life-like characters, so well that I felt like I knew them personally, and was fighting zombies beside them.
While I admit that the plot of this book is solely the teens surviving the zombie apocalypse, there was still a lot to worry about. These kids were so young, so having to watch them survive and find their way through this new world was so intense. There was a mini plot that involved a community that was very queerphobic, and it was so hard to have to read these proud queer kids be forced into a situation like that, but it fit so well and actually reflected a lot of the mainstream zombie apocalypse stories. That being said, there isn’t much plot to this book. It follows their survival, but that’s about it.
If you’re worried about gore in this book, it’s not bad! While there is obviously more gore than the average novel, Evan’s writing is very brief and to the point. They don’t dwell on the details, but in exchange we get so much action and interaction between the characters–if you couldn’t tell before, this is a very character driven book. And I loved every minute of it, because everything came together so perfectly in the end and I just wished this book was longer so I could get more of this story.
Final Rating: ★★★★★
I could not get enough of this story. I loved all of the characters, and just wanted to bring them all into one giant hug. I can only hope that Alison brings these characters back for one thing or another, even if they’re just short stories. The entire story was brilliant, and I loved that it focused more on the characters rather than the zombies and the gore. So many zombie books focus on the zombies and gore and survival, while this book focuses so much on the characters and their emotions.
Would I Recommend?
One-hundred percent, yes! Trigger warnings for gore, homophobia, misgendering, death, murder, and probably more that I’ve missed. I had so much fun with this book, and it has me experimenting with other zombie stuff because it was so good. Please, read this book so I can scream about it with others!!
Published: February 1st, 2019
Publisher: Echo Publishing
Page Count: 376
Genre: Young Adult/Horror/Science Fiction
Synopsis: via Goodreads
Who will you rely on in the zombie apocalypse?
Bodies on the TV, explosions, barriers, and people fleeing. No access to social media. And a dad who’ll suddenly bite your head off – literally. These teens have to learn a new resilience…
Members of a band wield weapons instead of instruments.
A pair of siblings find there’s only so much you can joke about, when the menace is this strong.
And a couple find depth among the chaos.
Highway Bodies is a unique zombie apocalypse story featuring a range of queer and gender non-conforming teens who have lost their families and friends and can only rely upon each other.
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