Jan 7, 2012

Book Review: Zombie Tag by Hannah Moskowitz

Zombie Tag by Hannah Moskowitz
Release Date: December 20, 2011
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; 240 pages

Wil is desperate for his older brother to come back from the dead. But the thing about zombies is . . they don't exactly make the best siblings.

Thirteen-year-old Wil Lowenstein copes with his brother's death by focusing on Zombie Tag, a mafia/capture the flag hybrid game where he and his friends fight off brain-eating zombies with their mothers' spatulas. What Wil doesn't tell anybody is that if he could bring his dead brother back as a zombie, he would in a heartbeat. But when Wil finds a way to summon all the dead within five miles, he's surprised to discover that his back-from-the-dead brother is emotionless and distant.

I’m a huge fan of Hannah Moskowitz so when she announce awhile back that she was having her first Middle Grade book released, I knew I had to read this even though I’ve never ever bothered reading MG before now. I get weird looks as it is for reading Young Adult, I couldn’t even imagine the looks I’d get for reading something lower than YA. But you know what, who cares? You’re out there reading, who cares what you’re reading. (I honestly would expect to be given these types of looks if I was always in the erotica section but you know, I guess that’s just me?)

Now, on to her book, ZOMBIE TAG, I was very curious how she would do this. Hannah isn’t one to shy away from language and I knew there couldn’t be any in MG but you know what? This book is probably my favorite of her books (that are published, that is) and there’s not one F-word in there. (Anyone who knows me knows I love that word…) First off, I wish I would’ve known about this game, Zombie Tag, when I was a kid because it would’ve been so much fun to play. No adult is going to want to play this with me now so I guess I’ll just have to teach my future kids.

We find out Wil, who is only twelve years old, lost his older brother, Graham about six months ago and he still hasn’t gotten over the loss. When they were younger, they were left in a car and ever since then Graham doesn’t like being trapped places which is terribly sad because he died in a locked bathroom having an asthma attack. Now, this struck home hard with me because my best friend passed away a few years back from an asthma attack so I completely understand where Wil’s pain is coming from. But also to have Graham die trapped in something small, like a bathroom on top of not being able to breathe. I can’t even imagine.

When Wil finds out there’s a way to bring back the dead simply by ringing a bell, he does everything he can to get his hands on it. What he wouldn’t give to get his older brother back. We all can relate to that. Most of us have lost someone we love and would do anything just to get them back but in what state? Will they be just like they were before they died or will they be like the zombie’s in Wil’s game of ZOMBIE TAG, only after your brains? What if it were neither but something much worse and much more painful? Would you still want to ring that bell?

I had no idea how heartbreaking this story was going to be. Wil has Graham back but he really doesn’t have him back. I give props to Wil. For being as young as he is, he surely is a strong guy. Not physically but mentally and emotionally. He throws himself into making sure he gets the Graham he lost back and he fights like hell. But is it enough?

Seriously. Everyone needs to read this book. Not only is it fun (at times) but it’s so depressing it hurts. It’s very relatable even if you are comparing yourself with a twelve year old. We’ve all been there, all thought the same things he has. We’re all human and wishing like hell we could get back the one person we lost who left us way before they should have. It’s a quick read, but it’s such an emotional roller coaster. Trust me, you’ll be feeling sad during most of the book but the ending… *sigh* the ending is absolutely perfect and lifts your spirits. READ THIS!

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