Word Spelunking

Dead City

Dead City - James Ponti THREE WORDS: Wildly Fun & FunnyMY REVIEW: I enjoy a great zombie story, but I LOVE a zombie story that offers a fresh twist on the genre and I LOVE James Ponti's middle-grade book Dead City. In this book, Ponti has packed in all the things I love in my MG's, while offering readers a fun and exciting whole new zombie world.Seventh-grader Molly Bigelow doesn't fit in, not even among her fellow smart peers at MIST (Metropolitan Institute of Science and Technology), and it doesn't help that Molly rather hang around her mom's old workplace (the morgue!) than hang out with other kids. And Molly's life just gets weirder when she is recruited to join the Omegas, a secret organization that protects and polices New York's zombie population, and NYC is full of the undead. Molly soon finds herself infiltrating zombie parties in Dead City, solving mysterious puzzles, going up against the baddest zombie of all, learning things she never knew about her deceased mother (the greatest Omega ever!) and, strangest of all, doing all this with her first group of real friends.Dead City was such a wickedly fun and immensely enjoyable read! I really just loved everything about this book: the humor, characters, zombie world, and the writing. James Ponti has crafted a refreshing, exciting action-packed story that shakes up the zombie genre in the best way possible.Ponti is a delightful and highly entertaining storyteller and he has captured the perfect MG voice. Fast-paced and full of non-stop laughs and action, Dead City takes readers on a wild and thrilling ride through the tunnels under NYC all the way to top of the George Washington Bridge. The humor is a laugh-out-loud funny mix of wry sarcasm and clever wit, and some of the chapter titles are some of the funniest I've ever read (like: You're Probably Wondering Why There's a Dead Body in the Bathroom & You're Probably (Still) Wondering Why There's a Dead Body in the Bathroom).I love the unique and captivating zombie world Ponti has created. There's a whole undead community under NYC...and some rocking zombie parties! The zombies in this book aren't just mindless, brain eaters. There's actually three different levels of the undead, some, who can blend in with society, need to be protected, while others need to be killed. And the Omegas are a kick-butt, intelligent, resourceful group of teens that are up for both jobs. The secret Omega society that Ponti has developed is well thought out and smartly crafted, with great mysterious layers. Readers of all ages (including me) will be dying to sign up as an Omega!As cool as the zombie world and the Omega society are, the characters are even more awesome. With Molly, Ponti had me at "weird girl who hangs out at the morgue"! Molly is my favorite kind of heroine: the charmingly sarcastic, clever kind whose witty observations make me gigglesnort and who overcomes a lot of her insecurities and grows into a kick-butt zombie fighting machine, yet still makes mistakes and acts her age. She's impossible not to love, super relatable, and an irresistible narrator . Molly's three Omega team members, Natalie; Alex; and Grayson, are all fantastic and well-developed characters. The four teens make for a quirky, but endearing and fun group of zombie fighters and genuine friends.Molly's journey as an Omega is full of thrills, danger, and mystery. The Omegas don't just kick zombie butt, they have to follow clues and solve tricky puzzles. Readers will have so much fun figuring things out with Molly and her friends, I know I did. And all of Molly's training, smarts, and courage lead her to a gasp-worthy and twisty ending.MY FINAL THOUGHTS: With a whole new take on the world of zombies and zombie fighters, Dead City is an awesome edition that stands out in a packed genre. Ponti's excellent storytelling, fantastic characters, and unforgettable humor will have readers of all ages devouring Dead City and desperate for the next installment (I am!). A superb, must read!

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