Thursday, December 29, 2011

Review of Zombie Tag by Hannah Moskowitz

Zombie Tag
By: Hannah Moskowitz

Summery from Amazon:
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.

In her first novel for younger readers, Moskowitz offers a funny and heartfelt look at how one boy deals with change, loss, and the complicated relationship between brothers.

My Review:

I really liked this book. It is told from the perspective of Wil, a twelve year old little boy, who's older brother has recently passed away. His family has stalled since his brother's passing. They have moved to a new home, but his brother's presence is still there. Wil feels as if he can't connect with his father anymore, and his mother just seems lost in her grief. Going so far as to want to place four settings for dinner instead of the three that are now required. Wil becomes convinced that he can bring his brother back using a bell that 30 years ago had woke the dead. (In Moskowitz's world that she has created things like this are possible, as well as unicorns and dragons and all sorts of other things.) Even though he isn't sure what will happen when he rings it, when he gets the chance he still does and wakes up all the dead within a five mile radius. Here's were things get even worse for Wil, because while his brother doesn't come back as a brain eating zombie, he does come back very different than the sixteen year old boy that he was. He is no longer happy and full of life, but instead the only emotions he seems to be able to feel are anger and fear. On top of that the bell has a book that was hidden with it. A book that reveals even more secrets that change not only Wil's life, but the lives of his friends as well.
Moskowitz did an amazing job with Wil and his feelings as he tries to find a way to bring his brother fully back to life. While reading there were times I wanted to cry. I could feel Wil's frustration and heartbreak as everything he tries fails. She also shows Wil, who has already obviously had to deal with the trauma of his brother dying, maturing even more as he has to deal with the consequences of his actions and his brother wanting to die all over again.
If there is anything I wish I could change about the book it would be that Moskowitz had filled in the world that she had created a little more. I would have loved to learn more about the different creatures that lived in it. However, this is only a minuscule want on my part and I really don't feel that it takes anything away from the story itself.
The story is moving, but it isn't always depressing. There are some very cute moments as well as some laugh out loud ones. Because of the whole death theme and the emotional issues the story deals with I don't know if I would recommend it to the younger side of the YA spectrum. Even though the main character is only 12 I don't know if I would want my 12 year old reading it, but there is nothing inappropriate, dirty or gory in the book so I guess it all depends on how mature you think your YA reader is as to whether or not you would have them read it. Again as a whole I really liked the story, it was moving and some parts were surprisingly deep, something that I didn't expect but it was a pleasant surprise. I would definitely love to read more of Moskowitz's work if given the chance.

*****In compliance with FTC guidelines, I'm disclosing that I received this book for free through GoodReads First Reads. ****
(I recommend everybody should go check out all the awesome first read giveaways they have!)

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