Passing Strange (Generation Dead) by Daniel Waters

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Passing Strange (Generation Dead) by Daniel Waters

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Third volume in this enjoyable series about teenagers coming back from the dead. It's not flagging yet!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: July 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1847389600

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Karen DeSonne, the sexiest zombie amongst the many differently biotic teenagers in Oakvale, gets a turn at centre stage in the latest in Daniel Waters's Generation Dead series.

Karen has always worn a disguise. When she was alive, her various camouflages hid the crippling depression that engulfed her so often and eventually led to her suicide. Now she's dead, make up, hair dye and blue contact lenses enable her to "pass" as a living girl. She talks fluently and her movements are fluid, unlike most of her differently biotic peers, whose pauses, stutters and jerky movements mark them out for all to see.

And now her friends are hidden under the ice of Oxoboxo lake - you can live underwater if you're a zombie, y'see, it's not as though you need to breathe - framed for a murder and hiding from an increasingly hostile living society, Karen decides to make the most of her similarities to the beating hearts. She'll go undercover and she'll prove their innocence. Which means doing the unthinkable: dating Pete Martinsburg, the boy who shot Adam, and the one Karen suspects of framing her friends.

It's a dangerous game, and with the blue fog of depression threatening to engulf her again, Karen's going to need every last ounce of strength and purpose she has...

Passing Strange is the third in the Generation Dead series. The press sheet positions it solidly in amongst the paranormal romance genre, as typified by what it calls the Twilight phenomenon. Thankfully, it does emphasise that it has depth - which, let's face it, Twilight does not. I see the connection and understand the sales potential behind this, but I kinda think it does the Generation Dead series a slight disservice. It does have depth and it's full of pauses for thought. Although the subject matter is entirely different, I'd be more inclined to ally it with The Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd, which cleverly melds a popular teen genre with serious comment in an absorbing but accessible way.

I missed Adam and Phoebe, our previous central characters, but I was rather glad Waters turned his attention to Karen, the quickest and least zombieish of his undead teenagers. She's an attractive character, so full of pep and vitality, that she provides all sorts of interesting juxtapositions to explore. The fascinating subtext underlying the main narrative is all about the ways in which Karen is gradually becoming somehow less dead. Why is this? And what makes a dead person anyway? Is it a beating heart? Or is it something entirely less corporeal? Emotional connections, perhaps? It's something very basic but absolutely crucial, isn't it? What makes us human?

I really enjoyed Passing Strange. This series isn't showing any signs of flagging yet.

My thanks to the good people at Simon & Schuster for sending the book. And can I just say that they've picked much nicer jackets for this series than their American counterparts? Well done, chaps!

Teenagers return from death in a very different way in both The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E Pearson and Crashed by Robin Wasserman. Younger children might enjoy the high adrenalin and more traditional zombies in The Enemy by Charlie Higson. Fans of the series who are keen to get back to Tommy, the first zombie we really got to know way back at the beginning of the first book of the series, should head off to his blog - it's completely up-to-date!

Buy Passing Strange (Generation Dead) by Daniel Waters at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Passing Strange (Generation Dead) by Daniel Waters at

Buy Passing Strange (Generation Dead) by Daniel Waters at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Passing Strange (Generation Dead) by Daniel Waters at


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