'My name is Adam Meltzer and the last thing I remember was being stung by a bee while swinging at a robot-shaped piñata on my twelfth birthday. I was dead before the candy hit the ground.'
Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie is narrated by the hilarious Adam Meltzer - pre-teen, worrywart, and now zombie. Adam's family gets the fright of their lives when he turns up at their door . . . three months after his funeral.
Soon Adam's back at school trying to fit in and not draw extra attention to himself, but when he sees his neighbour Ernesto transform into a chupacubra, and the beautiful Corina (Adam's number one mega-crush) turns out to be a (vegan) vampire, undead life is never going to be the same again.
A hilarious adventure caper - if Ferris Bueller met Shaun of the Dead - all about friendship and being yourself . . . even if you're undead.
I love Jeff Norton's MetaWars series. The story is the perfect blade of action, adventure and science fiction, all set in a brilliantly imagined dystopian future. I was therefore really excited to see Jeff at a blogger event held by Faber as this could only mean that he had a new book coming out. And then, I was even more than a little surprised when we were told about his new book, Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie, as on the face of it it could not have been more different from his previous work (of which I would happily have read more and more). My slight disappointment evaporated as soon as Jeff started reading the prologue to Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie. He had the room in tears of laughter, a feat that he repeated a couple of months later when he appeared at the Wonder of Words festival that I organised.
In his main character and narrator, Adam Meltzer, Jeff Norton has created a protagonist that will have readers in stitches. And if you thought zombies had been done to death (pun intended) then think again: a teen zombie with OCD? It is such a great concept as Adam's neurosis open things up for all kinds of puerile jokes (in the very best kind of way), and in particular to loads of great references to poo, germs and other toilet humour that kids will find hilarious.
Adam isn't the only great character in this book, as fortunately for him he is aided and abetted by two other kids who can only be described as unsual (ok, maybe weird is a better word, however unkind it may seem). First there is Ernesto, Adam's diminutive neighbour who just happens to turn into a Chupacabra during a full moon (it's a sort of mythological lizard ape hybrid thing) and then there is Corina, the object of Adam's (secret) affections who also happens to be a vegan vampire. Together they make a great team, and take it upon themselves to find out just how on earth a mere bee sting could kill Adam and then have him come back as a zombie.
Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie is one hell of a funny read, and with this new book Jeff Norton proves to the world that he is certainly no one trick pony. I hope this is just the first in a long series as I think there are so many more adventures this oddball trio could have in the future. It is also the kind of book that I think will benefit from word-of-mouth 'promotion'. Like the Wimpy Kid books, once one child as read it they are bound to tell all of their friends who will then also want to read it. If you're looking for something to make your 9+ child laugh out loud this summer then this should certainly be on your radar.
Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie is published on 7th August and my thanks go to the lovely people at Faber for sending me a copy.