The Undead Truth of Us
Britney S. Lewis
Death was everywhere. They all stared at me, bumping into one another and slowly coming forward.
Sixteen-year-old Zharie Young is absolutely certain her mother morphed into a zombie before her untimely death, but she can’t seem to figure out why. Why her mother died, why her aunt doesn’t want her around, why all her dreams seem suddenly, hopelessly out of reach. And why, ever since that day, she’s been seeing zombies everywhere.
Then Bo moves into her apartment building―tall, skateboard in hand, freckles like stars, and an undeniable charm. Z wants nothing to do with him, but when he transforms into a half zombie right before her eyes, something feels different. He contradicts everything she thought she knew about monsters, and she can’t help but wonder if getting to know him might unlock the answers to her mother’s death.
As Zharie sifts through what’s real and what’s magic, she discovers a new truth about the world: Love can literally change you―for good or for dead.
In this surrealist journey of grief, fear, and hope, Britney S. Lewis’s debut novel explores love, zombies, and everything in between in an intoxicating amalgam of the real and the fantastic.
Loss of a Loved One, Blood Depiction, Gore, Body Horror, Grief
Considering this was one of my most anticipated releases of 2022, you could have guaranteed that I was jumping on the blog tour! And… this certainly did not disappoint, I really really enjoyed this.
This is a story on grief. Following Zharie after her mothers dead, we’re introduced to zombies. Everywhere. Zharie doesn’t know where they came from or why she’s the only one who can see them. And it doesn’t help that a Bo– overly friendly Bo, just so happens to move in upstairs… and is a half zombie. Or just not quite human…
This was a breeze to get through. The writing? The prose? The descriptive atmosphere? The easy breezy dialogue? Yes, I was fighting a walnut in my throat a time or two, but honestly, this is a great debut. Now, don’t go into this expecting a horror novel. Given a few pages, I figured out fairly quickly where we were going with the zombies. Yet, delving deeper into it really made reading experience a personal one.
Watching Zharie go through her grief, it felt lonely and isolating– considering our main character is a bit introverted and to herself, I saw a lot of myself in her. The humor, the imagination, the utter disgust with beer; it’s always a plus to see oneself in a character, but genuinely– I did connect with her on a unique level.
I do feel like the resolution between certain characters was rushed? I do wish that Bo and Z had a bit more… chemistry? Because I liked Bo, Bo was cute. And on a scale of personally and objectively, we’re tipping moreso towards personally. I do appreciate that he wasn’t’t delegated to the love interest box– he was a good friend first. He had his own grievances and issues and plight. He was well rounded and his own person.
Honestly, everyone felt very 3 dimensional. The flashbacks weren’t too much; getting glimpses of Zharie’s mother, their time together and the dance competitions and how bright she burned, you could feel how losing that support her mother provided was visceral.
Listen, grieving is a big theme of this story, but it’s also about unrequited love. It’s about confronting things head on and opening up to life and how we cope when there’s a lack of support. There’s found family and sunrises and dancing and Van Gogh.
Britney Lewis is an author of young adult fiction, currently working on her debut novel. She has a B.A. in corporate communications with an emphasis in business and art. She strongly supports We Need Diverse Books, and she’s an avid follower of #DVpit and #BVM.
When Britney isn’t daydreaming about new stories, she can be found binge-watching TV shows with her fiancé and her pup or practicing West Coast Swing. She lives in Kansas City.