I Was a Gay Teenage Zombie by Alison Cybe

I Was a Gay Teenage Zombie by Alison Cybe
Publisher: Deep Hearts YA
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (164 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

“Y’know, if I was a sexy type of undead, like a vampire or something, I’m sure I’d have some kind of supernatural power to bring any guy I liked under my charismatic control. Best I can hope for is to not decompose over someone’s shoes. How romantic.”

And you thought it was hard coming out as gay… Jay was a perfectly normal teenager, like any other awkward, antisocial, gay teenager. Until he was bitten by a mysterious zombie boy.
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Now, Jay has far more on his mind than he can handle. Not only is he struggling to keep his troubled family together and deal with his unfulfilled love for the hottest guy in school, he also needs to keep in check his urge to devour human flesh. All the while making sure his decomposition doesn’t show. As if he wasn’t already enough of an outsider…

This unique story offers a fresh and exciting new twist on the young adult LGBT coming-of-age comedy horror tale. Shockingly aware and witty, this thrilling tale by acclaimed horror and dark fantasy author Alison Cybe dishes up side-splitting laughter, stomach-churning horror, heart-rending drama and everything you’ll need to know about growing up when you just don’t fit in.

Some zombies are full of surprises.

Jay’s character development was marvelous. Like many teenagers, he dealt with moods that sometimes changed rapidly and often felt like no one in the world understood him. Ms. Cybe captured what it’s like to be a teenager perfectly. If that wasn’t enough, Jay also changed in all sorts of delightful ways as his body continued to look less like the person he’d been before he was bitten. He felt real to me, and that’s always something to praise.

There were some parts of the storyline that weren’t well developed. This was especially true when it came to some of the things the protagonist did to hide his injury, illness, death, resurrection, and undead afterlife from the people closest to him. I was surprised by how oblivious his parents were to all of these developments, and it would have been nice to have more reasons for them missing such blatant signs that something had dramatically changed in their son’s life. If they’d been included, I would have given this book a much higher rating. Everything else about it was great.

The descriptions of what it felt like to be zombie were well done. Every universe has their own rules about how this process works and how long it takes. This was definitely one of the longest transformations I’ve ever read about, so I was fascinated by how slowly Jay changed after he was bitten. It was also interesting to see all of the ways he didn’t conform to the typical stereotypes of this monster. Sharing specific details about them would give away too many spoilers, but the author did a great job of putting her own twist on traditional zombie lore.

I Was a Gay Teenage Zombie should be read by fans of the young adult and horror genres alike.

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