BY MINDI SCOTT
*See what I did there? 😀
Anyone who knows me knows that I have never liked watching horror or suspense movies. For the most part, I avoid anything that looks like it has the potential to scare me. The same goes for the books I choose to read too.
I can still clearly remember night after night as a child, lying in bed awake with my mind racing with thoughts of The Wicked Witch of the West, Maleficent in dragon form, and Those Gross-Looking Pale People Who Bite You. I also remember being age twenty-two and having to keep flashlight next to me while I slept. Just in case any dead people showed up in my apartment.
(Side note: Typing that last paragraph just reminded me of the time I watched Once Bitten with my cousin as a kid and later explained to my mom that the reason the main character had been chosen by the Countess was because he was still a virgin. My mom didn’t like hearing those words come out of my nine-year-old mouth, I tell you what.)
So when I heard well over a year ago that Courtney Summers, one my favorite authors, was getting a novel about zombies published, I didn’t know what to do. I want to read all of Courtney’s books forever and ever, but how could I read This is Not a Test?
In the meantime, I discovered that Emma Stone had been in a movie called Zombieland. I love Emma Stone and I want to watch her movies, but how could I watch that one?
The solution to my zombie dilemmas came from the book Zombies Vs. Unicorns. A friend gave it to me to borrow, saying that I didn’t have to read the zombie stories if I didn’t want to, but that I might just like some of them. I was wary, but I wasn’t reading anything else at the time so I decided to give it a shot. For the unicorns only! But I ended up reading all of the short stories in the book, and I realized afterward that I’d enjoyed a greater portion of the ones about zombies than of the unicorns.
After making it through those short stories, I went on to read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. I’d actually had the author sign the book for me at an event in 2010, but I had no intention of ever reading it. (And, by the way, I just finished her two other novels in the trilogy during the past week.)
And that was when I came to strongly suspect that I could probably experience more zombies without nightmares. I’ve since watched (and loved) Zombieland, and read (and loved) This is Not a Test, which might be my very favorite Courtney Summers novel so far.
It isn’t the zombies that interest me so much in these stories, of course. It’s the living people. It’s the desperate situations they find themselves in and the choices they make about survival and human connections. I love to ponder the potential metaphors about the zombies, and I find it all so inspiring–these stories about people who have to decide how just badly they want to keep living and how they’re going to go about it.
I don’t know if I can officially say that I’m a convert to zombie stories on the whole, or that I’ll ever have the urge to branch out to reading or watching another facets of horror. But for now, I know that the trailer for Warm Bodies makes me smile and tear up every time I watch it. I can hardly wait for this movie. (And lucky Michelle has already seen it, by the way! She says it’s cute!!!!!!!!!)
What about you? How do you feel about zombie stories? Any recommendations?