Potential spoilers ahead.
Hear me out, seriously.
Please don’t judge this book by the film. I’m actually a guilty fan of the film (ft. zombie Nicholas Hoult) but the book is so much deeper than the YA feels of the film. My Canadian bestie lent me her copy of this book because it’s her favourite novel of all time (correct me if I’m wrong, Em).
‘R’ is the main character and he’s this deep and brooding ‘zombie’ who’s searching for language and collecting examples of humanity to pile in his airplane home. He’s pretty neurologically advanced for a decaying corpse and I love him for it. His best pal, ‘M’, is probably my favourite secondary character because I relate hard to his filthy sense of humour and undying (geddit) loyalty.
Julie is one of my favourite depictions of a young female that I’ve come across in a long time. She’s ballsy, emotionally complex, funny and open-minded. She’s forgiving but she is the furthest thing from a weak character that you could imagine. Hooray for a male author actually creating a fully-formed representation of a young woman’s personality and giving her ~opinions~.
The novel is a deceptively easy read but is full of complex undertones and suggestions about human nature. My favourite moment in the entire novel comes near the conclusion, when Julie’s father transforms. The moment is obviously emotionally damaging for Julie but also for the reader and the ‘humans’ as everyone realises at the same moment that death isn’t technically the cause of the ‘curse’. It’s tragic and is a very physical representation of what grief and closed-mindedness can do to the human spirit.
On a brighter note, I am so in love with the descriptive language in this novel. Genuinely, every paragraph has a little gem tucked away in it. It’s the kind of writing that you want to keep tucked away or plaster all over your journal in your best attempt at calligraphy.
For your pleasure, here are some of my favourite quotes:
‘I want to change my punctuation, I long for exclamation marks, but I’m drowning in ellipses.’
‘In my mind I am eloquent; I can climb intricate scaffolds of words to reach the highest cathedral ceilings and paint my thoughts. But when I open my mouth, everything collapses.’
‘I’m watching her talk. Watching her jaw move and collecting her words one by one as they spill from her lips. I don’t deserve them. Her warm memories. I’d like to paint them over the bare plaster walls of my soul, but everything I paint seems to peel.’
‘The sports arena Julie calls home is unaccountably large, perhaps one of those dual-event ‘super venues’ built for an era when the greatest quandary facing the world was where to put all the parties.’
Okay, I could go on and on and on until this post was so long it crashed your computer. Please just trust that it’s a beautiful and intricate book. I’m passing on this recommendation from another bibliophile, so trust that it comes highly endorsed by some pretty well-read people.
Feel free to send me any book recommendations, I have an incredibly long summer stretching out ahead of me once my final essays are submitted.