I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart
Published by Harper Teen on 10/1/2013
Genres: Comedy, Paranormal Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
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Jake Stephens was always an average, fly-under-the-radar guy. The kind of guy who would never catch the attention of an insanely popular girl like Amanda Blake-or a psychic teenage government agent like Cass. But one day during lunch, Jake's whole life changed. He and Amanda suddenly locked eyes across the cafeteria, and at the exact same instant, they turned into zombies and devoured half their senior class.
Now Jake definitely has Amanda's attention-as well as Cass's, since she's been sent on a top-secret mission to hunt them down. As Jake and Amanda deal with the existential guilt of eating their best friends, Cass struggles with a growing psychic dilemma of her own-one that will lead the three of them on an epic journey across the country and make them question what it means to truly be alive. Or undead.
Eat, Brains, Love is a heartwarming and bloody blend of romance, deadpan humor, and suspense that fans of Isaac Marion's Warm Bodies will devour. With its irresistibly dry and authentic teen voice, as well as a zombie apocalypse worthy of AMC's The Walking Dead, this irreverent paperback original will leave readers dying for the sequel that's coming in Summer 2014.
The title Eat, Brains, Love is obviously a funny on Elizabeth Gilbert’s hit contemporary novel, Eat, Pray, Love, but since I’ve never read it, I can’t tell you if there are other similarities.
I will tell you that Eat, Brains, Love was the most ridiculous and funny zombie comedy I’ve ever read. Okay, I’ve only read this one, but still. It was entertaining, it was hysterical, and yet at the same time, it was deep.
Jake Stephens is a typical stoner kid in a typical American high school: he sleeps in late, he does just enough to pass (sometimes), and he is only ambitious about his date nights with his video games in his parents’ basement.
Amanda Blake is the all-American beautiful blonde bomb-shell: every guy wants her, she dated the big, tough football star and she’s got a rack to die for.
So what do they have in common? Well, the fact that they ate a bunch of kids in their highschool cafeteria for one.
Eat, Brains, Love was such a deceptively deep story! Jake’s inner dialogue with himself – as well as with others – was great to read. I think the 1st-person narrative really worked here, because he’s not just a stoner kid. He has deep thoughts, and he’s scared of everything. He’s scared of real life, he’s scared of disappointing his parents, and he’s scared of his growing feelings for the hottest chick in the school they just ate their way through. I really liked how he compared things to his video games, such as the car chase, when he screams in his mind, “This would be like four stars! I’m in a four-star chase!” Yes, he was seriously comparing it to Grand Theft Auto. Nothing like a little brevity to a serious situation with the NCD (Necrotic Control Division) after you.
Cass is a teenage member of the NCD and a telepath. She’s been commissioned to hunt zombies by connecting with them using the last things they touched. Once she has that connection, she can find them anywhere. She was a hit or miss character for me, because – well, you know, I’m not sure why. I just didn’t connect with her like I did with Jake. She was, however, intelligent, and I felt for her because it seemed she was getting used (obviously). It’s like she knew she was doing this really great thing for the government, but then she finds out that zombies are not what she thought they were, and there are nefarious (future) plans in place for them. I enjoyed her struggle with that.
Cass spends most of her time inside Jake’s head, either tracking him for the NCD, or getting to know him and lusting after him. I have a feeling that Jeff Hart is setting us up for a love triangle, based on the ending of this book, which was pretty good, although I won’t spoil it for you.
There were a few things I found unbelievable, like a teenager getting Above Top Secret security clearance. I don’t think that would happen in real life. I did like how Hart used generic current events to make this story a little more grounded in reality, like the government leaking stories to the media to keep the zombies from the general public. There was some Men In Black type stuff in there too, like wiping memories. But I will say, I was a little uncomfortable with the use of school shootings as a cover story for Jake and Amanda. I guess we see it so much in our media, that it felt a little…off-putting for a novel that’s part comedy.
Something didn’t make sense to me. A quarantine of Iowa gets mentioned in the book, but I wondered how this hadn’t made the news. Everything makes the news, right?
All in all, I will be reading the next book in the series, and I seriously can’t wait for it! I have questions, like, what does Mr. Bow Tie have up his sleeve, and what is in store for Jake, Amanda and Cass? Basically, what happens next? Jeff Hart did a great job with Eat, Brains, Love. Fans of the movie Shaun of the Dead will really like this book!