It doesn’t take long for football team manager Kate Grable to figure out that not only is the coach giving the team steroids, but they’re having an unintended effect on the boys. The boys who have been dosed turn into zombies with a thirst for human flesh. As the zombies threaten to take over the school (and the town), Kate rushes to figure out a way to protect herself, her crush Aaron, and her little brother, Jonah.
Carrie Harris’s Bad Taste in Boys is pretty mindless. It’s a fun, often funny romp through a world in which zombies exist but aren’t as terrifying as they maybe should be. Harris has a light sense of humor and a quick wit, and those two things carry the rather thin premise of this book all the way to the end. Cartoonish violence and virtually no sexual content make this a good pick for the younger teen set.
The character of Kate is given more development than any of the characters who populate her world. She is smart, funny, and mostly fearless. Added to this is the fact that she’s a total science nerd with clear goals and aspirations, and we have a much stronger heroine than many YA books today. Of course, Kate’s quest to find a cure to the zombie virus takes a little too long, as the answer has been staring her in the face since nearly the beginning of the story. This obtuseness was hard for this reader to swallow but will likely be ignored by many readers.
The rest of the characters in the story aren’t given nearly as much development. Kate’s crush, Aaron, is literally an every boy because I couldn’t tell you a thing about him. He could be anyone. Kate’s parents are almost nonexistent, her friends are pretty interchangeable, and while her brother Jonah has a couple of good moments, he’s pretty underdeveloped, too. All of this almost doesn’t matter, though, because Harris’s story is whip-fast, paced extremely well, and really, really fun.
Recommended for reluctant readers and the younger teen set looking for a fun summer read. This is one that can be torn through in a day. Fans of series are in luck: this is the first in a planned series; the next features Kate taking on werewolves.
Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris. Delacorte: 2011. Library copy.