Algonquin “Ali” Rhodes, the high school newspaper’s music critic, meets an intriguing singer, Doug, while reviewing a gig. He’s a weird-looking guy—goth, but he seems sincere about it, like maybe he was into it back before it was cool. She introduces herself after the set, asking if he lives in Cornersville, and he replies, in his slow, quiet murmur, “Well, I don’t really live there, exactly. . . .”
When Ali and Doug start dating, Ali is falling so hard she doesn’t notice a few odd signs: he never changes clothes, his head is a funny shape, and he says practically nothing out loud. Finally Marie, the school paper’s fashion editor, points out the obvious: Doug isn’t just a really sincere goth. He’s a zombie. Horrified that her feelings could have allowed her to overlook such a flaw, Ali breaks up with Doug, but learns that zombies are awfully hard to get rid of—at the same time she learns that vampires, a group as tightly-knit as the mafia, don’t think much of music critics who make fun of vampires in reviews. . . .
Selzer (Andrew North Blows Up the World) takes a delightfully wicked but thoughtful poke at teenage infatuations, vampire groupies, and pretentious goths. It's been years since post-human vampires, werewolves, and other undead creatures came out of the coffin to protest Megamart's exploitation of zombies as stockroom workers. But 18-year-old Alley Rhodes can't help rolling her eyes at her classmates' continuing obsession ( teenage vampires are a pain in the ass they never actually mature... but dating one has become the ultimate status symbol ). Then moody singer Doug catches her heart, and she's soon reconsidering her plan to flee Iowa for college in Seattle. She loves his authentic goth look (pale skin, unkempt hair, moth-eaten suit ), but she's forgotten the first rule of modern dating Google him. Doug died four years ago, and he's still wearing the suit he was buried in. Now all of her preconceptions are out the window and she has critical decisions to make. With snappy dialogue and a light, funny touch, Selzer creates a readable examination of love, self-sacrifice, and where to draw the line before you lose yourself. Ages 12 up.