New York Times bestseller; 6 starred reviews!
At once provocative, terrifying, and darkly subversive, Dread Nation is Justina Ireland's stunning vision of an America both foreign and familiar—a country on the brink, at the explosive crossroads where race, humanity, and survival meet.
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever.
In this new America, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead.
But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It's a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.
But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston's School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose.
But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies.
And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.
"Abundant action, thoughtful worldbuilding, and a brave, smart, and skillfully drawn cast entertain as Ireland illustrates the ignorance and immorality of racial discrimination and examines the relationship between equality and freedom." (Publishers Weekly, "An Anti-Racist Children's and YA Reading List")
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
One thing we learned while reading Dread Nation: Don’t wear a corset if you’re planning on fighting the undead. Author Justina Ireland imagines a reality in which zombies began plaguing the nation during the Civil War. A decade later, African American and Native people are “free,” but legally obligated to defend white society. When Jane—the book’s whip-smart biracial heroine—gets wrapped up in a conspiracy involving a corrupt politician, her frenemy, and her ex-boyfriend, zombies seem like the least of her problems. Ireland’s inventive gem of a novel is a fun, thrilling read that uses alternative history to examine institutionalized racism, class, and politics.
In this alternate-history horror tale, shortly after Jane McKeene was born, the dead rose and attacked the living, effectively ending the Civil War. A reunified army fought the shambling hordes until Congress passed the Negro and Native Reeducation Act, requiring adolescent children of color to train for battle. At age 14, Jane who is mixed race enrolled at Miss Preston's School of Combat for Negro Girls, hoping to avoid conscription by becoming a socialite's bodyguard. Three years later, Jane is close to earning her attendant certificate when she, her ex, and her rival stumble across a dastardly plot hatched by Baltimore's elite. First in a duology, Ireland's gripping novel is teeming with monsters most of them human. Abundant action, thoughtful worldbuilding, and a brave, smart, and skillfully drawn cast entertain as Ireland (Promise of Shadows) illustrates the ignorance and immorality of racial discrimination and examines the relationship between equality and freedom. Mounting peril creates a pulse-pounding pace, hurtling readers toward a nail-biting conclusion that inspires and will leave them apprehensive about what's to come. Ages 14 up.
Must read :)
I absolutely loved it!! So creative and entirely enticing. Couldn’t put it down!
This book was really good! The setting and the issues in the setting meshed really well. Who doesn’t love zombies and a strong female lead overcoming racism and the dead? I wish I could be like Jane, and even Katherine. They faced evil on all fronts, human and dead. Can’t wait for the next one!!!
A very enjoyable book! Highly recommend!