I obviously have the sense of humour of a 12 year old boy, because I laughed my ass off reading this book. SO FUNNY. Like snort your tea out your nose funny. I’m still giggling. But it’s more than hilarious. It’s also clever and charming and even a little bit romantic. You know, in the goth/zombie sense.
Jed is 12 years old, starting grade 7 at Pine Hollow Middle School. And he’s dead. Or undead. Cardiovascularly challenged. Flatline enhanced. A zombie. While most kids just have to worry about navigating classes and a new social structure in middle school, Jed worries about losing body parts. An unexpected sneeze can land his nose across the room (his record is 11 feet, 3 inches. Epic.) A particularly hard punt from the kicker while he holds the ball in position during a football game can send his hand through the uprights along with the ball. Wrong angle going into a trash can, and he can lose an arm. But lucky for him, all he needs is the heavy duty stapler and the duct tape that he always carries in his backpack, and he’s back in the action.
Robbie is in his 4th year of middle school, and makes it his mission to torture Jed as much as possible – shoving him in the trash can, locking him in the trophy case, removing his limbs and tossing them as far away as possible. The principal doesn’t think a kid with Jed’s challenges should be at his school, and looks the other way.
But Jed has his best friend Luke, and new friends Anna and Javon and Ray and Chris, and countless other students and teachers who look past his grey skin and “ooze” and see the boy.
Jed is a typical boy (minus the zombie thing). He doesn’t really like school, wonders what he will be when he grows up, gets pissed at his parents for being, well, parents, and is tongue-tied around girls. He wants to be like everyone else, wonders what it would be like, but can see the benefits of standing out in the crowd. Sometimes.
Author Scott Craven addresses good mid-grade themes – bullying, friendship, family dynamics, sexuality and self-esteem. He deals with each topic with dry humour and frankness, and (again, minus the zombie thing, unless you went to a very different school than I did) the scenes are all familiar and relevant.
This is a great middle school read, but ANYONE who loves a good laugh will have fun with it (as long as you don’t mind a good description of squelching an arm back in place…) Don’t miss the second and third books in the series, Dawn of the Jed and Return of the Jed.
Dead Jed is published by Month9Books, LLC.