Title: Play Dead
Author: Ryan Brown
About the book: For the first time in Killington High School history, the Jackrabbits football team is one win away from the district championship where it will face its most vicious rival, the Elmwood Heights Badgers. On the way to the game, the Jackrabbits' bus plunges into a river, killing every player except for bad-boy quarterback Cole Logan who is certain the crash was no accident -- given that Cole himself was severely injured in a brutal attack by three ski-masked men earlier that day. Bent on payback, Cole turns to a mysterious fan skilled in black magic to resurrect his teammates. But unless the undead Jackrabbits defeat their murderous rival on the field, the team is destined for hell. In a desperate race against time, with only his coach's clever daughter, Savannah Hickman, to assist him, Cole must lead his zombie team to victory. . .in a final showdown where the stakes aren't just life or death -- but damnation or salvation.
My Thoughts: I enjoyed reading this book. To me, it was a very tongue-in-cheek jab at football in Texas - where one team is taking enough steroids to choke a horse and the other team is brought back from the dead for "one last game". And the fact that the opposing team would try to take out Cole by injuring him and when that didn't work try to take out the team. At the same time there was a lot of gore (they are zombies) and a lot of humor.
"But did you get a good look at those guys, Logan?"
"So they're a little pale. . .no one's gonna expect them to look tan and rested."
"Pale? Cole, one of those boys had a cleat poking out of his kidney. They don't look pale, they look dead."
"Well then, we'll fix 'em up a little. What time does this memorial thing start?"
"Perfect. It'll be getting dark by then, make it harder for people to get a good look at the guys. Plus that gives us plenty of time to clean them up."
"Clean them up? I'm not going anywhere near those things."
"Look, this isn't a big deal. We'll line them up and hose them down, for godsake. You can work the hose and I'll pull out whatever's poking out of 'em. They won't feel a thing. Hell, they can't feel a thing." (p188, Play Dead)
Now maybe I just have a twisted sense of humor, but I found that funny! And of course, every good Zombie story has to have some romance right? Chemistry does build between Savannah and Cole, even though they barely spoke to each other before the bus accident. They both realize that the other person is more than they appear and begin to open up. Savannah and her dad (the coach) have a history that is not known in Killington, but explains a lot to Cole when Savannah finally tells him their history. I felt like I was left hanging a little at the end as there was an unspoken (written) exchange between Cole and Savannah and you are not told what it was! All in all though, it was a fun read and I would recommend it. I will be passing this book along to my daughter.
Publisher/Publication Date: Gallery, May 4, 2010