Kate Grable is your typical teenager with aspirations to be a doctor in her post-high-school career. She is the student trainer for her high school’s mediocre football team, and she has just discovered that the coach may be giving the players steroids.
In Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris, life isn’t so bad for Kate until this unethical finding. But after some close calls with a few of the players, Kate does some investigating, and her worst fears are confirmed. It’s actually not steroids that the coach has been injecting in the players. Turns out, it’s a zombie virus.
Bayview High School is soon under attack from football playing zombies, and no one realizes it but Kate. Everyone else chalks up the players’ odd behavior to fatigue and poor manners, while she is sure that something else is going on. Why else would a football player bite her on the face while crooning longingly, “Mmm…Brains…”?
Things get out of control when Kate and her younger brother are attacked by the coach. The attack leaves her brother as the next possible victim, while Kate finally has the evidence she needs to go the authorities and hopefully put a stop to the mayhem: the coach’s severed zombie foot.
Throughout the story, our heroine Kate struggles with the usual aspects of teenage life while battling brain-crazed zombies. She hopes to find love with the quarterback of the football team (who is hopefully not a zombie). She wants to impress her teachers as a strong student with many skills. She wants to try to keep everyone in her life safe from flesh-eating monsters, while also getting her homework done on time.
The descriptions of zombies and their attacks in this story are disgusting and very well written. The walking dead are gross enough to give you the creeps, yet the story is comical enough to keep you from putting the book down. It’s a quick read with a story that flows with action from start to finish. My only complaint lies with the actions of our main character Kate, who seems to take a longer than necessary amount of time to decide what to do about the zombies. There are of course many obstacles in her way, including the coach-turned-zombie, the football team’s doctor who can’t be found, and Kate’s individual battle with her own epileptic seizures.
In the end, what Kate has always viewed as a personal handicap in her own life is what actually saves her (and everyone else) from becoming brain eaters. I doubt its easy fighting off zombies, and I have great respect for those like Kate who are able to do it and win. Not all zombie battles are as entertaining as this story, plus this one has a happy ending.
Megan Garrett is the librarian at the Sugar Creek Branch of the Kansas City Public Library. She also writes book reviews for the Independence Examiner newspaper.