Title: The Cellar
Author: AJ Whitten
Pages: 290 (digital version)
Published: Expected May 2nd 2011
Imagine if you will, that William Shakespeare intended for Romeo and Juliet to be written about zombies. And not your typical, inaudible moaning, on auto pilot, Dawn of the Dead type zombies. No, no, no imagine if you will that these zombies walked, talked and went about daily life just like everyone else. Shopping at Abercrombie and Fitch, going to high school, driving a bright red Camero and wearing Ray Ban knock offs. Okay now, put all that together in your head, shake then pour. And Wall-ah! You have The Cellar.
How to begin? Well, first off this was my first book read by AJ Whitten, which by the way is a pseudonym for New York Times best selling author Shirley Jump writing with her daughter Amanda. Apparently, Amanda found the required reading in High School a drag and decided that turning the classics into something more fun with be a better idea. Many kudos on the idea Amanda, unfortunately not so many on the actual book.
Here's a few critiques I'd love to throw out there. First off, the story itself is jumpy. You change perspectives between 5 (or more) different people and at one point even a group of beetles. Yea, the bugs. It was incredibly hard to keep up with who I was and where I was at some points.
For being written in present day the fact that the word "Not" (used like "I really like that shirt your wearing. Noooot!") came up a handful of times was really disconcerting. That was a word that was used in the late 90's and the only person who still uses it today and thinks it's cool, is my dad. And I promise you even at the age of 31 I still shudder and cover my face if we are in public. If you want to target teens and the YA age group, writers in general have to stop trying so hard to sound like them.
Info. Where was it??!! I wandered through the first 120 some odd pages knowing that Mer had to go to the eye doctor a lot, and they made it sound bad but never once explained why - until half way through the book. And it wasn't a "build the suspense" thing either, they spoke about her eyes like you should have already understood.
In the end, the book was an easy, fast read. The idea behind it was great but for me it just didn't hold up. The gore was cool, not much of that in YA Fantasy these days but with an all over the place plot, it made it hard for me to really grasp onto and love. Sadly for AJ Whitten, I really don't think that the highly functional, incredibly intelligent, mind controlling Zombie idea is not going to catch on. I'm giving this book a 3, the writing style was great but the plot was lacking.