Now that sleep has disappeared as one of the essential characteristics of being me, I’m reading much, much more. Early this morning, I finished a book called Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry. It’s a zombie book (a series, of course) — a genre that has quickly become one of my favorites. Why? Maybe because I think they are more real than the crappy old fall-in-love-with-a-vampire-werewolf-demon-angel story. Zombie stories are much more about the survivors than the zombies — how do the characters deal with danger, destruction, chaos? It’s everyday people trying to keep living in the midst of horrendous circumstances. So of course I love The Walking Dead series, but I can’t watch it at night — have to get caught up during the day when I don’t think the zombies can get me — I always think it’s funny that I can read some scary books in the dark, but not watch the same kind of tv shows or movies except when the sun is up!

Anyway, Rot & Ruin follows 15 y/o Benny Imura as he learns about family and bravery and love. I think it’s a classic hero’s journey, too, and easily the best book I’ve read since The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater.  Benny has to learn to defend himself against the zombies in the forest, but also the humans who act more like zombies than humans.

It will appeal to teens because I think that many of them learn that some people they thought they respected or admired turned out to be something completely different in certain circumstances. Maybe it’s a boyfriend the mom warned about; or a best friend that an uncle said was bad news. It’s growing up time. Happens to adults, too….but I think it’s harder for us to see sometimes; we’re better at telling teens how to live their lives and worrying about who they are hanging out with than we are taking out own advice. We stay too long in jobs that aren’t “right” — or in relationships/friendships we’ve outgrown, but find it too hard to let go — or get in ruts without changing something we know we should.

So, zombies are all around already. It’s what we learn about ourselves as we fight them that teaches us about ourselves and the ones we love and let into our lives.

My free advice for today. You are so totally welcome! 😉