Friday, March 30, 2012

Review: Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris

Title: Bad Taste in Boys
Author: Carrie Harris
Series: Kate Grable #1
Pages: 201
Publisher: Delacourte Press
Date Published: July 12th 2011
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Zombie/ Post-Apocalypse
Source: Library

Someone's been a very bad zombie.Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steriods are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe--not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate! She's got to find an antidote--before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town . . . and stay hormonally human.

My Review:
As much as I wanted to love this book (I've heard so much good about it!) I found myself hopelessly disappointed with what I found. Despite having one of the coolest covers of all zombie fiction, it just doesn't live up to the hype. It's not a bad just isn't a great one either. The writing sucks you in and is really fun and easy to follow, but I kind of felt like the story itself lacked direction and anything that could distinguish it in the paranormal genre.  There isn't a lot to say about it, other than it seems like there are 10,000 other zombie books out there right now that have exactly the same plot.

Despite not being a big fan of the book overall I still really liked the main character. Kate was actually a pretty fantastic protagonist that held her own in a book full of cheesy cut-out characters. Her voice was fun and cute without being annoying or whiny. She also was super smart and embraced her nerdyness and didn't seem to care what people thought about her. It's great to see that kind of confidence in such a young character, especially because she didn't hide behind snark and bluster to be strong...she just was a strong, smart, and confident girl who happened to be dealing with the zombie apocalypse. She is really likable because even though she is nerdy she can keep up with the football players and other "popular" kids at the school without letting it get too angsty like a lot of the underdog teenage stories can get.

A lot of the plot seemed cheesy and unbelievable. The logistics of the virus and the spread of the illness alone were cliche, contrived, and kind of idiotic...I vomiting football players on steroids? I also wasnt' thrilled by the "Happily Ever After" ending. It's like how in a Disney movie, only the evil people die...well in this book the zombies were magically cured and returned to their normal selves despite the infected kids having lost limbs and fingers and stuff...not likely...I felt that there were a lot of things left unsaid or explained away with vague answers that left you feeling like you don't have the entire story. One thing that bugged me was the creation of the virus in the first place...I don't want to give away spoilers...but you think that the main character would realize if she was making zombie-cultures in her free period...The cure itself was ridiculously easy. I want my characters to struggle, to work for the win...not just be bonked on the head with a solution to the worst problem they will ever face...I got frustrated with how simple everything was in the end and ended the book on a sour note.

I was a little thrown off by the direction Harris chose to take the tone of the book. I'm used to my zombie books being of one of two flavors: either gritty, terrifying, and gruesome; or campy, hilarious and satirical. This book was none of those things and only seemed to succeed at being cutesy, cliche, and predictable. I like a good Zom-com as much as the next girl, but this book doesn't pull funny off well. Sure it's witty and cute,  but it tackles the apocalypse too seriously to be a comedy and not nearly serious enough to be considered a's just kind of floating by itself in a class all it's own. The best thing to say about the story is that it moves quickly. You could definitely read this book in an hour or two with how fast-paced it is. However the speed might move so quickly at the expense of other elements in the story like character development and actual...I dunno...bonding with the characters and the story. 
I give Bad Taste in Boys 3 Keys. I thought about giving it 2 Keys but then when I thought about it I realized that it wasn't that bad. It's an average, run of the mill, kind of trashy, kind of cutesy zombie story. It won't be winning any awards any time soon, but it's better than a lot of the junk out there.To be honest...I didn't think there would be a sequel. Kate already saved the day and cured the zombies...what more is there to read? I don't really care enough about the characters or the possible love interest to really want to know what happens next in the series. Chances are I will pick up a copy of the sequel eventually down the road, but definitely not in the near future. This is just one story that doesn't seem to hold my interest as well as many other books.
P.S. Bad Taste in Boys has been on my TBR pile for FOR eva! So even though it satisfies quite a few challenges that I'm participating in, I will use it for the TBR pile challenge!


  1. "black vomiting football players on steroids?" O_O

    I've herad really mixed things on this one but I'm super curious about it just bc it sounds so... strange! haha.

  2. I've wanted to read this one for awhile now. I love your honest review. I probably will still read this one but I know now to go in to it with low expectations. It does sound fantastic though. Thank you for such a great review. Happy reading!

  3. I love me a good zombie story and Bad Taste in Boys is a particularly fun tale of limb loss, undead cannibalism and really bad breath. Kate is the perfect heroine and much closer to real life than your standard fictional science geek. She may be socially awkward from time to time, but she's not a total outcast. She has friends and a relatively normal family and a combination of insecurities and strengths that you would expect to find in any normal high school girl. The secondary characters - Kate's friends, her brother, Aaron, the zombies - are also well drawn and even though we don't know their life stories, they're three dimensional individuals.

  4. I know it is silly, but I loved Bad Taste in Boys. And that is the exact reason why. It was so silly. I literally laughed out loud through a good portion of the book. Sometimes that is exactly what I need and this one hits that spot. I can't wait to see what silliness she brings to Bad Hair Day in November!

  5. This is one of those books really young readers enjoy. I tried to finish it but I couldn't. It just wasn't for me.