The Book Cellar
View our feature on Joan Frances Turner's "Dust."
What happens between death and life can change a girl. Jessie is a zombie. And this is her story...
Nine years ago, Jessie was in a car crash and died. After she was buried, she awoke and tore through the earth to arise, reborn, as a zombie. Now Jessie's part of a gang. They fight, hunt, and dance together as one-something humans can never understand. There are darkplaces humans have learned to avoid, lest they run into zombie gangs. But when a mysterious illness threatens the existence of both zombies and humans, Jessie must choose between looking away or staring down the madness-and hanging on to everything she now knows as life...
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"Meet 15-year-old Jessica Anne Porter. She's a plucky teenager from a town near Chicago who spends most of her time hanging out, looking for something to eat, and finding a safe place to bed down for the night. Jessie's not a homeless person, though. She's an undead person. Turner's debut is a massively entertaining and seriously revisionist zombie novel. How revisionist? Well, her characters communicate with each other eloquently (although, to humans, it sounds like a lot of grunts). They remember their past lives: who they were, how they died. They have thoughts and emotions, and when a new kind of creature, a sort of human-zombie hybrid, appears out of nowhere, they feel fear. The author has taken the familiar zombie clichTs and given them a good shake. Jessie, who's been dead for nine years, is as real and human a character as anyone you're likely to meet in the pages of a mainstream novel, and Turner has created a new zombie mythology that is smart, scary, and viscerally real. Recommend this one highly to horror fans, even those who claim to have sated themselves on zombies."
-David Pitt, Booklist (starred review)