I was hooked!! The zombie apocalypse happens fourteen years earlier and this is the story of how people (less than 30,000 that they know of) have survived. Civilization only exists if we agree as a community to be civilized. Benny Imura, now age 15, needs to find a job and after failing at several, he joins his older brother in the family business of zombie hunting. But quiet, reserved Tom doesn't seem like the kind of guy to hunt "zoms." He's not tough and mean like Charlie Pink-eye, whom Benny admires. Soon Benny, who sort hates Tom for taking Benny as a baby, abandoning their parents and running away from the violence of First Night, realizes that the zombies are less of the monsters than some of the living people.
The action moves quickly when Benny, an avid bubble gum card collector, gets a card of the Lost Girl, a mythic feral child of 16 who may live out in the Rot and Ruin, the "no-man's land" outside of town. Charlie is very interested in the card, too interested, and suddenly, Benny is helping Tom try to find her and save her-- if she exists at all.
The story is very interesting in that Benny and his friends, especially Nix, can't understand why the adults, who grew up with our world's changing technologies and who survived the initial violence of First Night, now will not change or adapt. The town fences do not expand. Outlaws rule the Rot and Ruin but no thoughts are given to the fact that they could "invade" the town. The adults want things to stay as they are.
If you read this, come find me so we can talk about it. I just loved this and cannot wait to read the second book "Dust and Decay."
-- Susan Miriello- Children's Library