Book Review: The Infects by Sean Beaudoin

The Infects by Sean Beaudoin is a young adult novel with a new take on zombies, both those shambling through life and those looking to gnaw on people.  Nick has just been trying to get by day by day. His father 'retired', his mother disappeared and left the family behind, and his younger sister is a little different. He has a job at a chicken packing plant, and a crush on Petal, a girl that he knows from school and work but cannot seem to work up the courage to do anything about. One slip of the knife leads Nick on a path that has him at a juvenile detention hike, and the name of Nero. When his 'counselors' and some fellow miscreants start chewing on each other, the trek in the wilderness changes to an ultimate game of survival. Can Nero and the others survive, and can he handle the voice in his head and make real changes in the bigger picture.

The Infects is not the typical zombie novel. I loved the take on where the virus originates, and how it effects different people. The characters are vivid and real, and the mentioning of horror and zombie movie rules throughout the story fit the inner dialogue I think I would have in such a situation, after I stopped freaking out. The action is fast paced, there are wise cracks and self deprecating humor, and an ending that left me satisfied, but still seemed to leave room to tell more of the story. The ideas about being a zombie, both the flesh eating sort and those that just sort of shuffle through life, is powerful but told with humor so that it never feels preachy. When I started the book I simple was not in the mood for a zombie book, but was quickly dissuaded and stayed up much too late to finish the book.

I recommend The Infects to readers that love zombies, are tired of zombies, or want to read something different and new. There is some blood and gore, what do you expect with zombies, but never so much that I got squeamish. There is a little romance, strain of coming of age, and a bit of corporate greed.
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