Title: The Infects
Author: Sean Beaudoin
Pub. Date: September, 2012
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Nero is stuck in the wilderness with a bunch of other juvenile delinquents on an “Inward Trek.” As if that weren’t bad enough, his counselors have turned into flesh-eating maniacs overnight and are now chowing down on his fellow miscreants. As in any classic monster flick worth its salted popcorn, plentiful carnage sends survivors rabbiting into the woods while the mindless horde of “infects” shambles, moans, and drools behind. Of course, these kids have seen zombie movies. They generate “Zombie Rules” almost as quickly as cheeky remarks, but attitude alone can’t keep the biters back.
Genre: YA, Horror
Survival is for the ruthless. Everyone else is a hippie poet.
Nick is your average high school student: he lives at home with his dad and little sister (ugh, more on her later), is madly in love with a girl he can barely speak to, and has a crappy job at a chicken factory. It’s not until he’s fired from his job and swiftly arrested that his world turns upside-down.
Names don’t apply at Nick’s juvenile detention center. Instead they all receive nicknames. Nick becomes Nero and is known as Nero throughout the rest of the book. On an outing the group wakes to find their two camp counselors have turned into zombies and some unlucky boys were their dinner.
Naturally the boys don’t stick around to see who’s going to be the next to be eaten. They hightail it out of there and run through the woods in the direction of where the girls were going to be camping.
“It’s eatin’ time, Busta Rhymes!”
It took me about 100 pages to really get into The Infects, but once I did I devoured (ha!) it. This is a book that can easily be read in a sitting despite it’s near 400-page length. The story is blindingly fast-paced and the writing is simple. Also, Nick/Nero’s inner voice is reason is The Rock.
That said, a lot of the writing got to me. At first I thought it was because I’m not a 16-year old boy. However, as I read more, I saw that it wasn’t me, the jokes and dialogue are just awfully immature. There’s a character called Mr. Bator, y’all. Also, is Busta Rhymes still a thing? Is he still big enough that kids nowadays would know and like him well enough to reference him in an everyday conversation?
While I’m still on the topic is Things I Did Not Like, let’s discuss Amanda, shall we? Nick briefly mentioned in the beginning of the story that part of the reason why he’s working is to help cover the cost of her medicine. I don’t remember what the illness was (if it was even stated), but reading entire scenes like this was WAY too much for me to handle:
“Nick? Is that? You?
Thank God, thank God, thank God, thank God.
“Yeah, it’s me. Listen-”
“Miss you? Nick? Are you? Coming? Home?”
“No, Boo. I’m really far away. Are you okay?”
“Yes? Of course? Why?”
“Is there…anything happening outside?”
“Dunno? Can’t go? Outside?”
“Dad says? Not to?”
An unturned knob is like a collection of Hungarian folk poems or discount sushi: best left alone.
Once the zombie horde really gets going, there are awesome factoids sprinkled throughout the story. I. Loved. These. They were all really funny and basically called out every terrible cliche in zombie movies (don’t pause to kiss your girlfriend; a zombie is guaranteed to be standing right behind you).
Like I said before, The Infects doesn’t dilly-dally. The main bulk of the action takes place over a single night. The quick story and humorous moments (and The Rock) ultimately led to an enjoyable book. The night I finished I had a dream about a zombie breakout, so I suppose that should count for something.