School Library Journal Reviews of Zombie and Smart Aleck

Yeah, it was a good day:

SELZER, Adam. I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It. 192p. Delacorte. Jan. 2010. PLB $12.99. ISBN 978-0-385-90497-1; pap. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-385-73503-2.

Gr 7 Up–For 18-year-old Algonquin “Alley” Rhodes, living in an era in which vampires, werewolves, and zombies are the norm is not what it’s cracked up to be. Unlike most human girls at her high school, dating, especially the undead variety, is the last thing on her mind. Alley just wants to leave Cornersville Trace, go to college, and make something of herself. But then, while critiquing a local band for the school newspaper, Alley the Ice Queen falls head over heels for the guest singer. Like Alley, Doug truly loves music, and she feels as if he is singing just for her. They begin dating, and Alley overlooks what is obvious to everyone else. Doug isn’t just a Goth–he isn’t even human–he’s a zombie. As Alley’s world is turned upside down, she must make decisions with major ramifications for her future. The story is original, funny, unpredictable, romantic, and tragic. Selzer explores some basic teen issues like love, friendship, acceptance, commitment, and loss in a way that is realistic and that will make readers question their own values. An excellent addition to libraries with an occult following.–Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY

SELZER, Adam. The Smart Aleck’s Guide to American History. 326p. photos. reprods. further reading. index. Web sites. CIP. Delacorte. 2009. PLB $15.99. ISBN 978-0-385-90613-5; pap. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-385-73650-3. LC 2009003897.

In the style of acclaimed writers Jon Stewart (The Daily Show) and Steven Colbert (The Colbert Report), this witty, comedic, and appealing volume abandons the world of historical dates and battles to fill in some of the gaps in young Americans’ knowledge of their country’s history. Readers learn of General Washington’s rebellion against the “basic rules of boating safety” as well as encounter James K. Polk’s mullet (“Business up front, party in the back, baby.”) while benefiting greatly from the book’s efficient presentation of pivotal themes and events such as the American Revolution, Civil War, and Civil Rights Movement. This clever and informative work follows a chronological arrangement from early exploration to the inauguration of President Barack Obama in January 2009. Each chapter concludes with a “Some of the Stuff We Missed” section, essay questions such as “Who was the bigger jerk, Hitler or Stalin?”; vocabulary words; and multiple choice “End-of-Chapter Questions” that range from “What do you think happened to those Croatoan guys–and what gave you that idea?” to “What Civil War guy had the best nickname?” Small black-and-white photos and reproductions appear throughout. The companion Web site contains supplemental information, links to relevant documents and other sites, and “Assignment Alerts!” for further exploration. This informal approach is sure to appeal to even the most reluctant of readers.–Brian Odom, Pelham Public Library, AL

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Adam's New Book: Sept 2013