Generation Dead, by Daniel Waters
High school is hard enough without being dead — but factor in this unusual circumstance, and it can really make it difficult to fit in.
In this engaging first YA novel by Daniel Waters, kids in America have at least some chance of ending up “living impaired” if they died during their teen years. The medical community hasn’t figured out why this is happening (hormones and food preservatives?) and the legislative bodies haven’t figured out what rights these undead people are entitled to (can you murder someone who’s already dead?).
Their fellow teens are mostly just grossed out by their existence.
Oakvale High School has the reputation of being accepting of these “differently biotic” individuals, and more and more dead kids are showing up every day.
Goth (but living) Phoebe, her best friend Margie and her jock neighbor Adam pretty much ignore these kids, until undead Tommy joins the football team.
Adam grudgingly gives Tommy respect for putting up with the punishing and sometimes illegal tactics of his teammates as they try to encourage Tommy to quit the team. And Phoebe finds herself wondering about Tommy and whether she likes him as a friend or maybe something more.
There’s a possible government plot to cover up the number of undead in the United States — and a creepy “Hunter Foundation for the Advancement of Differently Biotic Persons” is so politically correct you just know there’s something fishy going on in the labs.
I don’t want to give this book the kiss of death by saying it’s about discrimination, acceptance, death, and community — it is, but that’s not all. It’s also about friendship, and liking someone who doesn’t like you back, and finding out that maybe you know more than your parents about some things.
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