Publication date: December 1, 2013
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
ISBN eBook: 978-0-939765-56-7
Author: Scott Craven
Dead Jed is Shaun of the Dead meets Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Jed's not your typical junior high geek. He is, to use the politically-correct term, cardiovascularly-challenged. And while his parents have attempted to shield him from the implications of being 'different' for as long as they could (Jed was 8 and at a friend's sister's birthday party when he blew his lips off onto the cake in front of everyone, finally prompting the “Big Talk” from his parents and an emergency SuperGlue repair by his dad), 7th grade at Pine Hollow Middle School as a target of Robbie the supreme school bully and his pack of moronic toadies is rapidly becoming unbearable.
From being stuffed in a filled trash can as “dead meat” and into a trophy case as the bully's “prize,” to literally having his hand pulled off in the boys' room (Jed's always losing body parts. Luckily, a good stapler and some duct tape and he's back in the action) and a cigarette put in it and try to frame him for the recent reports of smoking in the school, Jed's had enough and is ready to plan his revenge. Besides, it's awesome what you can do when you're already dead!
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ABOUT SCOTT CRAVEN:
Proud graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, have one son who will turn 18 in March 2013, now a features writer for The Arizona Republic.
I was given an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I adored this book! Oh my gosh, I don't even know where to begin. I wasn't really sure what to expect going into this book. The only other middle grade fiction I've read to date is the Harry Potter series. Obviously I loved Harry Potter, but I never really delved into anymore middle grade because, as a 28 year old, I wasn't really sure if I'd be able to relate to it. This book has me completely rethinking my stance on middle grade. Not only could I relate to it, which now seems obvious since I was obviously in junior high at one point in my life, but it was also hilarious, witty, and completely addictive from the very beginning.
Dead Jed tells the story of Jed. Not only is Jed a geek in seventh grade and picked on by the school bully and his gang, but he also happens to be cardiovascularly-challenged AKA a zombie. He isn't your typical stumbling around, grumbling zombie on a constant search for brains, but he does have a tendency to lose body parts randomly. Jed has finally been pushed to his breaking point by Robbie, the school bully, after a series of pranks and humiliations. Jed decides to use his being a zombie to his advantage in order to get revenge on Robbie and his gang of idiot followers.
This story managed to take the serious issue of bullying and turned it into a funny, touching adventure. It also managed to do all this while not making bullying into something less real or cruel than it actually is. In a way this book is a sort of anthem for bullied kids around the world. We've all been bullied at one time or another and Dead Jed is basically the bullied kid's fantasy. Think Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds without the crazy violence, naughty language, and Hitler. Ok, that might not be the best comparison, but it's the whole idea of a fantasy revenge story I'm trying to get at. Jed is a seventh grader I imagine a lot of people can relate to; I know I most definitely can. He's a good kid with something (being a zombie) that makes him a little different from everyone else and he's therefore teased because of it. Aside from the fact that his 'something' is being a zombie he's a character I understand very well.
Scott Craven is an AMAZING writer. This is the first of his writing I have read and I am thoroughly impressed. He perfectly captures the voice and feel of a nerdy junior high kid. He also crams so much wit and comedy into this novel without being too over the top. The dialogue is so hilarious and spot on. I rarely find myself laughing out loud while reading, but I did so more than once throughout Dead Jed. He also manages to add touching and serious moments into the mix leaving me with a heady case of the feels.
I am so glad that this book was my first foray into middle grade since Harry Potter. I seriously loved this story. It's so unique and different from any other zombie story I have ever read. I found myself forgetting that Jed was a zombie at times. I think that says something about how well the character is written that I was able to overlook something as crazy as his being a zombie. Jed is a sweet kid and an underdog whom you will be unable not to root for. This story sucked me in right away and I tore through it very quickly. The bottom line is that I absolutely love Jed and the world Craven has created. I only hope the next middle grade book I read can live up to the incredibly high bar Craven has set with this book.
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