Summertime, fun time. Although I’m an avid reader, I do tend to slack off during Missouri’s hotter, more humid months. You usually won’t find me lugging around dense memoirs or classic novels. Yep, it’s brain candy time! Below is a sampling of what I’ve been enjoying lately.


“Zom-B” by Darren Shan


I hadn’t read anything by Darren Shan, author of the popular “Cirque du Freak” series, until a co-worker, knowing my affection for zombie stories, recommended “Zom-B.” This book is intense, and not a straight-up horror novel. Monsters come in other forms besides the guise of flesh-eating creatures.


B comes from a rough home life in contemporary London. B’s father physically, emotionally and verbally abuses his wife and B, and his racist views and activities have started to rub off on B. When my co-worker asked me what I thought about B, I replied, “I don’t really like him.” She just grinned and told me to keep reading.


A couple nights later, I arrived at a point in “Zom-B” where I actually gasped and yelled, “NO WAY!” The book was worth reading just for that wholly unexpected, thought-provoking plot twist alone.


Even without that dramatic development, “Zom-B” is a good read. It deals with heavy issues such as racism and abuse, and while the hateful rhetoric and family violence are tough to stomach, these problems are a reality – not just in B’s world, but our own.


The action is slow to start, with murmurings of horrific, unexplained attacks elsewhere. However, by the final chapters, the violence has spread to B’s neighborhood, and B is holed up in school with classmates, trying to survive. The zombie attacks are described in all their gross glory, much to my delight.


The first four books of the “Zom-B” series can be found in the Joplin Public Library’s Teen Department.