- Rise of ZomBert by Kara LaReau
LaReau, Kara Rise of ZomBert; illus. by Ryan Andrews. Candlewick, 2020 [144p] (The ZomBert Chronicles) Trade ed. ISBN 9781536201062 $15.99 E-book ed. ISBN 9781536211887 $15.99 Reviewed from digital galleys Ad Gr. 3-5
When Mellie finds a starving cat, she sneaks the stray home, but it turns out the pet she lovingly named Bert is actually the escaped subject Y-91 of a lab that experiments on strays. Bert despises YummCo cat food and instead he craves the hunt, gaining his strength with every bloody kill, and Mellie and her friend Danny initially joke that the cat is a zombie. When Bert goes missing Mellie sets out to save him, while the head of YummCo sends his top goons to retrieve that cat—dead or alive. This first in a planned series delivers an entertainingly foul-looking feline hero with a death stare. The pace is rushed, though, and, surprisingly for a book about a lab cat that eats the heads of its victims, it would benefit from gorier details. Readers [End Page 482] remain in the dark regarding what kind of experiments the lab is performing on its subjects—just know the results aren't pretty. This could make an eventful quick read for youngsters who want to dabble in early horror without getting too scared.