Donna of the Dead by Alison Kemper

Donna Pierce might hear voices, but that doesn’t mean she’s crazy. Probably.

The voices do serve their purpose, though—whenever Donna hears them, she knows she’s in danger. So when they start yelling at the top of their proverbial lungs, it’s no surprise she and her best friend, Deke, end up narrowly escaping a zombie horde. Alone without their families, they take refuge at their high school with the super-helpful nerds, the bossy head cheerleader, and—best of all?—Liam, hottie extraordinaire and Donna’s long-time crush. When Liam is around, it’s easy to forget about the moaning zombies, her dad’s plight to reach them, and how weird Deke is suddenly acting toward her.

But as the teens’ numbers dwindle and their escape plans fall apart, Donna has to listen to the secrets those voices in her head have been hiding. It seems not all the zombies are shuffling idiots, and the half-undead aren’t really down with kids like Donna…

The zombies swarm, forming a circle around Deke.
“We gotta help him!” Quentin yells. More books sail out of the back doors of the vehicle.”Big ones,” somebody says. “Grab the big ones!”
“Throw Moby Dick. I hated that one.”
“Where’s Twilight?”
“No,” Tara squeals. “Don’t throw Twilight.”

Donna of the Dead was literally a laugh out loud story. Donna was a hilarious main character. What I loved about her was how she approached the zombie apocalypse like a 15 year old girl. Forget the zombie hoard trying to break their way inside to eat her she is completely focused on how she can finally connect with her long time crush Liam. Her strategy for dealing with the zombies is to hide, run, and scream. I also loved how self aware she was especially when she realizes she may be the most useless person left in the world. I really liked Deke and felt sorry for him a lot throughout the book. Mainly because Donna was so absorbed in herself she wasn’t a very good friend to him until the end. He however, never faltered in his friendship with her. He also helped her become a more selfless person by the end of the story. One character I would’ve loved to see more of was Deke’s grandmother. I mean a taser toting old lady zapping zombies on a zombie titanic would be awesome! I really loved the plot and the fresh take on zombies. It’s just amazingly different from any zombie story you would ever read. I was so relieved when the author didn’t turn it into a love story between the hot half dead zombie and Donna. I was really hoping to have more action on the cruise ship though. I mean a giant boat filled with zombies was something the author really could’ve taken advantage of. I was also hoping to find out what happened to the guy that followed them off the ship. This book was just so great and an awesome read. It has zombies, romance, action, and everything else you would want in a story. I give this a 5/5 and definitely recommend this book. It will be available at Amazon.com on March 4th.

Arc provided by Netgalley for a honest review.

Contributor by Nicole Ciacchella

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Available at Amazon.com

When the Great Famine threatened the existence of mankind, the Creators saved humanity. Humanity has been their loyal subject ever since.

This history has been ingrained in seventeen-year-old Dara Morrow since her first day of Creator-sponsored school. Grateful for the life-giving necessities her Creator provides, Dara is thrilled to be one of three students chosen for an elite, year-long apprenticeship program. Now is her chance to prove herself a devoted Contributor.

But Dara’s competition is ruthless and will stop at nothing to win the competition. Worse yet, her exacting master has little patience for her.

Then Dara’s mother is seriously injured, and Dara realizes the price of being a Contributor: once you’ve outlived your usefulness, you’re discarded. Can Dara learn to manipulate the system to save not only herself, but everyone she loves?

“Are you still stewing?” Jonathan’s voice broke into her thoughts. “Seriously, Dara, you have nothing to worry about. You’re the best there is, and you know it.”
“I’m not sure that enough anymore, Jon. Things are so, so different from how they were in school,” She said slowly.
“You have to have faith in the system,” he told her firmly. “Remember, the system provides for those that provide for the system.”
“Right,” she said her voice faint. A chill ran down her spine and she shivered, hoping he wouldn’t notice.

Contributor is a solid and engaging YA/Dystopian novel.  Right from the start you pick up where Dara is entering into an apprenticeship program. What I really enjoyed about this story was that the plot is conceivable. People are dedicated completely to the Creators because they are taught to from the start, disposed of if they don’t, and kept from free thinking. The social and psychological aspects of living in a world such as this was clearly thought out by the author and pulled off brilliantly. It was so refreshing to read a YA/Dystopian that didn’t focus on a sappy love story. While Dara does have a boyfriend and their relationship is tested it’s in no way the main focal point of the plot. Instead it’s used as way to show the reader just how ingrained the teachings of the Creators are and how Dara could’ve turned out totally different if it wasn’t for situations that happened to her. I also enjoyed how the author didn’t need to use blood and gore to create an exciting world. As far as characters go they were all likable to me because I was able to understand why they were the way they were and did the things they did. The low point of this book for me was that you are thrown into the plot from the first page. There is no character development in the beginning or world building. I was also hoping for more of explanation to the events that lead up to the world being the way it was. I would definitely recommend this to all those Dystopian lovers AND haters out there. Overall I would give this a 4/5 rating.