When I first heard of THE UNDERTAKERS: RISE OF THE CORPSES, a new YA novel by Ty Drago, it sounded like something right up my son's alley. Teens and pre-teens forming an underground organization to battle zombie-like creatures? What twelve-year-old wouldn't enjoy that?
Well, it turns out I enjoyed it quite a bit, too. I wanted to read it to be able to discuss it with my son once he'd read it, but I found myself drawn into the story very quickly. Yes, it's a Young Adult novel, but I've read "big boy" novels which left me with less of a feeling of that essential human connection than UNDERTAKERS. Who among us, after all, can't relate to being twelve years old? Who among us didn't have fantasies of being important or saving the world at that age?
Drago's writing is clear and fast-paced. The concept, which seems familiar at first glance, is anything but. Will Ritter, the twelve-year-old main character, wakes up one morning and suddenly begins seeing some of his neighbors and teachers as their true selves -- walking dead people. He's soon whisked away by the Undertakers, a group of other kids who can also see these "corpses." With one important exception, no adult is able to see the monsters as they really are, so it's up to this group of teens and pre-teens to save their city and, eventually, the world.
I would highly recommend UNDERTAKERS to anyone who has a child in middle school, especially if said child struggles to actually, you know, read. As I mentioned earlier, though, anyone who enjoys a fast-paced story with a unique take on a familiar concept will find a lot to like in this book, no matter their age.
You can view the book trailer for UNDERTAKERS here, and purchase it by clicking the Amazon.com link above.