Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Better Off Undead

Better Off Undead

James Preller

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Hardcover

After becoming undead, a boy tries to survive middle school.

Adrian Lazarus has met with a curious fate. He’s returned from the dead (after a bad bike accident, no helmet), yet not a lot has changed. He’s always been an outcast. But it’s not just being a zombie that makes Adrian feel different. He notices the world has changed, too: bees are vanishing, forest fires are burning, super-flus are spreading. The holographic advertisements in the night sky assure people that all is well. Adrian and his friends – a beekeeping boy, a mysterious new girl, and a seventh-grade sleuth – aren’t so sure.

When they discover a birdlike drone has been spying on Adrian, the clues lead to two powerful corporate moguls. What do they really want?

James Preller brings his singular humor to Better Off Undead, a middle-grade zombie story that's about fitting in as much as it's about the end of the world.

This title has Common Core connections.

EXCERPT

MIRROR, MIRROR


Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Who’s the deadest of them all?

There I was, lying on my bed on another sticky summer afternoon, examining my reflection in a hand mirror. I pondered the first day of seventh...

Reviews

Praise for Better Off Undead

Praise for BETTER OFF UNDEAD:

"Preller might have played this as a light comedy (and there are some hilarious bits), but he goes instead for darker inflections. [Adrian's] discovery that fabulously powerful data miners Kalvin and Kristoff Bork are ruthlessly scheming to put him under the knife in search of the secret to his longevity cranks the suspense up another notch. --Booklist, starred review

"Against a near-future backdrop, Preller thoughtfully chronicles the anxieties of middle school, using a blend of comedy and horror to send a message of empowerment and self-acceptance."--Publishers Weekly

"This uproarious middle grade call to action has considerable kid appeal and a timely message."-- School Library Journal

"Preller stylishly delivers a supernatural tale of a middle-schooler who craves normalcy, and environmental issues with some currency make the story even more relatable. Espionage, mystery, and the undead make for a satisfying experience for readers."-- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (BCCB)

Praise for The Courage Test:

"Preller stirs doses of American history into a first-rate road trip that does traditional double-duty as plot device and coming-of-age metaphor. . . . Despite the many plot threads, the story never seems overstuffed or weighed down by agendas. . . . Additionally, not only does the author slip cogent historical facts and insights into his simply told narrative without disturbing its flow, he offers more detail, plus sources of information, in an afterword." —Booklist, starred review

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

James Preller

James Preller is the author of numerous books, including the acclaimed novels The Courage Test, The Fall, Bystander, and Six Innings, and the Scary Tales and Jigsaw Jones series. He travels throughout the country visiting schools and book festivals. He lives in Delmar, New York, with his wife and their children.

James Preller

Maggie Preller

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