Shaun of the Dead meets Dumplin’ in this bitingly funny YA thriller about a kickass group of teens battling a ravenous group of zombies.
In the next few hours, one of three things will happen.
1–We’ll be rescued (unlikely)
2–We’ll freeze to death (maybe)
3–We’ll be eaten by thin and athletic zombies (odds: excellent)
Vivian Ellenshaw is fat, but she knows she doesn’t need to lose weight, so she’s none too happy to find herself forced into a weight-loss camp’s van with her ex-best friend, Allie, a meathead jock who can barely drive, and the camp owner’s snobby son. And when they arrive at Camp Featherlite at the start of the worst blizzard in the history of Flagstaff, Arizona, it’s clear that something isn’t right.
Vee barely has a chance to meet the other members of her pod, all who seem as unhappy to be at Featherlite as she does, when a camper goes missing down by the lake. Then she spots something horrifying outside in the snow. Something…that isn’t human. Plus, the camp’s supposed “miracle cure” for obesity just seems fishy, and Vee and her fellow campers know they don’t need to be cured. Of anything.
Even worse, it’s not long before Camp Featherlite’s luxurious bungalows are totally overrun with zombies. What starts out as a mission to unravel the camp’s secrets turns into a desperate fight for survival–and not all of the Featherlite campers will make it out alive.
A satirical blend of horror, body positivity, and humor, Kelly deVos’s witty, biting novel proves that everyone deserves to feel validated, and taking down the evil enterprise determined to dehumanize you is a good place to start.
All my closest friends know how much I love zombie apocalypse themed books. There are very few of them out there and out of those good ones, even fewer are YA and none are like this book. In this book, a group of teenagers who dread being at weight loss camp realize the summer will be much worse due to a zombie apocalypse having taken hold.
The story follows Vee, a teenager who has been forced to go to weight loss camp by her parents. Vee happens to be someone who is proud of herself the way she is and doesn’t believe there is anything in her that needs to be “fixed” by camp. To make matters worse, her ex best friend Allie is at camp too.
Almost immediately after, the small group realizes that they each fit the archetype/trope in every horror movie ever. There’s The Jerk, who’s the camp owner’s son, The Nerd who is obviously incredibly smart and knows all about electronics, etc, The Outcast Girl who’s keeping a big secret, and more.
Although the setting of this book does take place in the centre of a zombie apocalypse, the underlying thing the book was fighting against was fatphobia and how the society we live in forces people to believe, like they do, that there is something wrong with them when there’s no such thing.
I loved the cover of this book and the synopsis instantly had me intrigued. The author does an incredibly job of confronting the fatphobia and diet culture issues, and at the same time combining them with a zombie apocalypse and humor. Each character was incredibly different than the other and I loved that.
I just wish that we’d gotten to know the characters a bit more as a lot of the things we find out about them are pretty surface level and delving a bit deeper would’ve helped but otherwise, it’s a definite recommend!
Q- Hi Kelly! Thank you for doing this interview with me! We’d love to know a little bit about you so I’ll start off with asking you when did you start writing and whether or not being a writer was something you’d always wanted?
A- Thank you so much for having me! I’ve always loved both reading and writing. As a kid, I devoured Trixie Belden mysteries and would write my own fan fiction. I’ve had a lovely career as a graphic designer but being a writer was always an unrealized dream. A few years ago, I went back to school to finish my creative writing degree and give getting published a shot.
Q- I personally love all things zombie apocalypse, especially books but there are very less out there so I was wondering what inspired you to set your book in the centre of a zombie apocalypse?
A- I LOVE zombie novels!! One of my writing classes did a deep dive through zombie books, especially Colson Whitehead’s ZONE ONE (one of my all-time favorite books). We spent a lot of time talking about various approaches.
Zombies generally represent a real-world fear, whether that’s consumerism or loss of free will or mass contagions. Around the same time, I was really wanting to write more about diet culture and what it does to us, which in many ways is to deprive us of agency over our own bodies. I thought that zombies were the perfect metaphor. Diet culture essentially turns us into monsters.
Q- If you could interview anyone, who’s dead, alive or fictional, who would it be?
A- I think that’s a really hard one. I think about Jane Austen a lot because I kind of dying to ask her why she accepted a marriage proposal and then took back her acceptance the next day. But right now, I’m working on a DRACULA retelling, so I’d go with Bram Stoker. That might help with me revisions!
Q- What’s your favorite genre, and your favorite trope in that genre?
A- As a reader, I’m a bit of an omnivore. If I were trapped on a deserted island with just one kind of book, it would probably be the thriller as that tends to be a lot of what I read. My favorite trope, though, comes from romance and it’s enemies to lovers. I love books that have that trope.
Q- Are you spontaneous or a planner, when it comes to writing?
A- I am definitely a planner. I make great use of outlines and beat sheets and really like the book, OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL, by K.M. Weiland. It really helps me get and stay organized.
Q- Were the characters in your book inspired by people or purely imagined? If inspired, who all were they inspired by?
A- The characters evolved from common or archetypal characters in horror movies, for example The Jock, The Nerd, The Final Girl, etc. Then I started trying to examine how characters in those roles would really behave during a zombie attack. And I wanted to explore if the characters would stay true to their roles if they knew how they had been cast.
Kelly deVos is from Gilbert, Arizona, where she lives with her high school sweetheart husband, amazing teen daughter and superhero dog, Cocoa. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. When not reading or writing, Kelly can typically be found with a mocha in hand, bingeing the latest TV shows and adding to her ever-growing sticker collection.
Kelly is represented by Chloe Seager of the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency in London. Her work on body positivity has been featured in the New York Times as well as on Vulture, Salon, Bustle and SheKnows. Her debut novel, Fat Girl on a Plane was named one of the “50 Best Summer Reads of All Time” by Reader’s Digest magazine. Her second book, Day Zero, is available now from Inkyard Press/HarperCollins.
In every zombie apocalypse themed book or movie, every character eventually prefers one weapon to use. Which weapon would you prefer in their situation?