Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Freebie: Zombie by J. R. Angelella and Caring is Creepy by David Zimmerman

Congratulations to Sidney Woods, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: Goliath by Susan Woodring.

This week's book giveaway is a double feature from Soho Press: Zombie by J. R. Angelella and Caring Is Creepy by David Zimmerman.  Each of these novels have teenage protagonists making their way through a hazardous and unstable world.  And both books are standing high atop my tower of must-read books for this summer.  Summertime is the perfect time for a little adolescent angst, isn't it?  Especially when it includes the undead.

In Zombie, Fourteen-year-old Jeremy Barker is obsessed with zombie movies.  He attends an all-boys Catholic High School where roving gangs in plaid make his days a living hell.  His mother is an absentee pillhead, his older brother a self-diagnosed sex-addict, and his father an ex-Marine realtor who disappears night after night without explanation.  Jeremy navigates it all with a code cobbled together from Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later, Planet Terror, Zombieland and Dawn of the Dead:
* Avoid Contact
* Keep Quiet
* Forget the Past
* Lock-and-load
* Fight to Survive
The code is put to the test when he discovers in his father's closet a bizarre homemade video of a man strapped to a bed, being prepped for some sort of surgical procedure.  As Jeremy--troubled but ever-optimistic--attempts to trace the origin of the video, this remarkable debut moves from its sharp, precocious beginnings to a climax of almost unthinkable violence, testing him to the core.  According to the publisher's jacket copy, Zombie is recommended for fans of Chuck Palahniuk, Jonathan Safran Foer and filmmaker Wes Anderson (not to mention George Romero).  First line: According to my father, there are three types of necktie knots: the Windsor, the Half-Windsor, and the Limp Dick.  Ned Vizzini (It's Kind of a Funny Story) had this to say about the book: "J. R. Angelella has created a bracing tale of a fractured mind.  Zombie will make you laugh, shake your head in recognition, and go for the aluminum bat in your basement."

Caring is Creepy centers around fifteen-year-old Lynn Marie Sugrue who is doing her best to make it through a difficult summer.  Her mother works long hours as a nurse, and Lynn suspects that her mother’s pill-popping boyfriend has enlisted her in his petty criminal enterprises.  Lynn finds refuge in online flirtations, eventually meeting up with a troubled young soldier, Logan Loy, and inviting him home.  When he’s forced to stay over in a storage space accessible through her closet, and the Army subsequently lists him as AWOL, she realizes that he’s the one thing in her life that she can control.  Meanwhile, her mother’s boyfriend is on the receiving end of a series of increasingly violent threats, which places Lynn squarely in the cross-hairs.  First line: The most dangerous thing I ever did was tell a grown man my real name.  Benjamin Percy (The Wilding) praised the novel by saying: "As the danger steadily escalates, the sentences unspool like a detonator line that sizzles toward an explosive, unforgettable ending."

For your chance to win a copy of both books, all you have to do is answer this question:

What's the next book on your To-Be-Read list for the summer?

Email your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on June 7--at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on June 8.  If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week Quivering Pen newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you've done either or both of those, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

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