Review - Bad Taste In Boys (Kate Grable #1) by Carrie Harris

Title: Bad Taste In Boys, Kate Grable, book 1
Author: Carrie Harris
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: 2011
Genre: Zombie, YA
Other books in the series:
Bad Yeti, book #1.5
Bad Hair Day, book #2

How I Got It: the library

Goodreads Summary: 
Someone's been a very bad zombie.
Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steroids are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe--not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate! She's got to find an antidote--before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town . . . and stay hormonally human.

Yeah! First zombie book not to make me jumpy or give me bad dreams! Awesome for me, but if you're looking for a scary zombie book, this is not it.

Kate Grable is a former social outcast. She was the super smart nerd who had freaky epileptic seizures, was generally a bad dresser. She saw herself as a social outcast, her peers saw her as intimidatingly smart and quiet (and probably also as a bad dresser with scary seizures.) She became then became the unlikely friend of two gorgeous and popular girls. "Unlikely" because Kate never would have expected Rocky or Kiki to notice her. But they're nice girls who wanted to be her friend and they pry Kate out of her shell. So now Kate dress better and invited to parties, hasn't had a seizure in over a year, but she's still 'Kate'. She's always a little bit afraid that she will lose her new social life.

Kate wants to get into a great Pre-Med program, so she volunteers as the varsity football team's manager in order to get experience and pump up her high school resume. A lot of the things she does, like checking sprains and breaks, seems way outside of what any school would let her do. (Unless they don't mind leaving themselves open for a lawsuit.) I think this part of the story could have been handled in a more believable way and Kate would have still been the super smart, overachieving, observant, and ethical character that she was. Kate herself is really what makes this silly and over-the-top story work: she's smart, driven, and wants to do the right thing. She notices unmarked vials in the First Aid cabinet. She knows that no medicine should be unmarked, she works with the doctor who volunteers with the team so she knows the med inventory, and these vials shouldn't be in there. She immediately assumes the coach is giving players steroids. It might be a jump in logic (but the team is horrible and needs all the help it can get) and Kate collects evidence and sends it to the absent team doctor. (Unfortunately he's delivering babies and never has a chance to see what Kate has sent.) I really liked that she was trying to get help from more knowledgable and experienced people instead of running around shouting accusations. But Kate soon notices people acting strangely, and as evidence piles up she reluctantly admits she might be dealing with zombies. She's off to find a cure (hopefully), make sure her friends don't get hurt, and maybe survive long enough to talk to that hottie Aaron (squee!).


It seemed that Bad Taste in Boys was trying to be a combination of funny zombie book like Kirsty McKay's Undead and the humorous suspense and mystery of Gemma Halliday's Deadly Cool series, but it falls short of the mark. The humor is definitely there but the suspense is lacking. In fact, the suspense is pretty much nonexistent. Kate's friends are blasé about helping to prevent the zombie apocalypse. There is one point where Kate needs Rocky's help and is telling her the plan while Rocky puts on makeup. She's totally cool that there are zombies and the student body might start eating each other during the pep rally.  I probably would have stabbed myself in the eye in shock if a bomb like that had been dropped on me.  But, nope, Rocky is all fine and dandy and fixes her lipgloss. Kate thinks KiKi is infected so she jumps on her and injects her with what she hopes is an antidote. Turns out she's not infected, but she totally laughs off having been injected with something strange.  In fact, other than her brother and his dorky LARPer friends, nobody seems concerned about the weirdness around them. The ending is incredibly tidy but it works with the overall tone of the story. My serious zombie readers don't really care for Bad Taste in Boys, but the kids just looking for something fun or fast say it's not bad.

Verdict:
It really depends on what you're looking for in a zombie book. Bad Taste in Boys is not scary, but it has its funny moments. The side characters act ridiculously at times, but Kate is a pretty good character. Plus, Bad Taste in Boys is a lightning fast read which is what most of my students are looking for. If you're in the mood for light and fluffy zombie action then Bad Taste in Boys is a good choice. But get this one from the library.

Related Links & Reviews: (It seems everybody else really liked it.)
Smash Attack Reads review
Fictitious Delicious review
The Crazy Bookwork review

2 comments:

Gina R said...

Interesting review! I'm not a big fan of zombies in general as they seem to always have one thing on their minds, or lack thereof...that being OUR minds, or brains....but despite it falling short of the goal you perceived it reaching for, it doesn't sound half bad. Might be interested in a future read. Thanks for sharing...and happy reading! ^_^

February 20, 2014 at 5:26 PM
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Quotes

My voice came out all squeaky, but he didn't seem to notice. He pushed off the locker and leaned close, his face inches fro mine. I swallowed audibly, overcome by a heady mixture of adoration, lust, and complete and utter terror. Would he kiss me? Did I want him to?

-Carrie Harris, Bad Taste In Boys

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