Book to Film: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

“There is no ideal world for you to wait around for. The world is always just what it is now, and it’s up to you how you respond to it.”

R is a zombie that doesn’t remember his real name, how he died, or even how the zombie apocalypse began. He lives in an abandoned airplane and wanders an airport filled with fellow zombies on a daily basis. However, he is different from the other zombies–he doesn’t enjoy eating people, even though he knows it’s a necessity. He also dreams about having a better life, one filled with more than just riding the escalators day after day. When he eats a boy named Perry’s brain and receives his memories, he feels the love that Perry had for a girl named Julie. When R realizes Julie is about to be eaten also, he decides to protect her. As he begins to get to know her and develops feelings for her, he realizes that he is changing and becoming more human.

I was really excited to read this one because, aside from the fact that I love anything involving zombies, I had seen the film trailer for Warm Bodies and loved the thought of a story told from the zombie’s perspective. I am a stickler for reading the book before seeing the film, so I got myself a copy of the book ASAP. I loved how R is such an honest character–he tells it like it is and I enjoyed seeing the world through his eyes. Some parts of this book were absolutely hysterical, yet other parts were very heartfelt. I loved seeing R relearn how to speak and read and basically be human again. The writing style was very impressive, and the story itself questions today’s world and what we are doing to it.

So, as soon as I read the book I knew that I had to see the movie. Nicholas Hoult did a fantastic job as R–he really embodied R’s innocent and honest nature. Teresa Palmer was also excellent as Julie, however, film Julie was slightly less troubled and rough around the edges than book Julie. I felt that knowing more of Julie’s background in the book helped me understand her character a lot better, and in the movie she was slightly more one dimensional. Julie’s father was definitely more toned down in the movie, and we didn’t get as much of his background and the history of his relationship with his daughter as we did in the book. The movie also didn’t have as much of Perry’s memories as the book did, but I expect this was just a consequence of time constraints in films.

Overall, Warm Bodies was a beautifully written book that bridges genres, and its film adaptation was funny, entertaining and relatively true to the book. I enjoyed the book and film immensely, and highly recommend both!

Warm Bodies was released October 14, 2010 and while it would be great as a standalone novel, it is actually the first in a series. The second book in the series is currently untitled and is expected to be released in 2014.

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This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

“I don’t know how I’m going to do this, move through the hours like someone who wants to still be breathing when I had so firmly made up my mind to stop.”

Sloane Price had decided to end her life. Her sister ran away six months ago and left her with her physically abusive father and she has nobody left in the world. On the day she decides to kill herself, the world as we know it comes to an end. All of a sudden the dead do not stay dead–they rise again to infect the living. Sloane ends up with a group of her peers taking shelter at their high school. However, while all of the other teenagers are fighting for survival, Sloane is just awaiting the moment when the living dead break down the barricades and finally end her life for her.

This is Not a Test is a book about the zombie apocalypse, but it is also about so much more than that. I picked it up because I had heard good things about Courtney Summers and I am a HUGE fan of zombie stuff. I am pleased to say that I was VERY impressed with this book. While this is a zombie book, the zombie apocalypse is really only the setting for a much deeper story. There are scary and suspenseful moments while the kids are all hiding out in the school or running from zombies, but this book also deals with so many deeper issues. Sloane has been abused by her father for years and the only person she was able to rely on was her older sister. When her sister ran away it left her feeling abandoned and betrayed and she no longer saw a reason to live. This book is about survival, but yet Sloane doesn’t actually want to survive. However, the five people sharing her shelter desperately do want to live. They all soon come to realize that while the greatest threat outside may be the zombies, the greatest threat inside is actually each other.

I cannot say enough good things about this book. Courtney Summers has a writing style that is absolutely incredible. After I read this book I decided that I had to read everything else she has ever written because I admired her writing so much. The pacing in This is Not a Test is perfect, the characters have their own individuality and depth, and the overall story is so moving. Throughout the whole book, Sloane is trying to figure out what her reason is for surviving against the odds and where she actually belongs in this new world. I couldn’t put this book down because I was so anxious to find out if Sloane would finally discover her will to survive. I highly recommend this book, even to people who normally don’t like zombie books, because the story is really so much more than just that.

This is Not a Test was released on June 19, 2012 and is a standalone novel.

Trending Topics in YA

It seems like YA literature keeps going through different trends each year. There was the whole Twilight phenomenon and now The Hunger Games has taken the lead, but what’s next? Here are some current trends emerging in young adult books today:

ZOMBIES ARE THE NEW VAMPIRES

Now that the Twilight saga is (finally) coming to an end, vampires seem to have taken a backseat to a different type of creature: ZOMBIES!! As a huge fan of all things zombies, I am thrilled at the comeback zombies are making in pop culture today. A few years ago you almost couldn’t turn on a TV without some mention of vampires, whether it be Twilight, True Blood, or The Vampire Diaries. Today it seems like most people are over the whole vampire thing. After the release and subsequent explosive popularity of Twilight, everyone and their mother tried to hop on the vampire bandwagon and write a book/TV show/movie about vampires. This year there is a serious lack of vampire books, with two notable exceptions:  The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda and The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa. When picking up both of these books to read, my first thought was that these authors are really pushing it by still trying to keep the vampire craze going. However, I have to say that with both books I was pleasantly surprised. And the reason that I enjoyed both immensely was not because I am still a sucker (no pun intended) for all things vampire, but rather because each of these novels sought to distinguish themselves from the traditional portrayal of vampires and from the supremely overdone trope of vampire meets human girl/boy and falls in love.

With the vampire trend dwindling down, there has definitely been a rise in books/TV shows/movies about zombies. I would attribute a lot of this to The Walking Dead, which has gained an insane following and put zombies back into pop culture. There has been a definite increase in YA books about zombies, a couple of examples being This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers and (still to come) The Infects by Sean Beaudoin. There has also been an increase in the number of YA zombie books being made into movies: World War Z, Warm Bodies, and The Forest of Hands and Teeth, all three of which are set to be in theaters next year. With the significant decrease in vampire books and the rising popularity of zombies, I definitely think it is safe to say that zombies are the new vampires.

RISE OF THE MERMAIDS

Mermaids are HUGE now! This year alone there have been so many YA books about mermaids:  Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, Wake by Amanda Hocking, Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown, and The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova are just a few. I can honestly say that I did not see this trend coming, but I’m glad it did! I don’t think I had ever read a book about mermaids before this year and will definitely admit to being a little skeptical about the subject at first but Of Poseidon definitely changed my opinion and left me craving MORE MERMAIDS! I look forward to seeing how this trend evolves in the future.

WHERE HAVE ALL THE WIZARDS/WITCHES GONE??

There has been a serious lack of YA books about magic lately. I don’t know if it’s just because people feel it has been overdone or if everyone is worried that they will be unable to live up to Harry Potter (which is most likely true) but for some reason there has been a big decrease in the amount of witches and wizards present in YA literature. There have been some great books about wizards/witches in the past few years–Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins and Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia for example—but 2012 hasn’t really seen anything in the way of magic. However, with the Beautiful Creatures movie being released early 2013, it is possible that magic will have a bit of a revival.

SERIES VS. STANDALONE

It seems to me that nearly every book that I pick up lately is part one of a series/saga/trilogy. It is very rare that you find a standalone YA book today and I believe there are pros and cons to both series and standalone novels. The drawback of a series is that (at least in my case) it seems like you’re always waiting for the next book to be written/released. I cannot tell you how many times I have picked up a book, not knowing that it is part one of a series, and got to the end only to see the words END OF PART ONE, TO BE CONTINUED, or something of that variation. There are times when I love this, and it is usually because the book is so good that I just want to read more about the characters and the world they live in. There are other times when I hate this, either because the book is so good that I’m angry that I have to wait months/years for the next one, or because I’m just pissed that every book has to be part of a series. I can understand why many authors are writing series instead of standalone novels–sometimes there is just so much to the story that to fit it all in one book would be ridiculous–but in some cases it seems like the author is just dragging the story out so that they can make money off of yet another book about the same thing (i.e. The Fallen series by Lauren Kate). Then again there are some series, like Michael Grant’s Gone series, that keep going on and on and just keep getting better as they do. I suppose it just really depends on how good the author is at keeping the series alive but I still wonder–can nobody write a good standalone novel anymore? The only exceptions I have found lately have been Courtney Summers and John Green. Both have written exceptionally good standalone novels that in no way seemed incomplete or left me demanding a sequel.

What do you think? Are there any other trends that you’ve noticed emerging this year? Which trends do you love and which could you do without?