The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden BellRead about the other books on the list.
Temple is a 15-year-old girl who has never known a world that didn't involve bashing in the skulls of zombies (here known as "slugs"). She handles these encounters like I handle seeing a spider in my house—as unpleasant but survivable encounters. What she does not handle as well is the guilt, grief, and emotional baggage she drags around during her quest for redemption. The bleak, painfully honest portrayal of Temple's loneliness and self-doubt—not the "slugs"—put this book at the top of our list. In fact, the origin of the slugs is never even revealed. What's passed is in the past, and the narrative lives in the present. "Beautiful" is not a word normally used to describe zombie tales, but this is no ordinary zombie book. It hits you with unexpected moments of joy amidst the horror, and with prose that owes quite a debt to Southern Gothic literature, The Reapers Are the Angels proves that zombie stories can be literary. They can make you cry. They can introduce you to introspective, believable, memorable characters that stay with you long after you've finished reading. One last thing: Don't think that because the protagonist is a teenager, this is a YA book. It's not. You'll scar your kiddos with this one.
For fans of: Cormac McCarthy, Flannery O'Connor, William Faulkner, strong female protagonists, zombies
Alden Bell is a pseudonym for Joshua Gaylord.
Writers Read: Alden Bell.
The Page 69 Test: The Reapers Are the Angels.
My Book, the Movie: The Reapers Are the Angels.