Matt Pike’s latest book, Scared to Beath, is a fast-paced, quirky introduction to his Zombie RiZing series. In Scared to Beath, we meet a group of strong, fiercely loyal kids who, along with their science teacher Ms. Simmons, are fighting together to survive a post-apocalyptic, zombified world.
Leading the group is Elizabeth, later known as Beath, who is brave and ready to take on any zombie. Her best friend is Abby Carter, a smart, funny girl with a lot of inner strength. She also has Rett Syndrome, which means she cannot walk or talk, but she can move in her wheelchair and communicated via an iPad app.
The book, meant to be a guide for “newbs” who may find the information about zombies useful, opens up with the girls and their friends fighting off a group of zombies. One of their tactics is to play LMFAO’s song Party Rockers. Fun fact: according to the book, “If you play music a grunt used to like when they were alive, they will stop chasing you and dance.”
No one knows how the apocalypse started. One day the dead awoke and rose from their graves. Then they attacked and affected most of the adults. And now they’re going after the kids.
Magic plays a critical role in the new zombie world, but Elizabeth and her friends have to figure out how it works in order to protect themselves.
In Matt Pike’s signature style, he manages to inject whimsy and humor in his epic tales. Scared to Beath is a middle grade book that feels a little short and has a cliffhanger ending. But, it’s also a fun read with a lot of action and a lot of build up for the series.
To enhance the book, Pike teamed up with legendary Aussie illustrator Steve Grice. In addition to some great visuals to complement the story, Grive and Pike have developed collectable icons. Symbols are scattered throughout the book, and when a reader sees one, he or she can link to the download page, which has bonus image cards.
Like all of Pike’s books, part of the proceeds will be donated to find a cure of Rett Syndrome. Pike’s youngest daughter, who is also named Abby, has Rett Syndrome. To quote Pike:
“As a gorgeous Rett angel, Abby cannot walk, talk or use her hands in a meaningful way. So, not only are each of your book purchases a ticket to fantastically rounded, character driven, hilarious and poignant sci-fi awesomeness, it wraps you in a warm feeling you’d made a difference to people who deserve your help. Like the zombified leech it’s a no-brainer.”
Pike certainly knows how to tell a good story, and I’m looking forward to seeing where this series goes. As he said, the story is very character driven, and all the main characters—Elizabeth, Abby, Ms. Simmons, and the rest of the group including Sonny Winterbottom, Zhang Jing, and Vihaan Pawar—all have distinct, complimentary personalities and interests.
If you’re looking for a quick, imaginative, fun read, then definitely try out Scared to Beath.