Time taken to read: 6 days
Rating: 4 stars
The problem with your best friend dying is that there’s no one to sit with you at funerals.
Undead Girl Gang follows the story of Mila Flores, a teenage Wiccan whose life has just begun to fall apart after the assumed suicide of her best friend. In her grief, and convinced that her friend Riley was murdered, fate leads Mila to cast a resurrection spell to bring Riley back in order for them to together find out who was her murderer. Unfortunately the spell works a little too well and brings back two of their classmates whose deaths were thought to have inspired Riley’s suicide. What follows is a comedic mystery twist on a supernatural zombie storyline.
I really enjoyed Undead Girl Gang, although admittedly did not love it as much as a number of reviewers I follow. The story managed to blend a welcome mix of emotionally charged themes of loss and friendship, along with funny teenage moments that resonated deeply with me. The relationship between Riley and Mila felt realistic and layered, as though these were two girls with a long history. June and Dayton also felt realistic in the portrayals as the ‘popular’ clique, but with enough sensitivity to ensure they were given strengths and positives along with their perceived negatives.
The portrayal of the Wiccan faith was really interesting, with very vivid descriptions of the spells and each required component used throughout. Although as an agnostic I am unable to ascertain how accurate the less fictional elements were of the faith. This element of the story also brought us some fantastic minor characters who were very entertaining and definitely badass.
Where this story lost a little bit of intrigue for me was more in how the plot was portrayed – I felt at times the pacing was a little off. Essentially all the scenes with Mila and any combination her zombies was fantastic. But some sections without them seemed significantly slower. Therefore whilst I immediately enjoyed seeing the world from Mila’s point of view, I wanted more from some portions of the book. Predominantly I think maybe I wanted more from some of the secondary characters who were given very little page time (particularly Mila’s siblings who seemed significant for several pages and then promptly began to dissipate).
My main detractor though was I felt that I was able to guess a portion of the ending (misdirection through a ‘red herring’ character is very common in YA). Once the red herring was ruled out there were limited other options for where to point the finger of blame, which meant I was able to guess the mystery element. However, I appreciated that the route taken was not the most commonly tread and I do praise the author for taking a chance and for how well written it was. Overall I think this story would work well for any YA reader who enjoys the supernatural or zombies, but I also think that this would work pretty well for a lover of contemporary fiction.
TLDR; A funny mystery in which a teenage witch resurrects three female teenage zombies to try and find a potential murderer. Warm, well written with enough emotion and intrigue to keep most hooked til the end.