Book Reviews

Review: The Undead Truth of Us by Brittany S. Lewis

While reading The Undead Truth of Us, I realized how much I enjoy stories about zombies. You may hear zombies and think, “this is going to be a high stakes action contemporary”, but adjust accordingly. The Undead Truth of Us is character driven about Zharie and the zombies she sees. It’s not full of zombie antics of dystopian vibes, but it’s almost a quiet surreal take on zombies. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Death was everywhere. They all stared at me, bumping into one another and slowly coming forward.

Sixteen-year-old Zharie Young is absolutely certain her mother morphed into a zombie before her untimely death, but she can’t seem to figure out why. Why her mother died, why her aunt doesn’t want her around, why all her dreams seem suddenly, hopelessly out of reach. And why, ever since that day, she’s been seeing zombies everywhere.

Then Bo moves into her apartment building―tall, skateboard in hand, freckles like stars, and an undeniable charm. Z wants nothing to do with him, but when he transforms into a half zombie right before her eyes, something feels different. He contradicts everything she thought she knew about monsters, and she can’t help but wonder if getting to know him might unlock the answers to her mother’s death.

As Zharie sifts through what’s real and what’s magic, she discovers a new truth about the world: Love can literally change you―for good or for dead.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: self-harm, body horror

I was never really sure where The Undead Truth of Us was going, until I re-framed my expectations. Only knowing zombies, you might expect – like I did – for the story to revolve around the zombies. To be an adventure contemporary about unraveling the zombie mystery. But The Undead Truth of Us isn’t that at all. It’s a story about loss. Character driven to the core, this debut is about processing our pain, working through our own mistakes, and finding the space within ourselves.

The zombie elements are less of a central driving force and more so another element in this contemporary story. With journal entries throughout about zombies, but also about life, The Undead Truth of Us is less about mystery, and more about Zharie. About her own lingering feelings of anger and grief and the ways in which she has to learn to love and trust again – if she can. It took me a while to wrap my head around changing my expectations. And when I did, I began to enjoy the book more.

To appreciate Zharie’s passion for dance. How she’s still struggling to figure out her feelings regarding her mother’s death. The confusion around her paternal father’s disappearance. There is a bit of a learning curve with this story. You have to re-frame what you think about it being a zombie story and instead see it as a contemporary. For me, it took a bit of time to do that and during that space I was just always waiting for the other shoe to drop – which didn’t help my feelings.

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Overall, The Undead Truth of Us is about how difficult it can feel to forgive, to reconcile what we know about people. We can see the people around us hurt by love, by those around us, and wonder what we become when we are so hurt and so alone. When we haven’t processed our emotions yet. And this slightly surreal YA contemporary debut explores these themes and more. Find The Undead Truth of Us on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite surreal YA book?

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