Reader Reviewed Undead by Kirsty McKay


Written by Kirsty McKay

11+ readers   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

'A kick-ass teen-action zombie-fest. Fast, furious, freaky, funny and seriously sick. Oh, and did I mention it kicks ass ?' Charlie Higson, bestselling author of The Enemy and The Dead.

This was the book that every publisher was trying to get their hands on when the author's literary agent first showed it. It's an unstoppable sharply-observed and hormone-laden horror-thriller-drama-comedy with a hint of romance about a bunch of ordinary teenagers on a school trip like no other.

A Piece of Passion from the author's publisher:

So why do we love being scared? Probably because it takes us to the very brink of our personality - and why we often don't know whether to cry with laughter or scream in panic! It certainly brings out the best - and worst - among the stranded teens in this story. And of course that's what the author Kirsty McKay plays on so well, adding the masterful twist that the attackers seem at first from the comedy-end of terror tales. I mean Zombies, get real. Oh, they are.

You can also check out Kirsty McKay's website by clicking here.

We also asked YOU to tell us what you think of this book. A few months ago, we searched for 10 kids to review Undead for us. You can see what they said about the book in the review section below.


Undead by Kirsty McKay

When their ski-coach pulls up at a cafe, and everyone else gets off, new girl Bobby and rebel Smitty stay behind. They hardly know each other but that changes when through the falling snow, they see the others coming back. Something has happened to them. Something bad...Soon only a pair of double doors stand between those on the bus and their unfed ex-friends outside.

If you'd like to hear the author reading extracts from Undead, click here and here.


We chose 10 children to review Undead. Their reviews are just beginning to come in.

Undead is not your typical zombie story. It is a thrilling read and once you start you will not want to put it down. Action packed from beginning to end. The book tells the story of a group of classmates thrown together during the school trip from hell. Following a stop for lunch disaster strikes and all their classmates and teachers become zombies. All that remain are new girl, Bobby, recently back from America, class rebel Smitty, popular girl Alice and school geek Pete. Together they must find a way of getting as far away as possible from their now zombie classmates. The book contains twists and turns around every corner, and tells of their battle for survival. Readers are willing the group to survive. The twist at the end is unpredictable... This book is definately a must read for my age group. With a good plot and strong characters, I would recommend it to anyone interested in a twist turning comedy horror story. Aine Lagan

Undead was an utter romp of a book. It was everything I want from a zombie book, fun, creepy and full of quirky characters. While the plot could be a bit predictable in places, it made up for it everywhere else. Plus, it reminded me a little of 'Shaun of the Dead' only not as bad and in Scotland and for teens. But I mean that it was sort of a parody of zombie books, but not without it being creepy and gory and zombieficated. Bobby was an awesome character. I loved her out-of-placeness and her weird accent, and I liked how she handled the whole zombie situation and how she reacted to it. She reacted like I would, at least a little bit. How she tried to put off thinking about it and tried to turn it into a bit of a joke, almost. Plus she was pretty sarcastic in places and I am all for sarcasm. Smitty was so adorable too! I love me an indie boy and Smitty sure delivered. He was funny and reckless and a bit of a smart arse in places, but he was loyal to the group and he and Bobby were practically the only ones who bothered to do anything around the zombies! Plus, he cared for everyone there and did all that he could to ensure they didn't get hurt. The actual idea behind the zombie situation was really interesting. I really enjoyed uncovering how and why all these zombies had come about, and Bobby's and her friends' story of survival there was riveting. Plus it was funnier than I was expecting it to be, which is always a bonus. Undead is a gripping zombie story which will have you tearing your way through the pages. Cicely

Undead concocts the perfect mixture of blood, gore and comic timing. With equal amounts of gruesome zombies and funny, witty comments Kirsty McKay has managed to create a new genre in itself - the Zom-Com. Although it is fair enough to say that Zombies are not an unexplored territory the relatable characters and unexpected twists in the plot make it an interesting read. Undead tells the story of a school trip to Scotland that ends in complete disaster as the entire class including the teachers suddenly collapse in a rundown Cafe featuring a furry dancing carrot. The dead, however, become the Undead - all dripping puss and gore and it is only a matter of time before their first feed. Survivors; Roberta (Bobby), Smitty, Alice and Pete with a school bus in tow battle to survive against the newly born Zombies. Armed with snowboards and ski poles this group of kids are in for a ride of their lives. Although this story is full of gory juicy bits what I enjoyed were the funny one liners from the main characters and it is their on-going banter and relationships that kept me interested throughout. If you are looking for a funny, fast-paced adventure then Undead is for you!! Christie Heaven

The book starts out with an ordinary school coach filled with ordinary school kids...until they stop off at the Cheery Chomper cafe and everything changes. Everyone changes into a zombie except four people, the new girl, the class rebel, the geek and the popular girl. This unlikely group need to stick together to find out how everyone is changing into a zombie... but more importantly who is making them change? You may think this sounds like a Scooby Doo mystery but do not be fooled. The main character is Bobby, an English girl who lives in America but who came back to England a few days before. This is her first experience of an English school and what an experience it turns into. Bobby and the rest of the group must try to escape the zombies that will stop at no costs to eat something.. or more precisely someONE. This book is not only about trying to outrun hungry zombies but it is about love, unlikely friendship and Bobby finding out a deadly secret about her mum and how her dad died. The plot is ever-changing and you will not know what to expect on the next page. This book will have you gripped from the start. You will not be able to put it down until the end and once you finish it you will want more. I highly recommend this book as it has a unique storyline which will have your heart racing. Daisy Pennock

This book is about a group of students' struggle for survival in a zombie apocalypse. I think this book would appeal to ages 12-16, maybe older. The things I liked about the book are the way the zombies are described and the way the book builds up suspense. I also liked the way the writer keeps you hooked. The action bits were amazing and the injuries were gruesome but that's the way I like books. Some bits went a little bit fast so I didn't understand what happened. Overall it is an amazing book and I will recommend it to all my friends. So if you buy this book I promise you won't regret it. Ashley Masters

Undead tells the story of how a school trip to the snowy wilds of Scotland goes disastrously wrong. Four teenagers, the new girl (our heroine), the rebel, the princess and the genius find themselves trapped in a school bus as they are surrounded by a flesh-eating zombie horde. A.K.A. their friends. The tale is told in the true zombie style... i.e. not for readers with squeamish tendencies. It isn’t all blood ‘n’ guts though. The story also shows what happens when four completely different people are shoved into an impossible situation together. As the story goes on, they all change personality in the most unexpected ways. The main characters are well thought through and fully developed. The action starts almost immediately at a roaring pace and the start and middle are well written and intriguing with laugh out loud one liners... that I will be quoting. However, I feel it would have benefited from a little more planning to extend it so it wasn’t over almost as soon as it began. In a nutshell, a good entertaining adventure to be recommended to older readers... with stronger stomachs! A good read. Emer O'Brien

A school boy called Bobby who has moved from America to England. He goes on a ski trip to the Highlands of Scotland. His class go into a café and drink carrot juice, then…….. they turn into Zombies !!!!!! The story takes on a life of its own. Now I will give you a quote from the book “Something happens to them. Something bad. Soon only a pair of double doors stands between those on the bus and the undead outside. The time has come to get a life…”. If you are a bit squeamish and don’t like horror then don’t read this book on the other hand if you like it then I safely recommend it strongly. Conor Kelly

About the Author

Kirsty McKay

Kirsty McKay is the author of Undead, a wickedly funny zombie-comedy for teens
Now a full time writer, Kirsty originally started out as an actress. She went on to write for the theatre and has written extensively for commercial theatre both in the UK and North America.

Kirsty recently turned her hand to writing children’s fiction. In 2008, Kirsty’s work was included in SCBWI's Undiscovered Voices anthology as part of their annual competition to find new writers. Kirsty was born in the North East of England, but now lives with her husband and small daughter in the United States.

Kirsty appears in this video, the Undead zombie survival guide.

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Book Info


304 pages


Kirsty McKay
More books by Kirsty McKay

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Chicken House Ltd

Publication date

1st September 2011




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