Monday, January 14, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: DEAD CITY, by James Ponti--and a giveaway!

I'm due to go back in the deadline cave any day (alas, alack) but in the meantime I've been taking advantage of having a *little* reading time. So once again, I have an MMGM!! (I... wouldn't get too used to this, though. My reading time is about to go the way of the dinosaurs. But I will do my best to always have links.)

BUT, before I get to that, I um... totally forgot to draw a winner for last week's MMGM giveaway of 33 MINUTES (it's been a bit since I did a giveaway, I guess I'm a bit rusty) SO, since it's better late than never, the winner is...


*tosses confetti*  

If that's you, email me at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com with your mailing address and I will send you your prize.

Okay, now, back to today's awesome feature: DEAD CITY, by James Ponti, another book that was at the top of my middle grade TBR pile. 



Here's how the publisher describes it:

The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins says this paranormal action-adventure “breathes new life into the zombie genre” and has “a terrific twist of an ending.”

Most kids have enough to deal with between school, homework, extracurricular activities, and friends, but Molly Bigelow has something else on her list: hunting zombies. By day, Molly attends MIST—the Metropolitan Institute of Science and Technology—but outside the classroom she’s busy dealing with the undead. Because not only do zombies exist, they’re everywhere, and it’s her job to help police them and keep the peace. Sure, she’d like to be a regular kid, but given that her mother was the most revered (or feared, depending on your perspective) zombie hunter in the history of New York City, “regular” just isn’t possible. Molly’s got some legendary footsteps to follow—and some undeadly consequences if she fails.

I'm not *really* sure I need to add anything else to this feature. I mean, THIS BOOK IS BLURBED BY SUZANNE COLLINS!!! And in case you're wondering, here's the full blurb:
In Dead City, James Ponti cleverly weaves Manhattan history into an action-packed plot to breathe new life into the zombie genre. Brainy, funny, and socially baffled Molly Bigelow makes for an irresistible narrator as she drives the story to a terrific twist of an ending. If I’d had the next installment, I’d have dived right in.—Suzanne Collins, author of THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy
I mean, if THAT doesn't convince you, I don't know what does. BUT, since it makes for a rather lame feature to simply paste in a blurb and leave it at that, I'll TRY to add something useful. So I'll add this: DEAD CITY was one of those rare books that hooked me from the very first page. Pretty much the very first sentence.

A lot of books try to pull that off. But most of the time I feel like I have to sort of, "give a book a chapter or two" before I can really decide if I'm liking it. Not the case with DEAD CITY. I loved Molly's voice from the minute I met her. I love the hilarious chapter titles. I love the world/mythology Ponti created--and that's saying a lot because *whispers* I'm... not necessarily a huge zombie fan. 

*ducks*

It's not that I hate zombies. I just tend to find the stories a bit... repetitive. I mean, they're undead. There's not a lot you can do with them besides have them chase down the main character. And yet, Ponti found a way to make that all feel fresh. He has levels of zombies--some even fit to live normal lives among us (it's the level 3s you have to be scared of). And when you add his unique take to the hilarious voice of his main character, well... it's just a combination that's made of win. Just the right amount of tension / action but still totally middle grade appropriate. In MY opinion at least. And I'm giving away a copy, so one lucky winner can read and decide for themselves.

If you would like to enter, leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm pacific time on Saturday, January 19th. I'll draw one random winner and post their names on Sunday, January 20h (and I'll try to actually remember this time!) International entries welcome!

For more awesome middle grade recommendations, check out these other MMGMs floating around the blogosphere.*
- Barbara Watson is highlighting IRON HEARTED VIOLET. Click HERE to see what she thought.  
- Sue Heavenrich is caught up in HIS-S-S. Click HERE to see why. 
- Danika Dinsmore is sharing some of her friends' and family's favorite classic middle grade reads. Click HERE to see what they are. 
- Akossiwa Ketoglio is cheering for CINDERELLA SMITH. Click HERE to see her feature.  
- Annie McMahon is rooting for TUA AND THE ELEPHANT. Click HERE to see her thoughts. 
- Temre Beltz is wondering at WONDER. Click HERE for her review. 
- Deb Marshall has her Cybill's reading round-up #2. Click HERE for all the fun book features.   
- Andrea Mack is gushing about THE TIFFIN. Click HERE for her review.   
- Susan Olson is stunned by THE VOLCANO DISASTER. Click HERE to see why.  
- Dorine White is spotlighting SHIELD MAIDEN. Click HERE to read what she thought.
- Brennan and Meyrick Murphy are struck with wonder at WONDERSTRUCK. Click HERE to see what these two middle grade readers thought of it.  
- Flash, the Feline Extraordinaire, (and Professional Mews to Cindy Strandvold) recommends SMALL AS AN ELEPHANT. Click HERE to see what that's all about.  
- Heidi Grange is amazed by STARRY RIVER OF THE SKY. Click HERE to see her review. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck is raving about AFTER ELI--and she's got a GIVEAWAY! Click HERE for all the fun!  
- Laurisa White Reyes has a pretty epic giveaway going on--with LOTS of books. Click HERE to see what that's all about! 
- Janet Smart joins the MMGM fun with a feature on MISSING MAY. Click HERE for her thoughts.   
- Michelle Isenhoff is always part of the MMGM fun. Click HERE to see what she's talking about today.  
 - Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.    
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome!    
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week!
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!  
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.    

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so I see it)

NOTE: I used to not have a cut-off time for adding links to the post, but with how insane my schedule is right now, if you don't email me by Sunday evening (usually around 11pm PST is when I put the links together) I can't guarantee I'll have a chance to add you. BUT, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen posts ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me ahead of time.

39 comments:

  1. I also read 33 Minutes and have it reviewed at http://msyinglingreads.blogspot.com/2013/01/middle-grade-monday-33-minutes.html

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  2. Whisper--I don't love zombie books either. This sounds good but I'll let someone else win because my TBR list is pretty long right now.

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  3. Would you believe I haven't read any of the zombie books! This one sounds like a good one to start with, though. Thanks for the review. I did a MMGM post over on my blog, but I don't see my name up there yet. So if you all want, hop over to my blog at http://creativewritingintheblackberrypatch.blogspot.com Thanks, Janet

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    1. Sorry Janet--for some reason your email got sorted to spam. Added a link for you now!

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  4. Hmm...a middle grade book about zombies. Interesting at that age. I mean; I'd have been the MGer to love such a topic, but I wasn't in the norm. lol I'll have to check this one out.

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  5. +JMJ+

    Did anyone else think, at first glance, that the cover was for an adult Urban Fantasy novel? I'm not crazy about zombies, either, but I have a working knowledge of The Walking Dead (Thanks, Mom!) and I love Middle Grade fiction. So this is definitely a book I'd be interested in. Please enter me in the giveaway, Shannon! Thanks! =)

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    1. I did, at first glance. Until I noticed the cartoony aspect of the young girl and zombie hands.

      I can't watch The Walking Dead. It may be a good story, but i's just too violent for me.

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  6. My elementary students are always clambering for zombie books . . . and there really aren't that many for the middle-grade set. They seem to be more for teens, so I am definitely excited to read this one. Thanks for the recommendation. And blurb from Suzanne Collins . . . wow!

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  7. You don't like zombies? That's ok more for me *scoops up all the zombie books*

    Would love to read this. It sounds amazing. And PURPLE COVER!!

    christajls@gmail.com

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  8. Sounds amazing! Thanks for the heads-up since I hadn't heard of this one yet. My last MG read was Gustav Gloom and the People Taker which I adored. And since it was spooky, I'm already in the mood for some zombies!

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  9. I'm not into zombies either, for the very same reason. Zombies can't outsmart you or create some intricate evil plan. They're just persistent. The stories do get repetitive.

    I did accidentally read a zombie book, The Forest of Hands and Teeth - but it was because I didn't know it was a zombie book until it was too late. I was actually surprised by that one. That's YA, though. Not much MG zombie going on.

    I think it means even more that you would recommend Dead City as a non-zombie fan.

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  10. I read my first zombie book recently--Carrie Harris' BAD TASTE IN BOYS--and really enjoyed it, even though I didn't expect to. This one sounds like fun, too!

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  11. Sounds like a great one. I'm not much of a zombie reader, but the way you describe it makes me interested.

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  12. I'm in love with that cover, and while I understand I shouldn't judge a book my a cover sometimes I can't help myself!

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  13. Since reading WARM BODIES and ZONE ONE, I can't get enough of zombies. And DEAD CITY sounds great! Plus, it's set in Manhattan and I'd love to return there one day. And an unusual cover for a MG, but really cool. Thank you for the chance to win!

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  14. Zombie MG FTW! Now I want to read this one and Zombie Tag! :)
    ~Ella Ink

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  15. Well, this one sounds interesting. Thanks for running the giveaway.

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  17. YES YES YES!!! This sounds bloody awesome. :D

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  18. I agree with you: I've never really been one for 'zombies', But I won't deny this book looks INCREDIBLE!

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  19. This sounds fantastic - thanks for the giveaway! Most zombie novels are too scary for me, but a MG one is right up my alley. :-D

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  20. I love zombies! I've never read an MG one though and this one sounds like it's good! I definitely need to read this!! And, it has a purple cover!! Purple's my favorite : )

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  21. I'm not much of a zombie fan either but this one sounds awesome. And I have a few students who are kind of zombi obsessed right now - I know they'll love it :)

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  22. Sounds like a great book, I'd love to enter, thanks.

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  23. Looks like a fabulous read. I can already think of 4 kiddos that will be waiting in line to read this. Thank you!

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  24. I read this and loved it! It was great. I wasn't going to buy it at first because it was kind of expensive, but I did and it was worth it! Molly has such an awesome voice, and she is just plain cool! I enjoyed it so much I gave a copy to my friend as a gift. She also loved it, which is pretty cool because we have VERY different taste when it comes to books. And even if you don't win, go out and get it. DEAD CITY is so worth it! :)

    I already have a copy so don't enter me, please! Thanks!

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  25. Zombies - oh my! I have several kiddos who are having a hard time finding a just right "next" book. From your review it sounds like this might be it. Thanks for the chance to win :)

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  26. Oh! This book sounds amazing, Shannon :D Thank you so much for sharing and giving away a copy. <3 would love to win it :) *fingers crossed.*
    Love, Carina

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  27. Zombies are awesome. I need to read this.

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  28. Am I the only one who has never read a zombie book? This one actually sounds interesting, it could be my first!

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  29. Sounds good (: and if you say it's good, it must be good! Can't wait.

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  30. Sounds like a fun one! Thanks for coming out of the cave, Shannon. ;)

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  31. Great review! Glad you had a little reading time. This sounds like a wonderful book!
    ~Jess

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  32. This sounds SO incredibly amazing. Thanks so much, Shannon! And hey, why didn't you ever tell me there were Animal Fries, too!??!?! It took me two Animal Cheeseburgers to figure the fries out. =.= (i kid, i kid. but seriously. those poor, in-n-out-deprived east-coasters...)

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  33. Haven't read any Zombie books before. this one sounds a great way to start it :)

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  34. "dead city" sounds like a fun read! would definitely love to check it out and then spread the love by sharing the book with my nieces and nephews. ^.^

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  35. totally sold on this one and will be getting it. thanks! hope you are enjoying your weekend.

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  36. I like reading about zombies. I'll have to add this title to my list of books to get. Thanks for sharing about it. : )

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Yay-I love comments! Thank you so much! (But please remember to keep your comments spoiler-free. Also, I try to keep this a happy, positive place. Friendly debate is fine, but always be kind to each other). <3