THE CELLAR by A.J. Whitten
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Released: 2nd May 2011
Review Format: Kindle ARC (with thanks to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Meredith Willis is suspicious of Adrien, the new guy next door. When she dares to sneak a look into the windows of his house, she sees something in the cellar that makes her believe that Adrien might be more than just a creep - he may be an actual monster.
But her sister, Heather, doesn’t share Meredith’s repulsion. Heather believes Adrien is the only guy who really understands her. In fact, she may be falling in love with him. When Adrien and Heather are cast as the leads in the school production of Romeo and Juliet, to Heather, it feels like fate. To Meredith, it feels like a bad omen. But if she tries to tear the couple apart, she could end up in the last place she’d ever want to be: the cellar. Can Meredith convince her sister that she’s dating the living dead before it’s too late for both of them?
The Cellar is a young adult “Zombies meet Romeo and Juliet” horror novel. The book centres around 17 year old Meredith and her 16 year old sister Heather, who recently lost their father in a tragic accident. The chapters alternate between Meredith in the first person and Heather in third person, which I found a little confusing to begin with. Each of the chapters starts off with an illustration of a rather large beetle. I do like it when books do that – add little illustrations. Just a small touch, but it really makes a difference to me.
So … Meredith, Heather and their slightly extended family are trying to get on with their lives and come to terms with the tragedy of losing their father when the ramshackle house next door gets rented out to Adrien and his mother. Things quickly begin to hot up as Heather starts to fall for the newcomer. You see, Adrien is a zombie, but not your average stumbling, rotted body type zombie. THIS zombie is good looking and mysterious behind the sunglasses he never takes off, and soon has all the girls in school drooling after him and all the boys wanting to punch his lights out. All the girls, that is, apart from Meredith who just hasn’t fallen under his spell and is totally creeped out by him.
This fast paced story full of creepiness, mystery and action will definitely keep you turning pages, needing to know what happens next. It’s not for the faint hearted though as there’s a lot of gory stuff, torture and violence going on in those 276 pages.
The story was good, the characters enjoyable, but I didn’t really get attached enough to care totally what happened to them. It’s the first zombie story I’ve read and although I did like it, I think there was just a little too much gore for me.
My rating: 3 stars