Carrie Harris’ debut novel is a blast from start to finish. She manages to take the well-trodden paranormal lit path to fun, new places. One of the most refreshing aspects of BAD TASTE IN BOYS is the characterization. Instead of being confined to stereotypes, the characters are more like people the reader would actually know. Kate is smart and highly motivated, but also self-deprecating and insecure. It was an interesting choice to give her epilepsy, which plays a minor role in advancing the plot, but is more appreciated for giving the character diversity. Aaron, the quarterback crush, is cute and popular, but also thoughtful and appreciative. The only thing that changes about Kate in the novel is that she becomes more confident (she still loves pop quizzes, wears glasses, and is pretty clueless about fashion), but she is increasingly attractive and powerful to those around her. What a great message.
There is plenty of gore and vomit for horror fans, but not so much that it would repel readers taking their first dip in the zombie pool. The descriptions of zombie attacks were brief and usually tempered with humor. Harris was clever to make the major zombie a football player whose natural personality was not very different from a brain-dead zombie. Lots of witty touches like this are peppered through the novel, making it an enjoyable and quick read.
Fans of paranormal lit and action should check out BAD TASTE IN BOYS, while I eagerly await the November 2012 release of its sequel, BAD HAIR DAY (my money’s on a werewolf plot).
The story is fast and fun.