Haru, Zombie Dog Hero

Haru, Zombie Dog Hero
Age Range
Release Date
July 11, 2023
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Eleven-year-old Luke and his dog, Haru, are the best of friends. Totally inseparable. But when their nasty landlord falsely accuses Haru of biting her, Haru is kidnapped! As Luke and his friends go on a serious mission to find and bring Haru home again, they discover mysterious experiments happening at the old laboratory at Painted Lake, owned by an evil multibillionaire named Mr. Thomas Sinclair. And Luke and his friends soon fear that Sinclair’s scientists could be doing illegal testing that may endanger Haru and their whole town.

As more strange clues emerge, the boys realize their world is changing fast, and soon Painted Lake is plagued by zombie attacks. But the love between Luke and Haru endures, ultimately helping to save them all.

Editor review

1 review
A boy, his dog, and zombies
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
The majority of the plot follows Luke and stresses the tight bond he has with his dog, Haru. The pair do everything together, along with the Cole brothers, and Haru even saves the boys from a rabid raccoon. Some chapters focus on Haru where the dog is able to communicate with other animals. Readers will learn that most cats and dogs have little faith in humans and these animals try to convince Haru that his humans will eventually turn on him. This information creates a subplot as Haru hopes he can always rely on Luke and his family, especially when he’s dognapped.
The plot tells a story of big business versus society. Sinclair Inc. is the biggest employer in the county but it’s also the biggest polluter. The owner and his family own much of the property and media in the town so they’re able to control any citizen complaints and investigations. The lake contains so much hazardous waste that no one can use it for recreation anymore and much of the wildlife has been driven away. The company pays fines but it never really does anything about cleaning up its mess. These images will resonate with young readers as real stories like these have been happening in the world for decades. Most people feel they have no power against the money and influence wielded by big businesses so this book tells the story of characters who won’t be stopped.
Based on the title, readers may be surprised by the actual story. Haru is a normal, living dog for most of the story as he’s Luke’s loyal companion and protector. He enjoys the outdoors and eating sandwiches with the boys and they find ways to occupy their time during the remaining days of summer vacation. A wild cat named Penny is the first character to provide a hint of what’s to come as the last third of the book is in stark contrast to the earlier pages. The topic of zombies arises but not in the way readers might expect. The plot veers into a totally new direction with a large increase in action and tension. It will be a surprise if a sequel’s not in the future as issues are left unresolved.
What didn’t work as well:
The story is written quite literally so readers don’t need to infer much of what’s happening. The positive twist to this style is that it will appeal to younger middle-grade readers hoping to enjoy a simple story of a boy and his dog.
The Final Verdict:
The first half of the book may not immediately grab readers because it doesn’t seem to match the title. The second half makes up for it, although readers may want more finality in the conclusion. Overall, I recommend you give this book a shot.
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