Posted by: Debbie Kahl | September 21, 2011

Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby …

As those of you who follow me on Twitter would know, I recently volunteered at the fabulous CYA Conference here in Brisbane ( – and was lucky enough to spend the weekend with an amazing group of Children and Young Adult authors.

One such author is the wonderful Amanda Ashby who (I must admit) I knew nothing about prior to the conference. Well okay, I had seen her latest novel Fairy Bad Day in Kmart and was quite smitten with the cover but, as fairy slayers aren’t usually my thing, I left it on the shelf. Luckily for me, I met Amanda and sat in on her session at the conference – Why TV is a writer’s best friend – and have been hooked on her humour ever since. So much so, that I bought both her books – Zombie Queen of Newbury High and Fairy Bad Day – and (excuse the really bad and semi-intentional zombie pun) devoured them in one sitting.

In Zombie Queen of Newbury High we meet Mia – a quiet, unpopular, Buffy watching teen, who spends most of her time trying to impress Rob – the super hot football star she’s sort of dating. It’s so serious that he’s asked her asked her to be his prom date. And everything was great until Samantha – the cheerleading goddess and Miss Popularity – sets her sights on Rob and slowly destroys Mia’s plans for a perfect prom.

So, with prom only days away, a desperate Mia will do anything to keep Rob’s attention clearly focused on her – and with the help of her bestie Candice, she visits a ‘natural medicine’ store commonly frequented by the hypochondriac Candice and buys a love spell. Unfortunately, Mia has no idea that the ‘love spell’ she releases during the senior assembly is really an ancient zombie curse.

Enter Chase, the quiet, new guy at school with a HUGE secret, who calmly informs her that instead of infecting Rob with love, she’s infected the entire senior class and faculty with a four stage Zombie virus, which should reach its climax at prom. Oh, and she’s now their queen. Which, as appealing as that is for every little girl inside us who’s dreamed of being a princess, really means that you’re just the first course on their new human flesh menu.

Together Mia and Chase have to work together as a team to prevent the outbreak of the zombie curse at Newbury High, while Mia has to avoid smelling like chicken to all those with the curse, as they try to fatten her up with random gifts of food.

Zombie Queen is a truly entertaining YA book that keeps you engrossed from the beginning to end. As you know, I only review and recommend books that I love. And I loved this book! The characters, the humour, and its originality are what will keep you turning the pages. Seriously, it’s like you walk into an American high school and become a part of this story.

Incidentally, when she’s not eating chocolate or slaying fairies, you can find Amanda at

Oh, just in case you want to know how Zombie Queen actually ends? Well I could tell you … but that’d spoil it. You’ll just have to go buy it and find out for yourself! 🙂

And make sure you don’t miss my interview with Amanda and the review of Fairy Bad Day, coming soon to We Love YA.


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