Wisteria is a story about the world ending, at least how the remaining survivors of a virus which has people rising from the dead and needing to feed on the flesh of live humans. Yes, sounds like another zombie book, but it is not, it is a story from the perspective of two young people from different worlds, literally, who are not only on their own journey to finding themselves, but also trying to live in a world where the rules just do not seem to fit them, no matter how hard they try.
The opening of this book is wonderfully balanced with the realities of a coming to age story in this mad mad world full of “biters” and desolation. Where the only safe haven is behind walls and being protected by a crazy ass militia leader who is not all he seems to be, in fact no one is. But all Wisteria is concerned with is showing she can be as strong and perfect as her mother when it comes to patrolling the surrounding town for biters and curing those they found. Yep, they have found a cure, but it isn’t bringing anyone back from the dead, just giving everyone some peace of mind.
It was a great introduction to this teenage girl. She is smart, resourceful and has a bitch for a mom. Who can blame the mom, she made it across the big isle of UK with her family intact and into a safe haven. This small isle where the struggle is not so much the biters, but keeping the culture and society from collapsing in on itself. Curious though, they are able to maintain many health and medical related issues at bay, seems a lot of pharmaceutical researchers and other forms of doctors found their way to this little safe haven too, how convenient huh?
The best thing about Wisteria though? The author is following the new trend of constructing a heroine who is not the perfect curb-stomping zombie killer with brains, perfect marksmanship a great rack and a nice tight ass. Wisteria apparently is short, over weight or at least stocky and is teased about her huge crush on the most popular boy in the safe zone. She is a scapegoat and her day to day existence is just being herself and making it through so she can be something other than a rat catcher. Oh don’t get me wrong, she is very smart, and much more mature than most of her fellow teens, in fact she stands out from the crowd. I love her to pieces! And she rocks the red dress!
Bach is another teenager, but his issues seem to be getting back home and being bored with the world around him. Trying not to be so disgusted and angry. Apparently the Terran’s errrr human’s are responsible for the loss of his mother. He has such a disdain for humans he chose earth at this time in it’s history so he can watch it die from the infection. This is his own coming of age journey. oh wait, apparently Bach is from another planet or dimensional plane of existence So technically he is an alien, but not a little green one, more like the shmexy cute alien boys from Rosewell. He has his own little entourage of family to go along with him. He has all sorts of tricks up his sleeves and upon spying Wisteria almost get taken out by a horde of unexpected biters while trying to keep the mean girls from being ate (at least one did get ate) he ends up whisking her of to his own personal Tower of London, but not to take off her head… well not literally (spoilers, Sweetie).
Do I have you sufficiently confused? Perhaps intrigued I hope so. There are a lot of great things in this book, so much more than zombies and a struggle for survival. At it’s base core it is about star-crossed lovers, literally and the supporting characters roles. It is about secrets of B.I. (before infection) carrying over and still have a great and important impact on the emerging and struggling A.B.I.society. Many of the questions of what and how we adapt in such a world are addressed, but not in a traditional manner. Ms. Leyton brings to Wisteria a mixture of science fiction, fantasy, dystopic world with a twist to the paranormal romance angle! It is a YA book but as I mentioned yesterday, it is for a mature YA reader. In her interview the author addresses her stand on violence in YA novels. I concur with what she had to say, even if she does drink Coke.