Tuesday, September 11, 2012

You're Not My REAL MOM! Zombie Mommy (Pals in Peril) by M. T. Anderson

"We need to talk.... a real, you know, heart-to-heart," said Mrs. Gefelty.

"About what?" asked Lily.

"About books. Have you noticed anything about books written for people your age?"

Lily shrugged. "It's a bad idea to have a horse?"

"It is a bad idea," said her mother, "to have a mother."

"In every single book your English teaher assigns you, the mother dies or disappears. Now that you are showing up in books? Do I have to start worrying?"

Lily can't believe that after all the hair-raising adventures she's undergone with her friends, the heroes and heroines of assorted junior action adventure sagas, that her own mom is now worried about some fictional curse on mothers. But Mrs. Gefelty is so obsessed with the likelihood of coming to a deadly denouement that she cluelessly flees the family for upstate Todburg, New York, (which Googles up as the town with the lowest death rate around) on a dark and stormy night, even picking up an awkwardly virginal adolescent vampire hitchhiker, and when she finally returns home, Lily notices something is definitely different:

"Lily," said her mother. "Lils. Can I call you Lils? Between girls--Ben, shut your ears, this is hen chatter. Lils, I am your mother. I know you! I saw how you looked at that darling little monk boy. Do you have a little crush?"

Lily didn't know what to say.

Your heart is still little, but that doesn't stop it from breaking. OH, L'AMOUR! L'AMOUR!" her mother cried.

Lily mumbled, "Can I be excused?"

She could hear her parents in the dining room, giggling and kissing.

At midnight, stealing into her parents' bedroom, Lily confirms the terrible truth. A greenish, ghostly presence is suspended above he mother's sleeping mortal body. Her mom has returned from her little escape weekend somehow perilously possessed!

There is nothing for Lily to do but enlist her Pals in Peril, Jasper Dash, Boy Technonaut, Katy Mulligan of the Horror Hollow series, unfortunately accompanied by her visiting cousin Madigan Westlake-Duvet, alpha female of the ah-dorably preppy Snott Academy series, and the unpronounceable but magical monk (currently on sabbatical) Drgnan Pghlik from the deadly steppes of Delaware, to investigate what occurred in Todburg to bring about this unfortunate conversion of her seriously nerdy mother into a flamboyant bad actress and obviously evil zombie mommy.

It's off to the prophetically named Todburg in Jasper's Robo-Sedan, equipped with his and Drgnan's ultimate weapon, the awesome automatic holy-water super soaker, where they find a town which gives itself over to various forms of the undead--zombies, ghouls, ghosts, and vampires--when darkness falls. At the little community theatre, they discover the cause of Mrs. Gefelty's transformation--she had been the sole audience in the theatre, becoming possessed by the ghost of frustrated diva Madame Vivian NeVoska, the toast of Russian-occupied France (or French-occupied Russia.)

Beating off hordes of zombies, vampires, ghosts, and such, the Pals manage their warp-speed escape from Todburg and return home, determined to find a ruse that will trick the ghost of Vivian NeVoska into leaving Mrs. Gefelty's body and offing itself by immersing in a hot tub of holy water. Things don't quite work out as the Pals planned, but the melodramatic conclusion, involving a deadly Adirondack tarantula and an adamant Madigan dead set on being the most beauteous bikini-babe in the hot tub, doesn't disappoint in award-winning author M.T. Anderson's latest fang-tasy farce, Zombie Mommy (Pals in Peril) (Beach Lane Books, 2011), forthcoming this month in its brand-new 2012 paperback edition.

"... the funniest, most imaginative series since Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events says Children's Literature's reviewer, while Kirkus concludes "...Ridiculous in all the best ways!"

Earlier books in this zany series are Whales on Stilts! (Pals in Peril), Agent Q, or The Smell of Danger! (Pals in Peril Tale), The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen (Pals in Peril Tale), and Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware (Pals in Peril Tale.

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