Wednesday, August 3, 2011



By David Lubar

Yet another book I picked up at ALA11 in New Orleans. They were giving away copies of this already released book. That trip is going to be memorable for years to come for so many reasons but most of all the fact that meet so many cool people and brought home some great books.

My Rotten Life: Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie is a book I didn’t get from standing in a line but a book I found when I was sitting down for a rest working on a book of my own and noticed someone had left two copies of it sitting on the floor near the trash can across from where I was seated.

One of the things that really bugged Mar and I both while attending the conference was how some people were just grabbing anything free and then later discarding them. We saw books tossed on the floor, in the trash, and many places you should never leave a book. We only tried to get books that we had interest in for the writer, artist, or content. People were being so wasteful and that pissed me off. Not everyone was doing this but enough were for it to bother me a lot.

And since these books I found were homeless and mistreated I just had to give them a home. Plus Mar loves zombie stuff so I thought she might like a copy. I’ve read so man Middle Grade books of that that I really enjoyed I’m always looking for more good Middle Grade books.

And if you wondering about some Middle Grade books I would recommend here’s a quick list off the top of my head: Dani Noir by Nova Ren Suma, Horton Halfpott by Tom Angleberger, and Peter Nimble And His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier to name a few.

My Rotten Life turned out to be another great book surprise and when I showed the book to Mar back at the hotel after the day at the convention Mar said she knew the writer and enjoyed his writing so I decided to give it a try even if I’m not the biggest zombie fan.

I’m really glad someone was stupid and tossed these. Their lose turns out to be my gain. After finishing Peter Nimble And His Fantastic Eyes this became my before bedtime read and I loved it. I finished it quicker than I normally do before bedtime reads but that’s because I was sick for a few days and read it early in the morning also after making Mar coffee.

My Rotten Life is a Middle Grade book by David Lubar about ten year old Nathan Abercrombie. This book is full of great humor, a very well written supporting cast, and a story that moves fast but without any sacrifices in its storytelling for its speed.

Though this book has tons of humor it only has some really heart twisting moments when it comes to how Nathan and his friends are treated by the popular kids. And I felt these moments with more strength than a lot of the more graphic nature of some YA books that tackled the issues of bullying and school life.

I loved all the characters in this story. Supporting cast, parents, teachers, and settings all took you deeper into this world. Such good craft in the storytelling. One of the better supporting cast of characters in a book I’ve read in a long time of any level, style, or genre.

A little note: Everyone talks about the absent parents that are in YA books and that is true in a lot of YA books but it seems like to me Middle Grade books have more of a parental presence in their stories and that’s because of the age of the characters but in books of the quality like that of My Rotten Life you are glad to see more of the parents because they added a lot to the world of this story. From the parents of lead character Nathan to the parents of his friend Abigail the life of the young characters is expanded by including well written parents.

Nathan’s friend Mookie is the comedy character you will find in a lot of stories but he’s a great character overall and him being the so called comedy character works even more here because he doesn’t stand out as that “type” of character because of the humor of the other characters.

All of the characters in My Rotten Life exist very natural and I loved that take in this type of story instead of only creating stereotypes which is the route a lot of writers would have gone.

This story is funny, heart wrenching, gross, and wants me wanting more. I’m glad to have read by the sample at the back of this book that there are plans for more adventures of Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie.

Just checked Amazon and it seems like there are already a couple more in the series out and for sale but also checking my local library shows they don’t have any for check. Sorry to find that out. If I can find some used copies cheap I’ll buy and probably donate. I’ll be keeping the first book though because if I get the chance I would love to get it signed in the future.

4 out of 5 stars


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