Zombies Vs. Unicorns

cover image for Zombies vs. UnicornsBlack, Holly & Larbelestier, Justine. ed. (2010) Zombies Vs. Unicorns. New York, NY: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Plot Summary:

It all started when Larbelestier made an offhand comment on her blog about not endorsing unicorns.  Black challenged her on it, Larbelestier responded in praise of zombies, and thus did an internet war begin.  To settle this feud, Black and Larbelestier have each edited six stories written by twelve different authors and presented this in the same volume so that you, the reader, can make up your own mind.

Critical Evaluation:

Like most anthologies, Zombies Vs. Unicorns can be a bit uneven and but also wonderfully eclectic.  Highlights include Maureen Johnson’s laugh out loud zombie tale The Children of the Revolution, Carrie Ryan’s poetic tale of destruction in Bougainvillea, Naomi Novik’s irreverent critique of innocence in The Purity Test, and Diana Peterfreund’s The Care and Keeping of Your Killer Baby Unicorn, which had me squeeling “HOW DID I NOT KNOW UNTIL NOW THAT THERE IS A FANTASY SERIES ABOUT TEEN GIRLS THAT HUNT KILLER UNICORNS!!!!!

In addition to twelve zombie-or-unicorn packed stories, this collection also comes complete with hilarious commentary by our two illustrious editors.  The back and forth between Holly and Justine regarding which is most awesomeist: zombies or unicorns was the perfect addition to this anthology.  My only complaint was that their nerd!snark introductions got a little more spoilery than I would prefer, so if you tend to avoid spoilers like a zombie-borne-plague (or rainbow-colored-unicorn-farts?), I would suggest leaving the commentary until after you have finished the stories.

Reader’s Annotation:

Forget cavemen versus astronauts, the real question is “zombies or unicorns?”

Author Information:









Booktalking Ideas:

I would totally divide the class up and get them debating zombies vs. unicorns, and add in trivia based on the anthology to get them even more interested.

Reading Level/Target Age:

6th grade/14-24

(Yeah, I know that’s rather old at the higher end, but the super glossy and pretty cover is clearly trying to attract an older audience in addition to the regular teens.)

Possible Controversy:

There is so much in this book for people to get nervous about – sex with unicorns being just the start.  I suspect it will mostly get overlooked though because it’s fanbase, cover art, and premise suggest something a bit less…disturbing and sillier than what is inside.  I think people also have an easier time ignoring single stories in anthologies than they do entire novels or anthology topics.

Reasons for Choosing This Title:

I am a nerd and I love teen books.  There was no way I was not reading this.  I have, in fact, made it my mission to get my copy signed by every writer that participated in it.


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