Friday, January 29, 2010

Book Review: The Peculiar Superpowers of Eleanor Armstrong by K.A. Schloegel

Teenage writer Eleanor Armstrong tells the story of her life as a collection of Facebook-esque entries interspersed with the chapters of the novel she is writing. She starts out writing a nice, quiet high school romance, depicting the love triangle between ultra-hip and smart Sarah – who is really just Eleanor with great hair, her geeky pal Marky – who is Eleanor’s pal in real life too, and popular jock Brandon – a character based on a boy who once spoke to Eleanor. But to her dismay, the novel turns to horror after zombies attack the school and kill Brandon. You know, just the usual “Boy meets girl. Boy turns into zombie. Zombie-boy loses girl. Zombie-boy gets girl.” Huh? Write what you know, Eleanor’s teacher tells her. And what she knows is a high school teeming with bored kids who will prey upon each other, can be kind, cruel, fall in love, or anything in between just to relieve the tedium of their existence. In other words, a school full of zombies. So Eleanor goes with it. Zombie attacks abound, both in her novel and her real life as an overlooked teenager with peculiar superpowers.

Eleanor isn't popular, she doesn't think she's pretty, nor does she think the guy of her dreams, Elijah, will ever look twice at her. Sarah, the character Eleanor creates for her zombie novel, is everything Eleanor wishes she could be. Of course, the reader sees that they're more alike than Eleanor realizes.

I think that one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much was because it was so easy to relate to Eleanor. She's forced to deal with an unrequited crush, the possibility of losing her best guy-friend to another girl, and family problems on top of that. In my opinion, these are fairly typical teen issues. Even if the ones I mentioned don't apply to you, personally, I'm sure you can empathize with what her.

The aspect I most enjoyed about this book was the way the chapters were set up. The reader gets a portion of the zombie story being written by Eleanor, and then a blog entry (or two) discussing her life. I particularly enjoyed the way Eleanor left notes within the chapters for her teacher. While this happened rarely, I thought it showed Eleanor's sass, which I always appreciate in a character. The blog entries were another great way to allow readers get to know her character. These entries consisted of the things happening around her, and allowed the reader to learn more about Eleanor, Marky, and reveal the true character of the popular jock Elijah.

The only thing I could have asked for was a small story line being discussed a bit more. Without spoiling who the characters are, the book briefly discusses the topic of teacher-student relationships. I would have liked to have seen more of the psychological repercussions of that. Aside from that, I enjoyed the book, and will be looking forward to reading more from Schloegel.

The Peculiar Superpowers of Eleanor Armstrong: A Zombie Love Story
By K.A. Schloegel
Published by BookSurge Publishing
324 Pages
Rating: B


Andrea said...

Interesting concept. It sounds great though I'm not too fond of the cover.

Tales of Whimsy said...

Excellent review!
I'm not a zombie girl but your review rocked :)

Unknown said...

Good review! I might have to check this out. The cover is really scaring me away though.

Emma said...

Wonderful review! This looks genuinely interesting, although I wouldn't have picked it up because of the cover.

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