Book Review: Zombie XI

Zombie XI by Pete Kalu

Leonard is on the bench. In the dead zone. Stuck there like a zombie. And it’s not as if his soccer team is even any good without him! They lose all the time—until lightning strikes.

When his team plays near a nuclear power plant, a weird energy passes through Leonard, and that night he is visited by zombies. During a ghostly conversation with the entire 1966 England World Cup soccer team, the players tell him that if he follows their instructions, he’ll finally make the school team and start winning. Leonard obeys and the team’s prospects surge, but at what price? What pound of flesh will the zombies demand?

Young Adult is an interesting genre when you think about it. There are books that feature knights and dragon slayers, paranormal activities, magicians, and normal everyday activities. This latter always strikes me in ways different than an fantasy story. To be completely honest I thought that Zombie XI would be about a complete zombie soccer team that would battle it out on the field against normal players. But it's not quite it. You get a lot more than you bargained for... 

To start meet Leonard, a 15 year old boy who lives in England, goes to school and plays soccer. Though he is on the soccer team Leonard doesn't see that much action during the matches as he is mostly glued to the bench warming it. he fantasizes about what it would be like to play soccer. On one Saturday when Leonard is again stuck on the bench he sees something occurring at a nuclear power plant that changes his life forever. He start to see the zombies. Now this is how far the zombie aspect goes of the book. They help Leonard and the football team. 

Though where this book actually shines is the way that Pete Kalu shows Leonard. Looking back on my own childhood there are so many striking similarities of all that we had to go through and endure. I never was a star in things, I was kinda chubby and wanted to fit in. Though Leonard isn't chubby, he was want to fit in as every teenager does. He likes girls but doesn't get the attention because his friend Eddie interferes. Next to this there are plenty of other small things that you encounter as a teenager when you grow up and discover the world more and more. 

Pete Kalu combines a fun and fast story together with the highs and lows of growing up. 


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