Title: Mean Ghouls
Author: Stacia Deutsch
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
“There was so much emotion boiling inside Megan, she couldn’t control it anymore. All Megan wanted was to get cured and go home, but no one was going to help her! In fact, everyone at Zombie Academy was working against her,” Stacia Deutsch writes in her children’s book, Mean Ghouls, part of the Rotten Apple Series.
At one hundred and seventy-five pages, this paperback book has a young female cartoon character smiling as she hugs her notebook with two mean zombie girls in the background on the front cover. The back cover has two paragraphs about the book’s story along with a plug for another Rotten Apple Series book. Inside, it also includes the first chapter of the plugged book along with a list of eight others in the series. Even though there is no profanity or questionable scenes, due to the topic of zombies and monsters, this book may only be of interest to children enthralled in the current fascination of zombies or walking dead and their supposed lifestyle.
In this predictable tome, twelve year old Megan has contracted “zombieitus,” a degenerative disease where there is no supposed cure so her parents and younger brother say their goodbyes as she is taken to Zombie Academy, a castle-looking boarding school near Dana Point, California. Missing her best friend Rachel and her first school crush Brett, she befriends Sam, a forever-young zombie, and Happy, a purposefully negative girl who always wears black. When the three-girl Zom-B gang, Brooke, Betsy and Belinda, target Megan as the new kid to bully, Sam and Happy come to her defense. But when Megan accuses the mean ghouls of stealing the cure to rid the illness, she cannot prove they were the culprits. When her family, Rachel and Brett come on Visitor’s Day and become chummy with the group of mean girls, Megan has nowhere to turn until she disrupts the day’s events by jumping to the wrong conclusion yet ends up finding the real thief and the remedy, curing anyone who wants to go back to their prior normal lives.
If you do not mind your young, influential or naive children reading far-fetched fiction how zombies supposedly stay the same age, lose their memory so have to write everything down, get head wounds that do not heal, are rarely thirsty and cannot be killed, this series may be for them. But if you want their reading experience to not include nonsense, guide them to something more edifying and educational.