The Newsflesh Series, by Mira Grant

“I guess in the end, it doesn’t matter what we wanted. What matters is what we chose to do with the things we had.” — G. Mason

I fell into these books by accident. They ended up surprising me at every turn. Going in cold, I thought it was YAF (Young Adult Fiction), I thought it would reasonably silly, and while I'm not completely done with zombies like most of my friends, I really thought there wasn't much more to be done. I was wrong at every turn. I even admit in hindsight that I went into this kind of side-eying the whole venture. I love being wrong.
Much like the fantastic Let the Right One In, where I discovered you could actually do something new with vamps, this book is the same with zombies. It is SO MUCH FUN.

This book exists at the intersection of zombie apocalypse and journalism. You'd be right to perk up your ears. It's an interesting premise and turns out it's a pretty deep well. 

The zombie apocalypse happened — the result of scientists attempting to create a cure for the common cold. They end up curing cancer, and making the dead rise into mindless, flesh-eating monsters. 

Georgia (George) and Shaun Mason are journalists. The post-print journalism world has divided journalists into three categories: "Newsies" - hard journalists, "Irwins" - news makers who set up dangerous situations and film it. Yes, named after Steve Irwin., and "Fictionals" - does what it says on the tin. We pick up in a different-but-recognizable landscape of the near future where journalists are smart, savvy and armed to the teeth. Georgia and Shaun are given the chance to follow the favored presidential candidate on the campaign trail leading up to the DNC. 

These books are smart, funny and extremely self-aware. I expected that from the first mention of George Romero — no, George's name is no coincidence, and yes — he's considered the savior of the human race. And that's about the least corny thing these books do. The characters are relatable, competent and just damn likable. On top of that, these books delve into the depths of what it means to be a journalist, and what a journalist's responsibilities are. Grant is far more interested in the nuance between the lines of the basic tenant of "tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth" — Grant is interested in the unexpected consequences to any unwavering commitment to any approach. 

In addition to the complex and relatable characters, Grant is SMART. You can tell she left no stone unturned, and when it comes to science and biology, while there are fictitious scenarios, there are no false notes. Never once do you feel in the hands of a less-than-capable storyteller. Thanks to that, they move at a breakneck pace through the mire that is politics, news making, and the fully developed, gorgeously human people involved in these situations. 

What surprised me most was the grace and emotional honesty of these books. Where there's surface flash, there's also a lot more going on beneath the surface. It's hard to quantify how much I really loved these books, and they've stayed with me long past the satisfying conclusion. Grab these and be prepared to drop everything to find out what's next. And seriously, grab all three. If you're in, you're IN, and you don't want to have to wait to keep up. 

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