Darren Charlton

Stripes Publishing

ISBN 9781788951210

Winter was the only season every Lake-Lander feared... In a post-apocalyptic America, a community survives in a national park, surrounded by water that keeps the Dead at bay. But when winter comes, there's nothing to stop them from crossing the ice. Then homebody Peter puts the camp in danger by naively allowing a stranger to come ashore and he's forced to leave the community of Wranglestone. Now he must help rancher Cooper, the boy he's always watched from afar, herd the Dead from their shores before the lake freezes over. But as love blossoms, a dark discovery reveals the sanctuary's secret past. One that forces the pair to question everything they've ever known. An action-packed and thought-provoking debut, for fans of Patrick Ness, Marcus Sedgwick, DREAD NATION and The Walking Dead. 'A bucolic, intimate twist on the zombie/post-apocalyptic story... It's impressive how Darren has combined the pace, thrills, and gore you expect from zombie fiction with a genuinely tender romance.' - David Owen, author of GRIEF ANGELS 'Thrilling zombie epic meets gorgeous gay love story. The world-building is deft, the writing poetic ... this is very special! Properly scary and properly heart-warming.' - William Hussey, author of HIDEOUS BEAUTY 'Chilling, atmospheric, and beautifully written, WRANGLESTONE is a thrilling apocalyptic tale with a tender love story at its heart.' - Gabriel Dylan, author of WHITEOUT

Librarian's Book choice

It's easy to think, when you start reading this, that maybe it's just another zombie book, but you would be mistaken. Peter and Cooper are two boys growing up in a post zombie apocalypse, kept relatively safe on their island haven until the ice starts forming. Peter and Cooper end up forced out onto the mainland where they encounter death and danger and also discover a secret about their island community that changes everything.

There is a new twist to the zombie aspect in this book which makes it compelling and interesting and which puts an provoking spin on not only the characters perceptions of the Restless Dead, but also what we think about them. Peter and Cooper also fall in love and find nothing but acceptance and joy in their community and families, which I found refreshing for a teen book with LGBT characters. The focus was on their love and bond and how they survive in this gripping thriller rather than their sexual orientation.

I'd recommend this book for children aged 12 and over. It's a brilliant and engaging read that will appeal to boys and girls. It has some violence and peril, obviously, but is very gripping and fast-paced and is a thoroughly engaging read.

384 Pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Jessica Locke, school librarian