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The Cellar

3.1 of 5 stars 3.10  ·  rating details  ·  198 ratings  ·  95 reviews
Meredith Willis is suspicious of Adrien, the new guy next door. When she dares to sneak a look into the windows of his house, she sees something in the cellar that makes her believe that Adrien might be more than just a creep—he may be an actual monster. But her sister, Heather, doesn’t share Meredith’s repulsion. Heather believes Adrien is the only guy who really understa...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 2nd 2011 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2011)
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Tagged by Joseph M. ChironWe Got Zombies On The Lawn Again, Ma by Donnie  SmithRot and Ruin by Jonathan MaberryUndying by Valerie GrosjeanThe Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Best Young Adult Zombie Books
14th out of 23 books — 34 voters
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Most Awaited Books of 2011
282nd out of 329 books — 775 voters

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Community Reviews

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A.J. Whitten's The Cellar is supposed to be a mix of zombies and Romeo and Juliet. I could have done with more Romeo and Juliet and less zombies. The horror in this book isn't very "I'm going to have nightmares for weeks because of this"--it felt more just gratuitous. However, for the segment of young adult readers who enjoy horror lite with a smattering of Twilight, this will be enjoyable.

Personally, I would have liked if this story stayed with a third-person narrative. The switch between first...more
Merideth Jenson-Benjamin

Summary: Meredith lost her dad months ago in a car wreck caused by her sister Heather. Now, Heather has become an emo poster-child and Mom is a shopoholic. But when the amazingly handsome and charismatic Adrien St. Germain moves to town, Heather falls instantly in love. Meredith however, senses something not right about Adrien, and seeks answers in the decrepit house next door. But, can she believe what she sees?

What Worked: The writing here is atmospheric...more
I love me a good zombie story!Especially one that is not about the stereotypical goofy-stupid kind of zombies.
The Cellar was a book that started very strong but I am afraid had a somewhat disappointing second half.

The writing was pretty good, very funny and witty.I admit it,the detailed and very gory descriptions gave me quite a scare when I was reading the book in the middle of the night.Regardless of that,though,first 200 pages went by without my even noticing it, it was that good!

Then, the re...more
Also see the review on my blog.

Let me begin by telling you how many horror books I've ever read: zero. I don't even watch horror movies because they freak me out too much. But while The Cellar was, in fact, a horror, it wasn't overwhelmingly scary. The author (I know it's not just ONE author, but it's easier to say the author than saying it the drawn out way.) focused more on the creepy aspects, like bugs and bugs and more bugs. BIG bugs. Lots of them. There was also lots of human torture (they...more
This ARC was provided from the great folks at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley, and I thank you!!

So WOW this is a scary, horror filled, creepy skin crawl inducing, not to be read alone in the dark, version of Romeo and Juliet.....and I LOVED it!!! This book will creep you out and drawl you in faster than you can say "boogieman." You don't even have to be a big Romeo & Juliet, or Shakespeare fan to enjoy this book.

First the Tragedy

Due to a tragic car accident sisters Heather and Meredi
First impressions: The book opens with a tense scene where Meredith's sister, Heather, blurts that she wishes she had died instead of their father. This family is falling apart after a car accident that killed their patriarch, and this bombshell of a statement sets up a very complicated relationship between the sisters that really sucked me in.

Lasting impressions: Unfortunately, there were not enough likable elements in this book for me to recommend it.

Conflicting impressions: For me, the book w...more
Krista (CubicleBlindness Reviews)
Ok. So Weird boy moves in next door. Sister falls in love with him. See a Dead body hanging in the neighbors basement: body is being eaten by neighbor and his mother...."brains are the best"... All the girls are acting weird at school. Something is def. going on!

This book not only had an incredibly smart Zombie (which is unusal because they are always brain-dead flesh eaters), but also a love story. (*ahhh* right?)

It really is...who would have thought that a zombie would make a swoon worthy boyf...more
What I Can Tell You:
I loved it! It's a mystery. It's horror. It's young love. It's young adult. It's everything. A.J. White does a great job of creating an interesting story about sisters Heather and Meredith, who are high schoolers who recently lost their loving father. When neighbors move into the old Victorian house things start getting weird.

New neighbor "living dead" Adrien and his "mother" Marie are interesting. All the girls in school find Adrien super hot but Meredith is convinced there...more
Bewitched Bookworms
The zombies in this book aren't your standard shuffling along, not thinking or communicating zombies. They are in the vein of Haitian voodoo zombies and it's interesting to see ones that can act like normal everyday people. But they do have to replace their host bodies as they decay.

I give this book a 5 out of 5. It's a very interesting and fast paced read. Plus it's a little gorier than most young adult fare.

Read the full review here.
Like Darren Shan meets Stephenie Meyer. Double euwww.
I didn't know what to expect from this book when I first picked it up. From the brief description, I gathered I'd probably like it (love zombies when they're done right), but the comparison with Romeo and Juliet really threw me. I couldn't see how it would work.

But it did work. The only thing for me that didn't work was the switch from first person to third person. If you want other people's perspectives, just stick to third person for the whole thing. It really did confuse me when one minute I'...more

Meredith and Heather Willis are sisters dealing with the recent death of their father, and with the new kid who has moved in next door. Check it out on goodreads. Or read my review, and then decide whether you want to bother or not.

What is good about this book... hmmm. Well, there exists this genre of horror for people who don't like horror. This is one of them. The Cellar reads about one level up from a Goosebumps story, so this is not a real horror story. So, there is the good. Now, everything...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
The reason I wanted to read The Cellar was because it advertised itself as Romeo and Juliet with zombies, only not in a Quirk classics way. That sounded like it could be hilarious. It wasn't for an assortment of reasons. 1: It took itself way too seriously. 2: Having the school do a modern version of Romeo and Juliet does not make this a modernization of said play; the story has to back it up. 3: These zombies are totally not following the rules and are, perhaps, other fantastical creatures. All...more
I received an early ebook from NetGalley.
This is a YA book with zombies. More than just brains are eaten.
POV is confusing. Meredith speaks in the first person, while we the reader see/hear what Heather is thinking in the third person while Meredith is not present.
Heather is a cautionary tale for teens driving while using a cell phone. Heather feels tremendous guilt about the accident that killed her father and brought such pain to her mother and sister. Then the new boy moves in across the str...more
Emily S.
I've always been on the fence about horror novels, and zombies in particular. While I kind of liked this one a little bit, it reminded me why I generally steer clear of zombies. They're just gross. These ones were no exception. Except that maybe they were a little grosser than usual because of the bugs.

When Adrien first showed up at school, I'll admit that I had a major crush on him. I knew there was something up, but come on. Who DOESN'T like a guy who marches to the beat of his own drummer and...more
I like The Cellar.



The Cellar got this weird take on zombies that until now, I’m still not sure if I like it or not. Either way, I’m satisfied with its ending.

A family tragedy left Meredith and her sister, Heather, in tatters. While Heather found solace in isolation, Meredith struggled to be strong and be the glue that sticks her family together. Heather’s vulnerability catches Adrien’s eye, whether as food or love interest, I don’t really know at first. Meredith is suspicious of Adri...more
When I came across this title on NetGalley last week, the description seemed interesting so I thought I'd give it a shot. So I continued my forray into the young adult horror world (started with Hunger a few weeks ago).

Sisters Heather and Meredith are still hurting from the accidental death of their father, but each in their own ways. Extrovert Heather, who was in the car accident with her father, turned inward and stopped participating in drama club as well as dumped her boyfriend. Meredith tur...more

It's only been a few months since Meredith and Heather lost their father in a horrible car accident when Heather was driving. Things haven't gotten better for them. Heather still blames herself. Meredith still doesn't know how to talk to her. Their mother spends every free moment using "retail therapy" to try and make the pain go away. And an aunt has moved in with her twin sons to try and keep the family running.

Now the decrepit eyesore of a house next do...more
This review is also published at

Again, many thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for letting me read this book!

Romeo and Juliet meet the living dead…

There’s something strange about the new guy… That would be fine if “strange” meant that the new guy had an obsession with frogs or that he reads his books backwards, but nothing’s that simple anymore…

After Meredith Willis’ dad dies in a car accident, she’s the only one who’s kept it all together, t...more
The Cellar by A.J. Whitten is not your typical Young Adult Zombie story. It's more of a love story taking the premise of Romeo and Juliet with a horror slant. Heather and Meredith are sisters that recently lost their father to a tragic accident. Since the accident Heather has become withdrawn while Meredith starts to see things. Not long after, new neighbors move in across the street, Adrien St. Germaine and his "mother" Marie who are zombies. Marie is consistently looking for a new "body" to ta...more
I got this as an advanced reader on my Kindle. The cover of the book is misleading. I thought that I was going to be reading about Romeo and Juliet coming back to life as Zombies or something like that. I'm giving it two stars because it's a very played out storyline. The concept was interesting but, the book felt like it just went on and on. In this book we find another female doormat character named Heather. Luckily, her sister Meredith is on the ball. Heather falls in love with a Zombie named...more
When I requested this title on netGalley, I didn't really know what to expect. I rarely read books about zombies, they're not really my thing, but I thought I'd give it a try.

In my opinion, the idea had a lot of potential - mix classic with modern and you'll have a large audience - but the writing, the characters and the development of the story were far from being great.

Also, I have to say I was bored through most of the book because the plot was pretty predictable and the part I liked the most...more
This was a very quick read and I powered through it. It was fun and gory which was what I found most enjoyable about it. It started off great but veered off into silly land towards the end. I mean it got REALLY silly and some of the lines were particularly cheesy and over the top. But all and all if you are looking for something amusing, gory and quick then this is the one for you.
Krista Ashe
Totally freaky in a good way....I was drawn to the book b/c of the Romeo and Juliet, it had a pretty creepy but awesome cover!!

I just devoured it in one had a lot of great twists and turns...sometimes I would look at the page number and think, "Well, where else can this go?" and then BAM!

Blog review to come.
Actually I don't know what page I'm on since I'm reading it on my kindly, but I'm less than halfway through it. I'm enjoying it, but I would prefer if the main baddie was a little less totally evil. I appreciate complex characters.

It was entertaining, but I won't be re-reading this book. Good, short read though!
Kristina Weber
I really didn't like this book. Look for my review in School Library Journal! :)
Rebecca A. Rogers
I always hate giving a bad review. Ninety-eight percent of the time, if I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it. But this one was short, seemed like an easy read, and I wanted to know how it all ended (although, I should’ve just skipped ahead to find out). Plus, I love zombies.

Following the death of their father, sisters Meredith and Heather barely speak to each other. Heather blames herself, since she was driving the night of the wreck, and Meredith can’t seem to reach out to her sister like she...more
Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books)
1.5 stars

Zombie books are awesome, they really are, but The Cellar just did not cut it for me. The premise has so much promise, playing off of Romeo and Juliet, but with a zombie and a depressed girl as the leads. It’s the execution that just didn’t work for me.

The chapters alternate between Meredith’s first person POV and her depressed sister Heather and zombie boy Adrien’s third person POV. This style allows the reader to see more into the story and the characters, but also makes it harder to...more
Marrion James (The Book Associate)
This book is contained zombies. Yes, zombies. The thought of it makes me want to read it because I love zombie-inspired stories and movies. So I didn't hesitate to permit a request for a ARC. Well, let's start shall we?

The Plot. It was a great plot. It is not a typical-ordinary-zombies you see on the movies who mindlessly eats whatever that is alive. Well, at first, they were only two, though when the story progresses at the end, obviously, they were a lot! And it has the uniqueness applied to t...more
You know when a finish a book, you know you should sit down and write the review right away but you don't? Well that's what happened here, so forgive me if this review is a little short. I'm actually going to write it using the 5 W's to help me remember and focus it :)

FIRST THOUGH. Since I'm writing this review on a Friday my typical For the Guys day I want to address if it's for the guys. For the Boys? Even though the main character is a girl - yes I think so! It's got that horror movie vibe go...more
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A.J. Whitten is the pen name for well-known romance author Shirley Jump and her teenage daughter, Amanda Jump.
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