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Better Off Undead

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  100 ratings  ·  34 reviews
After becoming undead, a boy tries to survive middle school.

Adrian Lazarus has met with a curious fate. He's returned from the dead (after a bad bike accident, no helmet), yet not a lot has changed. He's always been an outcast. But it's not just being a zombie that makes Adrian feel different. He notices the world has changed, too: bees are vanishing, forest fires are burn
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 31st 2017 by Feiwel & Friends
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Average rating 3.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  100 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary |
Review to come.
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You should never think that you are different because its ok to be different.In the book he was a zombie but slowly he became more appreciated and fit in with everybody else.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, juvenile
What to say about this book. After reading the jacket cover and reviews I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, I didn't love it. I wasn't sure if this was about the main character Adrian, being a living dead kid or about saving the planet from global warming. The two just didn't seem to go together.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: grades-6-8, 2018
It's more like Better Off Unread. Seriously, it started off fine, but it got so preachy that it just wasn't fun. I'm all for teaching kids to save the planet, but they don't need to be hit over the head with it.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
The theme of this book is that not everything has to have an answer. Things happen for a reason but it cant always be explained
After a bike accident, Adrian Lazarus might think he'd be better off dead; instead, for reasons no one understands, he's a zombie, complete with decaying flesh and appendages that fall off at the worst possible moments. While his mother is off selling real estate and his father is overseas working for a company trying to obtain water rights, Adrian and his little brother Dane make do. To stave off further physical deterioration, Adrian drinks formaldehyde shakes and avoids the outside world as m ...more
In the distant future, the climate is a mess, technology is intrusive, and middle school is the same. Over the summer, Adrian gets into a bike accident that somehow leaves him undead. Much to the amazement of all scientific professionals, everyone decides it's best if Adrian tries to get on with his life or afterlife that is. Middle school has never been easy, but now Adrian has to balance being a zombie on top of it. Outside of dealing with the local bully, Adrian and his new friends get pulled ...more
Aimee Pelletier
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Adrian was staring in the mirror looking at himself. He is the main character, and a zombie. Talal is a boy that helps Adrian in the story. Gia is a girl who is somewhat like Adrian. She was stung by so many bees that she died but came back to life with the power to see somewhat into the future. She can see what happens. When she uses it she loses energy. Zander is one of Adrian's best friends and sticks with him till the end. In the book, Adrian used to be a human before he got in a accident an ...more
Krissy Neddo
Nov 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Good start, slow middle, fast paced ending. My kids struggle to finish a book, so I have a feeling I can sell this book, but they will start and return unfinished, and won't get to the part they'll like best- confronting bully, Daryll, with a prank fight and using drones and Talal's computer skills to save Adrian from medical experiments by the Bork brothers.
And maybe it was just me, but please, in the next book cut back on the text about the polluting the environment, water shortages, GMOs, ba
Welp, this just sucked. *sighs*I have been looking forward to this book ever since I participated in the Nerdblast for it, then I had to order it, and it was finally out. Sadly, the zombie stuff is pretty decent in the first part, but after that it moves to the back (way in the back even), and instead of little bits, like in the beginning, all the stuff is about boohoo we are ruining Earth, and you should feel ashamed and the bees, THHEEEEEBEEEEESSS. Oh, and more pushing and shoving stuff into y ...more
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
Better Off Undead was an interesting book. Plot was quite odd, but the book wasn't awful. I wouldn't suggest it to a friend, but I think the book has potential. James Preller could've gone another direction with the plot that wasn't so weird, but they chose some odd events to take place in the book. I don't really understand Gia, she got stung by a bee and now she can see the future. I don't know why they made the Bork brothers connected. Also, the book just doesn't make sense. They never explai ...more
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Adrian (last name Lazarus - wonder what that's referring to...) was not wearing a bike helmet (duh!), and died when he got into a bad accident. Somehow he came back to life, but he is now afflicted with terribly dry skin, loss of appetite, and is constantly harassed by clouds of flies. Things are different, but it's not just because he is undead. Globally things are falling apart as well - bees are dying, forest fires are raging. Then he discovers that he is being spied upon by a droid. He and t ...more
Jan 09, 2019 rated it liked it
No one knows why Adrian Lazarus came back to life after being killed by a hit and run driver. Since they can't explain his moldering flesh and hunger for raw meat, the adults in his life decide to ignore his zombieism. Thus Adrian for forced to attend middle school, where his classmates are much less tolerant. He has precisely three friends: eco-warrior Zander, psychic Gia, and gumshoe Talal. He will need all their talents when his condition attracts some dangerous attention. Adrian's story keep ...more
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Why is this fantasy? Zombie, duh. Why is this Sci Fi? It happens in the near future w/ a realistic extrapolation from the present in the ecological problems. Why is it realistic fiction? Because really, Adrian Lazarus being a zombie is just a metaphor: normal kids don't know who they are, are trying to fit in with a group yet feeling alone and dorky, normal kids try to be like everyone else and end up just being stressed out and zoned out like a zombie. This is like a younger version of "Zombie ...more
Lucas Portabella Álvarez De Toledo
Better Off Undead by James Preller was a pretty good book although the start is not the best but the ending is really good and includes a lot of action. I would recommend it for all ages as it's something everyone would enjoy! It's about a boy that dies from being hit by a car while riding on a bike and he revives in the hospital so he goes through tests and they find out he has no blood or heart and they give up. BUT a company K and K a billion dollar industry owned by 2 brothers that are old a ...more
Barbara White
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Better Off Dead is a fabulous connection between science and literacy for classroom teachers to capitalize on. What is destroying our planet? What can be done? My students loved this book and made connections between the story and the world in which they live. There is no better review than a young adult enjoying a book.
I highly recommend this book. Thanks to Goodreads First Reads for a copy of Better Off Dead.
Debbie Armbruster
Adrian Lazarus died a few weeks before the start of school- but don’t think that gets him out of starting 7th grade...

A cute, funny middle grade zombie adventure set in the near future. A smattering of societal and environmental concerns are addressed, although not in a truly in depth way- probably just right for sparking interest and further inquiry. My incoming 6th grader will enjoy it, as will some of the younger 7th graders. Of interest for 5th-7th.
Terry Maguire
This is a delightful read for fans of zombie-mystery-friendship-school fiction (yes, it really is all of those in one book!). I loved the voice of Adrian Alexander and his wry humor as he talks about his accident and resulting zombie state. The book quickly moves into mystery mode as Alexander tries to figure out who is spying on him and why- which means him relying on help from his friends. This is a light-hearted read that will appeal to many middle grade readers, particularly boys.
Kim Mento
Adrian is just your average middle school kid except that while his classmates are worried about pimples, he is worried about his nose falling off. Adrian is a zombie. He's not sure how it happened but it did. He died in a bike accident (no helmet - poor decision) and now he's undead and trying to get though seventh grade and making some friends along the way.

In our library F PRELLER.
Chelsea Briggs
Feb 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I wanted to read this just to get away from thinking too much, and I got that. This is, admittedly, a children's book. So it was comically easy to read, and the story was mostly enjoyable. The ending left a lot to be desired, almost as if it was the first of a series.
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
At first I liked it the story was written witty and
Enjoyable but half way through the book I got rather bored of it and wanted to finish it quickly
Aidan G-C
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lori Kaye Coerber
Jul 11, 2019 rated it liked it
I was not impressed. When I picked it up I'm not sure what I was expecting but a book about beekeeping and running from a kidnapper was definitely not it.
Karen Hamer
Jul 18, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Coreia G.
Nov 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
I didn't like this book. i believe it could've been way better. It was a little confusing for me.
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
A bit scary, but a very exciting book.
it was a good book i recomened this book
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
Funny story. Was an entertaining read with my daughter.
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Love this book that starts out kind of light and funny and surprised me as I kept reading! Recommended!
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James Preller (born 1961) is the children's book author of the Jigsaw Jones Mysteries, which are published by Scholastic Corporation. He grew up in Wantagh, New York and went to college in Oneonta, New York. After graduating from college in 1983, James Preller was employed as a waiter for one year before being hired as a copywriter by Scholastic Corporation, where he was introduced (through their ...more

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