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Raising Stony Mayhall

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  3,575 ratings  ·  509 reviews
In 1968, after the first zombie outbreak, Wanda Mayhall and her three young daughters discover the body of a teenage mother during a snowstorm. Wrapped in the woman’s arms is a baby, stone-cold, not breathing, and without a pulse. But then his eyes open and look up at Wanda — and he begins to move.

The family hides the child — whom they name Stony — rather than turn him ove
Paperback, 403 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Del Rey
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Lis Yes! It is NOT your typical zombie novel/movie/comic/show. It didn't pull me in immediately - during Stony's young childhood - but I couldn't put it d…moreYes! It is NOT your typical zombie novel/movie/comic/show. It didn't pull me in immediately - during Stony's young childhood - but I couldn't put it down after THINGS HAPPEN early on. In fact, one of the highest points of praise I can give Gregory is that things always, always happen in his books - plots turn on big events rather than small ones that happen to be convenient for the plot. If you haven't read his other books, look them up - Afterparty and Pandemonium are my favorites.)

I honestly have no idea how to answer your other questions, except to say that it's definitely better than what I was expecting and what it sounds like you're expecting. Stony's a wonderful character to spend time with, although there's some competition, especially from the other zombies. Have you ever heard that the main character in a story is the one that changes the most? I've read a lot of coming-of-age books, and this is unusual and unusually compelling.

In some ways it's almost a political intrigue book. No romance, but a lot about love and family (blood, adopted, and created) and identity and belonging. It's a weird, unclassifiable book but I think you should give it a chance.(less)
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Oct 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
zombie novels are usually about other things, where the zombies/zombie situation is just standing in for whatever larger theme, whatever personal political or social point the author wants to make. zombies are a conveniently adaptable menace: the fluidity of their ontology, the mechanics of their movements and behaviors: fast or slow? sentient or no? brain eating or no? zombies suit the needs of many different authors to many different ends.

this book is no different. it is zombie novel as "what
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“You’re not like the rest of them, Stony. Maybe it was the way you were born. But you’re different. You’re more . . . human.”

Dear Daryl Gregory . . . . .

I stumbled upon this author a few years ago when everyone was raving about We Are All Completely Fine (followed up by a library copy of Harrison Squared since (1) it featured the MC from We Are All Completely Fine in child format and (2) I’m always on the lookout for YA to for
Jan 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Ceridwen & Richard, in particular...
This was pure pleasure--a reinvention (or is that revitalization?) of the zombie mythos, a compelling and often surprising what-happens-next? page-turner, and as sweet, funny, moving, and yet tough-minded as the very best of Bradbury (or John Crowley, who gets a hat/tip).

My rating may go up. But this is awesome; I've really enjoyed Gregory's novels, but this is something.

(And now Mira Grant and Colson Whitehead have a pretty high bar to jump for their uses of the zombie. . . .)

A longer review to
Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead
Made the list for

Best Badass Zombie Books..

Part 1

This is the story of a little baby found on the side of a road. He is clearly different. He should not be.

Wanda Mayhall does not care. Stony is a baby. She will protect him from the world, and make sure he is raised to be loved and cherished just like her three other children.

Sadly for Stony, he knows he is not like his sisters. His physical self is not only different, but he feels no pain, and things that
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Dec 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
Though this is certainly not the very best novel I have ever read--or have read this year, or this month, or even this week--this is definitely the most super funfun time I have had reading a book in ages. I know that by saying that I am running the risk of driving people away from Stony Mayhall out of sheer literary fussiness and general taking-self-too-seriouslyness (not saying I'm not guilty), and that is truly a shame because it really is quite well-written on top of being fast-paced and che ...more
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Lazy updating this because I haven't feeling well past few days and can't concentrate enough to write a proper review for this and my other most recent read... bleh. I blame Mother Nature (allergies and sinus suck)

Still enjoyed this one very much, this would be interesting to see as a mini-series or a movie if done right.

Original review:

I was very skeptical about this, not gonna lie or sugarcoat it. I'd seen some positive reviews for it and was intrigued but it took me awhile to pick it up af
The first half of this novel was probably the best-written YA featuring a zombie I've read, and I generally have a slight repulsion for the idea, so the fact that I actually LIKED this was rather impressive.

Taking place at the same time as Romero's first Dead movie and steadily marching through time as a handful of zombies who weren't summarily wiped out in the first outbreak quickly regained normal human consciousness, we follow this particular kid, Stony Mayhall. He grows up, being unusual eno
Oct 07, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Gregory’s take on zombies in Raising Stony Mayhall is both unusual and ambitious, blending an alternate history, a Living Dead divided by ideology and politics, and musings of the existential variety.

It is an intelligent book that has a lot to say, occasionally taking a philosophical turn as Stony wrestles with the paradox of his existence and the events his life has set in motion. The first part, detailing Stony’s early family life, is strong and richly observed. The characters are written wit
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Not quite a 5-star read, but I'm rounding up because it's close enough.

John "Stony" Mayhall is a living dead miracle who defy all odds, logic, laws of physics, our understanding of anatomy and physiology, our sense of "living" and "death," etc. He lives despite not having that spark of life, he grows despite not having proper bodily functions, and he ages despite time not being a factor that should affect him. And he thinks, not only intelligently, but deeply and ponders questions like, "What is
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I sat on this review for weeks, mostly because it isn’t easy for me to form, let alone articulate, a coherent opinion about Stony Mayhall, and it’s all the more difficult to do so without spoilers. So here’s my best shot, before the book becomes a dim memory.

The story starts with a portrait of “The Last Girl, the sole survivor, a young woman in a blood-spattered tank top.” The girl, whose name is Ruby, has made it through the zombie attack, to the temporary peace of the small town of Easterly, I
This book has an outstanding premise and infuses a lot of originality and freshness into the standard zombie canon. I came so very close to giving it four stars, but alas, in the end it remains at a solid, hard won three. In a novel filled with a brilliant cast of characters, everyone unique and engaging in their own way, I felt there was an emotional element largely absent from most of the story.

I'm left a little perplexed why this should be so, since it's a book about "zombies" and how they t
Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Bravo. This is the zombie book I didn't know I wanted. It's a grim, slyly funny, philosophical story about a zombie baby found beside the road in alternate history 1968 Iowa, and the women who risk their lives to raise him (raising, get it? No really, I swear, it's actually very cleverly funny). This is a book that draws its political horror in broad dashes, but does its interpersonal work in tight, minute, precise gestures. It's thinking about zombie fiction, but not in that irritating way wher ...more
Megan Baxter
May 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Goddammit, people. I don't want to read zombie books. I'm not a huge fan of zombie cinema (I've seen two Romero movies, and that's about it.) I don't read horror. I like to sleep, and I'm far too sensitive to such things! (Although it's easier to let go of when it's the written word instead of the screen.) So how have I ended up reading two zombie books this year, both of which I really liked? Dammit, Daryl Gregory! Dammit, Mira Grant! Stop that!

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn d
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: zombies
3.5 interesting concept in the zombie novel genre. The main character is a zombie who gets adopted by a family in Iowa. I really enjoyed the first third of the novel but liked the rest of it less. Some interesting ideas about how the zombies organised themselves.
Interested in more of my reviews? Visit my blog!

In Part I, the Mayhall family find a woman long dead on the side of the road with a baby wrapped up inside her coat. Shortly after, Wanda Mayhall realizes what he really is, yet decides that they are going to keep him anyways and hide him from the world. We watch Stony change and literally grow from a baby into a young man just as any normal living human being does. We watch him become an integral part of the Mayhall family and develop into his own
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
The blurb of this book is what first drew me in promising a new take on zombies. Not one where they are mindless feeding machines, but one where they are able to think and speak and control their impulses.

The zombies in this book, after being turned, go through a 24-48 hour fever where they are the mindless feeding machines, but after the fever breaks they turn into the "Living Dead" or LD. Their bite is still deadly, and they are hard to kill but they can function almost normally. If you consid
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book. A really great book. I originally came across Daryl Gregory's books while browsing and thought they looked very interesting, so particularly with my love for zombie genre, this was a case of judging the book by the cover (or description really since the cover is not very descriptive) and it definitely paid off. There is an epic quality to this book, which easily transcends the genre limitations and simply transforms it into a great work of literature with strong ...more
Dec 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Zombies, single mothers of zombies
I'm not sure why zombie novels are all the rage right now, or why I'm reading so many, but Raising Stony Mayhall was unexpectedly good. From the description, I was expecting it to be kind of a one-note gimmick based on the thin premise of a "zombie baby," but some positive reviews convinced me to give it a try, and I'm glad I did.

This is a book written by someone who knows the zombie genre and treats it with appropriate respect, while adding something of his own to the zombie mythology. The back
Nov 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
At first, this novel begins like The Waltons meets The Walking Dead. It's a clever quarter of a novel that introduces our hero Stony Mayhall as a zombie infant that does something no other zombie does...grow up. The setting is interesting too. It begins in 1968 in an alternate reality that has witnessed a zombie epidemic shortly before that year. The zombies have been pretty much killed off by the government yet small groups still exist The kind Mrs. Mayhall sees that there is something differen ...more
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read, audiobook
This has been a banner year for me as far as zombie books are concerned. I read two excellent 2018 releases, Dread Nation and Devils Unto Dust, and now this earlier novel by Daryl Gregory.

My favourite aspect of Gregory's novels are the incredibly unique yet absolutely everyday characters who populate his stories. Raising Stony Mayhall is no exception. There are so many things I liked about this, all the little pieces that just came together and worked. I'm glad I finally got round to reading thi
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Stony was born into the world not knowing really who or what he was. It was like he was an Etch A Sketch that had been drawn upon and then shaken. In his super hero alter ego he was “The Unstoppable.” That may be truer than he could ever realize because The Big Bite is on the horizon and Stony and his group of LD and breather buddies either need to find a way to stop it or embrace it.

A very interesting twist on the Zombie apocalypse that was refreshingly original in premise and execution. The c
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, 2018
This is my third book by Daryl Gregory and I'll just go ahead and add everything he's written to my TBR list. I love the way he writes about family, and his humor is right up my alley.

I thought this book was pretty awesome for the first half, and slightly less so for the second half, but there were still a lot of funny and thoughtful scenes.

A few favorite bits:

Kwang and Stony in the barn with a bow and arrow
Mr. Blunt's puns
Captain Calhoun Fishstix guy and his crazy plan
The Lump

The audiobook na
The Captain
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahoy there me mateys! I was first introduced to this author with his book afterparty. That book was a sci-fi dealing with illicit drug use (a topic I normally avoid) which I found to be fun, thought-provoking, and twisty. Then me last novel of 2017, spoonbenders, was a five star sci-fi read about psychics (and much more). So when I saw that the library had this title which deals with zombies, well I had to read it.

This book begins in the time after the first zombie apocalypse. Humans got lucky a
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An emotional story about the Mayhall family, and their unusual, zombie son. There's chomping, since it's a zombie story, but it's really about the super strong relationships amongst the iron-willed Mayhall women, who totally upend their lives caring for Stony from when they find him with his dead mother by the road (soonish after the first big zombie apocalypse in 1968) to his middle age when the constantly feared next zombie apocalypse occurs. Because of his upbringing and childhood relationshi ...more
Featured on my 2014 favourites list!

In 1968, after the zombie outbreak, Wanda Mayhall and her three young daughters discover the body of a teenage mother during a snowstorm. Wrapped in the woman’s arms is a baby, stone-cold, not breathing, and without a pulse. But then his eyes open and look up at Wanda-and he begins to move.

This book was not what I expected, at all, and I found it an incredibly refreshing take on the zombie genre.

Stony is just a normal boy growing up in a house full of girls,
Occasionally a novel comes along that totally changes the way you view things and your perceptions of what 'should be'. This book was so touching and different. It was one of those books that the further I got, the slower I read. Not because I was bored or It was because I was afraid of what was coming..the unknown and didn't want to say goodbye to Stony and try to find something equally as precious. There are several great reviews here... all I'll leave you with it ...more
Jennifer (aka EM)
I adore books like this that:

a) take me way outside my comfort zone (to be fair, it's not as far outside my comfort zone as the descriptions of it as 'gothic' and 'horror' initially led me to believe)
b) manage to be downright hilarious and deadly (ahem) serious at the same time
c) weave complex themes into a compelling plot without becoming pedantic, expositional or - god forbid - a ham-fisted fable
d) hinge on characters that are deeply human and humane (don't get me wrong, I love 'unlikeable cha
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
3.5 stars
May 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
i don't read much fantasy -- basically i don't read fantasy almost at all -- but when i do i am grateful for its use of archetypes. when i am sad, when life is hard, when i am tired, archetypes help. life, death, rebirth, pain, endurance, strength, hatred, love. i think of myself as a character in a fable -- the good character, the hero -- and i fight.

this book is so, so kind. it's also, obviously, about diversity, deformity, monstrosity, otherness. as i said, archetypes. we, the others. me, th
[Name Redacted]
Okay. It was never easy for Stony Mayhall. He was born a poor zombie child. He remembered the days, sittin' in the basement with his family, diggin' and readin' over in Iowa...

(Apologies to Steve Martin)

Seriously though, this is an incredible bildungsroman about a boy born dead named John "Stony" Mayhall who grows up in an alternate version of America in which John Romero's 1968 film was actually a documentary. For unknown reasons, the dead rise in the Eastern US, hungering for human flesh and
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Award-winning author of Revelator, The Album of Dr. Moreau, Spoonbenders, We Are All Completely Fine, and others. Some of his short fiction has been collected in Unpossible and Other Stories.

He's won the World Fantasy Award, as well as the Shirley Jackson, Crawford, Asimov Readers, and Geffen awards, and his work has been short-listed for many other awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Sturgeon

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“For the first time in his life, Stony felt it. It ran like a hot wire, up from his spine, to the base of his skull. His mouth opened on its own.

He wanted to bite. He wanted to bite hard.”
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