By: Stephanie Wyatt
The novel After the Change by Michael J. Moore tells the story about the world after a modern-day zombie apocalypse. One day, people just started changing into soulless creatures for no specific rhyme or reason. Then once Changed, they wanted to turn those unchanged into one of them. The story follows three high school band mates, Wes, Cali, and Diego, who are just trying to stay human in this post apocalyptic world. They decide one day, after about five months of doing this, that they should try to go turn the nearest prison into some semblance of a community. They would look for people like them, and invite them to join their community. Throughout this journey they experience a new normal.
The book has moments where Diego, who narrates the story, talks about his life before The Change. Those were some of my favorite parts because it helped me see that the characters always had certain traits, and they just adapted to their situation. I always thought that if there would ever be a zombie apocalypse that I would be one of the first one’s turned. I couldn’t outrun them, and I wouldn’t want to slow my best friend or my dog down. I appreciated, though, that the friendship of the main three characters shone through no matter what situation they faced. They always looked out for each other and the people they invited. I always appreciate stories where friendship is the core motivation of the story.
I also appreciated the pacing. Every time I felt like the story was going to start to drag, they would meet another group of survivors, or I would get a flashback from the past to grab my attention again. I found myself feeling for Diego as he tried to make sense of the new world around him.
Overall, I loved it. I wasn’t sure I would because I’m kind of indifferent to zombie things unless they are spoofs of typical zombie apocalypse tropes. This one though had me intrigued by its zombie-but-not-quite interpretation. I also felt like it kept the YA attitude of being a story about high school kids, but not making them useless or suddenly adults. I’m excited for the sequel which is coming soon.