Spooky! Scary!, Young Adult

I ain’t fraid of no ghosts! Er… zombies!

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

The Skinny: Elinor Fitt, of the Philadelphia Fitts, is in quite a situation. With her father dead, her mother set on marrying her off, and her older brother missing, Elinor has a lot on her plate. Add to that the dead rising and attacking the city. During one such attack, Elinor receives a note from her brother and she concludes that whoever is controlling the dead has taken her brother. She seeks out the Spirit Hunters, a rag-tag team who have been charged with protecting the city. As she spends more and more time with them, she begins to see the true nature of what they do, magic mixed with technology. With not only her reputation but her life on the line, Elinor must help the Spirit Hunters stop whoever is controlling the dead and figure out just what happened to her brother.

BFF?: Lordy I loved Elinor! She was kind of sassy in a really Victorian, I-know-my-family-is-in-ruin-but-I-don’t-want-to-be-used-to-save-them kind of way. Elinor makes me think of – and please stick with me here – Elizabeth Swann from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie (the first one). Here is a girl you expect to be helpless, kind of klutzy, and really more of a nuisance than help. And sometimes, she is. But underneath is this brave, courageous girl who knows what she has to do and isn’t afraid to at least try. Elinor knows what’s needed, she understands what she has to do, and while she may not agree with it, she at least doesn’t run from it. Oh, and she fights the zombies with her parasol. Her freakin’ parasol.

Readability: I’m a huge fan of this time period, mysteries, and zombies, so I was totally wrapped up in this book. Dennard’s writing flows well and doesn’t leave you hanging for more because it’s  easy to get so completely sucked in that you don’t even realize you’ve been reading for 2 hours straight.

Crush Level: 5
Daniel, one of the Spirit Hunters, is handsome and cocky and all those lovely things that make a YA crush-worthy interest crush-worthy. But what kind of got to me was that even though both he and Elinor were attracted to each other, and they had great Sam and Diane chemistry, you could tell he didn’t really feel all the feelings for her. Prime example of he’s just not that into you. But honestly, I kind of liked that there wasn’t this huge romance getting in the way of Daniel’s work and his inventions. Because that itself made him kind of sexy.

Bonus Points:

We all know I love zombies… enough said.


I honestly had never heard the term “necromancer” until I started reading YA books, but it’s been one of my favorite words ever since. Just fun to say. But the plot behind the necromancer in this book, the person who is responsible for controlling the dead rising, is really enticing.


One of the Spirit Hunters, an older man named Joseph, practices voodoo… or at least some kind of Creole magic! His powers mixed with Daniel’s inventions result in some very cool zombie-fighting weapons!

Ghost Hunting

The Spirit Hunters use their own technology to hunt ghosts, zombies, etc. I felt like they were the Ghostbusters of their time; all that was missing was a proton pack! But it was neat to see all their different gadgets that they used to zap zombies and ghosties!

Commencement Speech: If there had to be one thing I loved about books it would be a plot that keeps me guessing, over and over and over. Something Strange and Deadly did just that. One minute you think this person is the bad guy, then the next you think this person might be, then you go back to the first person… It just keeps you guessing! Something that is really fantastic about this book and what I feel makes it absolutely great is the characters. They’re all fresh and fun, not really what you’d expect but exactly what you’d love. The paranormal parts are a little weak but not in a bad way. The book is more story driven, more character driven, than in your face zombie attacks. Something Strange and Deadly is a suspenseful-light, exciting, unique story that had me laughing and on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Yearbook Quote: “Miss Fitt, you know curiosity gets men killed. I grinned. “Then I daresay it’s good I’m a woman.”

Superlatives – Most likely give MacGyver a run for his money

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10 thoughts on “I ain’t fraid of no ghosts! Er… zombies!”

    1. I wasn’t really sure what it was about at first, but after the first couple chapters I thought “wait, is this a zombie book?!” and was super excited. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re a little hesitant to read zombie books (not that you are, just sayin!) 🙂


      1. I am, actually! Zombies are really my thing, but then again I’ve been basing that off zombie MOVIES and I don’t think I’ve really read a zombie BOOK. Maybe it’s time to change that…….


  1. Sounds great! I’ll have to bump this one up the list. Love that it kept you guessing throughout and that it made you laugh. The story sounds so different and fun. Great review!


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