Death was everywhere. They all stared at me, bumping into one another and slowly coming forward.
Sixteen-year-old Zharie Young is absolutely certain her mother morphed into a zombie before her untimely death, but she can't seem to figure out why. Why her mother died, why her aunt doesn't want her around, why all her dreams seem suddenly, hopelessly out of reach. And why, ever since that day, she's been seeing zombies everywhere.
Then Bo moves into her apartment building—tall, skateboard in hand, freckles like stars, and an undeniable charm. Z wants nothing to do with him, but when he transforms into a half zombie right before her eyes, something feels different. He contradicts everything she thought she knew about monsters, and she can't help but wonder if getting to know him might unlock the answers to her mother's death.
As Zharie sifts through what's real and what's magic, she discovers a new truth about the world: Love can literally change you—for good or for dead.
In this surrealist journey of grief, fear, and hope, Britney S. Lewis's debut novel explores love, zombies, and everything in between in an intoxicating amalgam of the real and the fantastic.
"A terrifyingly grounded accounting of the monsters that haunt us."
Lewis sensitively balances a sometimes-scary world populated by the undead with both melancholy and hope in this surreal debut.
"This slow-burning and surreal debut novel more than earns the mantle of Gen Z’s first great zombie novel."
"Zharie narrates this mindfully haunting story with a sharp attention to sensory details like color and texture, which makes shifts from life to undead and back again even more visceral."
"This is a surreal zombie love story about coming to terms with loss, and it's every bit as strange as it sounds, in the best possible way. It has a certain dream-like quality, even while it's rooted in very specific experiences. I found it impossible to figure out exactly what was going on in Zharie's head, but it didn't matter because it all made fundamental sense emotionally."
"This magical realism novel is an exploration of grief and teenage love."
"Britney Lewis has really nailed it with this one. I loved this striking, suspenseful, and deeply heartbreaking debut about a Black girl named Zharie on a quest to discover the truth about her mother and the darker parts of life and family! Spooky good.”
―Jay Coles, author of Tyler Johnson Was Here and Things We Couldn't Say
"Deeply healing and impossible to put down, The Undead Truth Of Us, is an affecting portrait of grief’s many shades, and an affirming reminder to live.”
―J. Elle, New York Times best-selling author of Wings of Ebony
"The perfect blend of emotion, sweet romance, and creepy imagery, The Undead Truth of Us is a journey you won’t soon forget."
―Lauren Blackwood, New York Times best-selling author of Within These Wicked Walls
"THE UNDEAD TRUTH OF US is a revelation of a story, both macabre and magical, full of heartache, hope, and the infinite mysteries of love. I adore this book."
―Rebecca Podos, author of Lambda Award-winning novel Like Water
“The Undead Truth of Us is unlike any book I’ve ever read before. In this eerie and otherworldly story, Britney Lewis layers explorations of grief and love on the page like bright colors of paint on a canvas.”
―Elise Bryant, author of Happily Ever Afters and One True Loves
“A devastatingly poignant tale of grief, healing, and the monsters we make of ourselves and of others. In American popular culture zombies have been used to represent our greatest fears and what do we fear more than losing the people we love? In Zharie, Lewis has created a perfectly imperfect character―someone who is learning to navigate grief and love and friendship all at once. Her moments of vulnerability feel familiar as do her moments of healing and joy. This story is an emotional and gripping take on the classic zombie archetype. A must read for lovers of genre bending horror.”
―Kalynn Bayron, best-selling author of Cinderella is Dead
“A lament, but with fireworks.”
―Nafiza Azad, author of The Wild Ones
“A wonderful book full of lyrical prose, but also grief―and the painful, sometimes beautiful, steps we take to get through it.”
―Jessica Lewis, author of Bad Witch Burning
“Britney S. Lewis explores love and death in a debut that is tender, poetic, and wholly original.”
―Zoraida Córdova, award-winning author of Labyrinth Lost