Dread Nation

Dread Nation

Book - 2018
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New York Times bestseller * Six starred reviews

At once provocative, terrifying, and darkly subversive, Dread Nation is Justina Ireland's stunning vision of an America both foreign and familiar--a country on the brink, at the explosive crossroads where race, humanity, and survival meet.

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania--derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever.

In this new America, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead.

But there are also opportunities--and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It's a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society's expectations.

But that's not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston's School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn't pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose.

But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies.

And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

Please note that this book has deckle edges (the edges of the paper are purposely rough).

Publisher: New York : Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, ©2018.
ISBN: 9780062570604
Characteristics: 451 pages ;,22 cm


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CedarMill_MarkR Oct 04, 2018

What if zombies rose from the dead during the Civil War and former slaves had to be trained to fight them? Dread Nation answers this question as the reader follows Jane McKeene, a highly trained African American zombie fighter as she navigates a still deeply prejudiced world as it struggles to combat a much deeper existential threat. A great read.

JessicaGma Sep 04, 2018

I can't say I care much for zombie stories but this was a fantastic read - Zombies during the Civil War? Yes please. Jane was amazing, and the story went some places I did not expect. If you read anything this year from YA, this would be an excellent suggestion.

KateHillier Sep 04, 2018

This alternate history involving slavery and zombies and how that changed (or didn't change) the course of American history was awesome. I loved Jane lots and lots and I loved the friends she had. Not her prime choices in companions but they were the companions they needed. The humans are as worse if not more than the 'shamblers' and I basically blasted through this as much as I wanted to savour it.

Chapel_Hill_KrystalB Aug 06, 2018

Favorite YA of the year. Strong female protagonist seriously taking care of business after the dead start walking at the Battle of Gettysburg. Solid characters, realized settings, descriptive action. There are two camps- the Survivalists, who believe that, despite the apocalyptic circumstances, the U.S. must return to its historic social structure (i.e. slavery), and the Egalitarians, who do not. I found myself drawing a lot of comparisons to other periods of history in addition to present day (yes, despite the zombies). No matter the battle, I would absolutely want Jan McKeene on my side. "Stopping the Survivalists. It's a lofty goal, but I ain't ever been one for half measures."

ArapahoeJulieD Aug 01, 2018

What would happen if zombies rose up on the fields of Gettysburg? Justina Ireland paints a compelling picture of what it would be like!

Jul 31, 2018

One of my top reads in 2018! This book tempers a terrifyingly dangerous setting with a bright, delightful and determined protagonist. While the book retains factual touches, the creativity in the storyline isn't held hostage by historical accuracy.

AnnabelleLee27 Jul 13, 2018

A rollicking post-civil war era alt-history with a strong, smart, and inspiring African American heroine. The novel develops many fascinating characters while taking on issues of racism, class, gender expectations, sexuality, and friendship (and zombies!). The first part of the book set near Baltimore is the strongest while the second half set out west is less developed and feels more stereotypical in its presentation. The ending is far too abrupt and unfinished (as with many books which are part of a series). Still, this is a fresh, fun, and exciting read.

TSCPL_Miranda Jul 08, 2018

What a great novel! Zombie fiction is not for everyone, I know, but the premise of this book allowed the author to explore the themes of slavery, racial passing, re-education, and more in a completely fresh context. In the final stretch of the Civil War, the dead rise against the living, forcing a temporary ceasefire between North and South. Black citizens are recruited to fight in the war against the dead, forced to battle on the front lines because of the color of the skin, but finding strength and freedom in their new roles, too. I'm excited to see that this is the first of a series. I'll definitely line up to read the next book!

OPL_KrisC Jun 28, 2018

An interesting mixture of historical fiction and the Walking Dead and a new take on zombies that I haven't read before.

Jayna_DCL May 16, 2018

During the Civil War the dead rise again to become zombies or shamblers as they are now known. A weird, but awesome book, this will appeal to fans of "World War Z" or Justin Cronin's "The Passage."

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OPL_KrisC Jun 28, 2018

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

May 10, 2018

ElenaLikesBooks thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

SCTeenBookClub May 02, 2018

SCTeenBookClub thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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SCTeenBookClub May 02, 2018

Parents need to know that Dread Nation is alternative-history zombie thriller that takes place after the U.S. Civil War ends not with the South's surrender but when the dead begin to rise up on the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville. Author Justina Ireland explores what would've happened had zombies (or shamblers, as they're called in the book) stopped the war in order for Americans to come together to battle the undead (or force black and indigenous folks to fight them). Like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the book features a good deal of violence, as is appropriate to a story about zombie slayers (lots of deaths either from the undead eating live humans, or from humans shooting, stabbing, decapitating the undead, or people beating, stabbing, and shooting one another). There are also some racial slurs of the era ("darkie," "colored," "pickaninny," "coon," etc.) in the story. Parents and teens who read the book together can discuss a host of socio-political and historical issues, from institutional racism and white supremacy to shadism, passing, educational segregation, well-intentioned but ineffective white benevolence, and more.


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