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Reviewed by Kayti Nika Raet for Readers' Favorite
When a recently deceased cheerleader clambers out of the grave, the small town of Krapper, Kansas, becomes the center of media attention. Is it a miracle? Lazarus Syndrome? Sorceressi? Everyone's interested and harboring a tiny hope that maybe their own dead loved ones will do the same. Everyone, that is except fifteen-year-old Leigh. Ramone loving and thrift-store clad Leigh wants her mother to stay in the ground. Hanging back on the day of the funeral, Leigh was the first to catch a glimpse of the zombie cheerleader and it was not a pretty sight.
But reckless reanimation becomes the least of her problems when two sorceresses, the cause of the recently undead, come to town hell-bent on unlocking the gates to the magic world's most secure prison. They're determined to complete their mission and are nearly there, all that's missing is one small ingredient: Leigh's dead body.
I was super excited to read The Grave Winner and it did not disappoint. My only beef was that it ended far too quickly and was maybe a little heavy on the metaphors but those are fairly minor. The writing is very fun and clever with Leigh, our snarky protagonist, at the helm. I also like that despite her gruffness she's very close to her family and little sister Darby. There's a healthy dash of romance (I predict Teams being announced and fandom lines being drawn) and a kooky best friend to keep her grounded.
Witty and fast paced, The Grave Winner by Lindsey R. Loucks is a snarky blend of zombie horror and urban fantasy and though it lacks the blood-sucking sort it's sure to win over fans of Strange Angels or the Morganville Vampire series. I loved it.