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Zombie Apocalype Book series for Teenagers: Rot & Ruin

Updated on October 22, 2014

Zombie Apocalypse Series for Teens by Jonathan Maberry

This zombie series is written for teenagers and mainly revolves around a fifteen year-old boy named Benny Imura and his friends. The series follows Benny as he comes of age in this post-apocalyptic world, out-numbered by zombies that have taken over most of the world. Since Benny was very young when the infection began, this is the only way of life he has ever really known. He and the rest of the survivors live in a small town, behind a fence that surrounds the entire community. The other side of the fence is simply known as the "Rot and Ruin".

The zombies that inhabit the Rot and Ruin are slow-moving, completely mindless creatures that only want to eat the flesh of the living. But when there are so many zombies beyond the fence, and a single bite will infect the living, you have to be very careful.

In this new society, modern technology has been blamed for the demise of humanity, even though no one knows the real cause of the zombie infection or uprising. No one wants to talk about "First Night" or discuss the future, they just want to survive the present. But Benny and his friends are too young to remember the "old days" and they want to look forward to a brighter future. Will they have to find their futures beyond the fence? Is there a future out in the Rot and Ruin?

Book 1: Rot & Ruin

The story of Benny Imura begins 14 years after "First Night", the night the world as we now know it, ended. In the post-apocalypse society that Benny has grown up in, you must get a job when you turn fifteen, or face having your rations cut in half. Even though his half-brother Tom has offered to take him on as an apprentice in the "family business", Benny refuses. Tom has raised Benny all by himself since "First Night", but Benny still holds great resentment toward him. All Benny remembers of that night is his mother shoving Benny into Tom's arms through a window and asking Tom to run away and keep Benny safe. His very last memory is of his mother being dragged away from the window by their now-infected zombie father. He cannot forget or forgive Tom for being such a coward and not trying to save Benny's mother.

After a fruitless job search, however, Benny decides to become an apprentice to his brother Tom--as a zombie bounty hunter. He thinks that being out in the Rot and Ruin and killing zombies will be exciting and fun, but instead he learns that the zombies aren't the biggest threat to humanity. Benny begins to see the zombies as more than just monsters. They were all normal people with normal lives before the infection and they couldn't help that they got sick. He even starts to begrudgingly respect his brother Tom and realizes that the other bounty hunters that he was idolizing are much more sinister than they appear.

The zombies are mindless creatures who are diseased and driven mad with hunger, but it's the uninfected humans who are the cruelest and most inhumane. There is no law out in the Rot and Ruin, except for the survival of the fittest. Once outside the fences, the other bounty hunters are committing atrocities against not only the zombies, but also children. They are kidnapping and forcing children to fight for survival against zombies at a place called "Gameland." At Gameland, also known as the Z-games, people place wagers on the unarmed kids like they would at an illegal dog fight. Children fight to the "death", only they won't stay dead for long...

After a series of unfortunate events, Benny and Tom must work together to try to save Benny's friend Nix before she dies at the hands of her captors Charlie Pink-Eye and the Motor City Hammer--or before the zombies kill her at the Z-games. But can they find the secret location of Gameland in time to save her?

Book 2: Dust and Decay

Okay, spoiler alert if you haven't read the first book! The author is not prone to killing off any of the main the second book picks up after Tom and Benny Imura, along with the help of the "Lost Girl" named Lila have managed to rescue Nix and destroy the second "Gameland".

At the end of the first book, while they are still all out in the Rot and Ruin, the kids see a jet fly over, heading east. They have never seen a plane or jet in their lives, but they have heard about them in their history books. Obviously, their curiosity is peaked. Does this mean that somewhere there is another colony or society out east that might be more civilized? With this type of technology, is it possible they might have found a cure to the zombie infestation?

Nix, Lila and Benny make a pact that they will leave the town and search for the jet and whatever else might lie beyond the Rot and Ruin. With the help and training of Benny's brother Tom, they head out into the unknown.

But things aren't ever easy out in the Rot and Ruin. Things go bad from the start and they are soon being pursued by the living dead and the insane living. Is it possible that Gameland has been built for a third time? And will the children be the main attraction?

More books to come

There are two more books still to be released in the Benny Imura series. The third book in the series, Flesh and Bone, is set to be released September 11, 2012. The story will pick up right where the last book left off, and the children will continue on their journey eastward in search of the jet.

The fourth book, entitled Fire and Ash, won't be released until 2013. This should be the conclusion of the series, though no description is available yet.


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    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I know a teen who like zombies, so I'll forward this review to him. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • mpropp profile imageAUTHOR

      Melissa Propp 

      7 years ago from Minnesota

      Thanks for commenting Richard. I need to read his Patient Zero and some of his others still. I agree, he is a really good author.

    • Richard Perazzo profile image

      Richard Perazzo 

      7 years ago from Shirley, NY

      Great hub! I have both of these books sitting on my Amazon wish-list right, but I just need to find the time to read them. I love Jonathan Mayberry. He writes some really great stuff!

    • epigramman profile image


      7 years ago

      Hello Melissa - well I agree with the Night of the Living Dead the original and I liked the remake of Dawn of the Dead - it was made up here in Toronto, Canada although I also love the original Dawn of the Dead by George Romero - I enjoyed Shaun of the Dead for its affectionate parody of the genre and I would highly recommend Carnival of Souls (the original in black and white and from 1963) and although not a zombie movie per se - highly recommended is the original The Haunting in black and white not the remake and directed by Robert Wise in 1963 who went on to make The Sound of Music - please go to you tube and just type in the titles either for the complete film or for trailers - lake erie time 4:55pm If you are a big music fan please list some of your favorites - I run a FB group called Let's just talk music or cinema in which you are invited to join if so inclined

    • mpropp profile imageAUTHOR

      Melissa Propp 

      7 years ago from Minnesota

      Okay, I have watched a lot of zombie movies and there are a lot that are not very memorable...but if I was to list some of my favorites they would be:

      1) Dawn of the Dead (2004)

      2) 28 Days Later (I liked 28 months later too, but not quite as much)

      3) Zombieland

      4) Resident Evil (I keep watching the installments hoping for some finality)

      5) Night of the Living Dead (the original)

      I'm also a huge fan of the tv series "The Walking Dead" and I can't wait for the new season to start soon!

    • epigramman profile image


      7 years ago have a wonderful life affirming attitude and a lovely talent for writing - please check your fan mail ..... and sending you warm wishes and good energy your way from lake erie time ontario canada 3:38pm and could you please list at least 5 favorite zombie movies and I will do the same

    • mpropp profile imageAUTHOR

      Melissa Propp 

      7 years ago from Minnesota

      I also prefer my zombies to be "realistic" rather than humorous (although I have seen quite a few laughable zombie movies that weren't trying to be humorous!).

      Thank you so much for your kind comments. Being a newbie, I'm still finding my way through the process. I really appreciate it when an established hubber like yourself takes time to comment on the newbie's hub. It means a lot to me!

    • epigramman profile image


      7 years ago

      I am a bit bemused by all of this - I suppose if Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys were around today in literary form they would also be fighting off the zombie invasion. I admit I loved Shaun of the Dead which as a film made fun of the zombie film genre but I think they are taking this 'zombie thing' just a little too far by turning it into a series for young adults - I prefer my 'zombies' to come out of George Romero's world of vision like his first two zombie films. I think the horror genre should remain 'horrible' and 'serious' and perhaps not tongue in cheek or portrayed in a lighthearted way.

      Just about to write a new one and post it - called I can't find my way back home - which I would like you to read if you have a chance - so very nice to meet you and I truly do love your writing style, your wit, charm, passion and intelligence - and sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 8:27am and I must admit I feel like a zombie most mornings until I have at least my second cup of coffee - lol - to start the day


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