Zombie Baseball Beatdown is one of those books you think will be silly, gross and the perfect book for middle grade boys. Yes, there are zombies, there is baseball, and there is in fact a zombie baseball beatdown. But there is so much more to the story and characters than just a horrific zombie story. I am kicking myself for not reading this sooner. I’ve liked other books by Bacigalupi but I don’t really care about “fastballs and home runs and singles and sliders, and left-handed batters and right-handed batters.” So I was hesitant to read this. Bacigalupi basically had me at the opening lines and never let me go: “Losing sucks. Don’t let anyone tell you it builds character or any of that junk; it sucks.”
Rabi, Joe and Miguel live in a small town in corn-country Iowa. Not exactly ground zero for a zombie apocalypse but when the local meatpacking plant starts cutting corners and pumping the cows with all kinds of drugs, mayhem ensues.
Paolo Bacigalupi’s novel is a whole lot of fun, but he also packs quite the socially conscious message. It’s basically Fast Food Nation for a much younger audience. I’m not sure if many people will appreciate the aggression towards the meat industry that this book takes but it reminded me why I’m a vegetarian. I really liked how the zombies resulted in real world circumstances and not so much in fantasy. It added a level of fear, like hey this could happen.