Zombie XI: The Boy Who Got Sick of Warming the Bench - Pete Kalu
Meet Leonard your typical 15 year old boy who likes football. The problem was that he never got a game, every Saturday he was on the substitute bench waiting for his chance. He spent most of the games daydreaming about his dad, watching his team losing by more goals every week. Until one Saturday whilst he was sitting on the bench with the other subs, he saw a flash of light by the nuclear power plant, thinking it was nothing he went home. Leonard’s home life was a typical one, his mom was looking for work and sister was a dressmaker who was making a name for herself by making costumes for carnivals. Going to bed he studied his favourite book, a book all about the 1966 England World Cup team. The following Saturday Leonard was back on the bench, joined by Eddie his friend that was as disappointed as him for not being able to get a game and Shabbi the only girl on the team that had an amazing throw in. Whilst the game was on Leonard noticed in the distance a strange figure and that was the 1st time he saw the zombies. Throughout the book he sees the zombies who help him with his football skills.
This book is not just about zombies and football, it is about a boy who is growing up and wants to fit in, a boy who has his first crush and doesn’t know how to handle it, a boy who has to make a choice between football and drama and how he makes a compromise.
I really liked this story as it was a gentle read and will suit young teenagers and adults. Leonard is believable as a teenager. I enjoyed the story about the drama production and how the football team got better, thanks to Leonard and the help from the zombies. Although it was funny how they never appeared when the cats were in his bedroom. The only thing that I never understood was the reason for the zombie squad appearing with the flash of light/UFO that appeared at the beginning of the book. You do not have to like zombies or be a football fan to enjoy this book. If you like fantasy stories then this is a good book to read
My 16 year old daughter also read this book and she really enjoyed the story not a big football fan she soon realised that she did not have to like football to enjoy it. She finished this book the weekend that there were celebrations of the 1966 World Cup victory and she enjoyed putting faces to the names that she had read about