Mrs. Gefelty, Lily’s mom — worried now that Lily has begun appearing as a book character along with her longtime adventure-series-hero friends Jasper Dash and Katie — has figured out the perfect solution to her metafictive problem. Having noticed that mothers in children’s novels tend to die or disappear, she’s decided to retreat to a safe haven — only it’s not quite as safe as she thinks. This fifth book in Anderson’s good-humored satirical series gives new life — er, death? — to the paranormal horror novel and emphasizes the importance of reading comprehension if one is to avoid becoming a flesh-eating ghoul. Mrs. Gefelty believes she’s off to “the town in the U.S. where the fewest people die or something” when really she’s taken the headline “TODBURG, N.Y., DECLARED UNDEAD CAPITAL OF THE U.S.” completely the wrong way. Lily, Jasper Dash, Katie, and Drgnan Pghlik (the hot young monk from Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware, rev. 9/09) have plenty to do, as usual. They must free Mrs. G. from the clutches of a second-rate actress’s ghost and themselves from the withering scorn of snotty it-girl Madigan Westlake-Duvet, Katie’s obnoxious cousin from Manhattan. How lucky for them when it turns out they can kill two birds with one stone! Well, not “kill,” exactly…Kurt Cyrus’s black-and-white illustrations aptly combine the hair-raising with the tongue-in-cheek; e.g., zombies in matching “I’m with Stupid” T-shirts.
From the November/December 2011 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.