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Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Rot & Ruin

In the book Rot & Ruin, Jonathan Maberry has created a post apocalyptic zombie infested world.  Benny Imura and his brother Tom live in a safe zone that is separated from the zombies by a fence.  They are constantly under threat of attack by the zombies.  Benny is fifteen and it is time for him to find an occupation.  After several failed attempts at employment he decides to learn his brother's trade which is bounty hunter.  Benny eventually learns that his brother is not a typical bounty hunter.  He does search for zombies but he is hired by family members with a special request.  Benny and Tom head out together beyond the safety of the fence.

Benny never knew his parents.  The night of the zombie apocalypse, Benny's father is infected and becomes a zombie.  His mother who has been injured, hands the baby Benny off to his older brother Tom and tells him to run. That is the last that they see of their parents.  Benny has believed for years that his brother is a coward.  That happened fourteen years ago.  Tom has been raising Benny ever since but their relationship is very strained.  As they work and travel together Benny learns more about his brother and the reality of that night. 

Benny also has a friend named Nix.  She lives in town with her mother.  Benny and Nix are convinced that there is a better life outside the confines of their fenced in town and beyond the zombie zone.  Also, there is a new dimension to the relationship between the teens.  Can romance exist in a world overrun by zombies?  Benny and Nix find themselves thrown together in some harrowing situations.

The story progresses and Benny, Tom, and Nix find themselves embedded with the zombies and struggling to survive.  In fact, Nix is kidnapped and taken by evil bounty hunters to a place where young people are pitted against zombies in a gruesome arena setting.  Tom and Benny are determined to save her.  There is also the legend of the "Lost Girl".  Benny is intrigued by the lore surrounding her and decides to find her.  So Benny is fighting zombies, trying to save Nix, and looking for  this "Lost Girl".

This book has violence, family drama, interpersonal relationships, and action.  The story is fast paced and very engaging.  It is also a coming of age story as Benny's perception of the world is altered when he ventures beyond the fence.