Mean Ghouls

If Megan thought life at her new boarding school was going to be easy, she was dead wrong. Everyone has the same mysterious virus—one that’s slowly turning them all into zombies. The teachers are lifeless and the food stinks. Literally. And worst of all, the clique of popular mean girls who rule the school have already decided that Megan’s dead to them.

All Megan wants is to get back to her old school and her old friends, but until a cure is found, she’s stuck at Zombie Academy. How will she ever survive?

Squeamish readers will want to avoid Mean Ghouls because zombitus causes the students’ body parts to fall off and their teeth to sharpen, among other ailments. Plus, the bloody descriptions are detailed and gross. For example, when the limo driver picks up Megan, she is glad she’d only seen him from the back because “his head was barely attached to his neck. It kept lolling over to one side or the other. One of his eyes was hanging loosely from some kind of oozing stringy stuff. And though she hadn’t noticed from the backseat, whew, the guy stunk!”

Even though Mean Ghouls revolves around zombitus, the story is also a mystery that explores themes of bullying and friendship. When the zombitus cure is stolen, Megan jumps to the conclusion that the mean girls are the culprits. As she sneaks around looking for clues, Megan’s behavior unintentionally hurts her friends. However, the conclusion has several surprises that wrap up all the plot threads.

While none of the characters are well-developed, there’s a host of interesting characters that readers will love and hate. Megan’s brother, Zach, adds a dose of humor because he is totally obsessed with zombies and wishes he was the one that contracted zombitus. Plus, Megan’s high school crush, Brett, also gets infected and is befriended by the mean girls which leads to some comedy. For example, Brett’s zombitus causes him to attempt to eat Megan. “More scared than she’d ever been her whole life, Megan stopped fighting and closed her eyes. If this was the end, to be eaten alive by her first crush, she didn’t want to see it. She hoped it would be quick and painless.” Luckily, a teacher instructs Zach on proper zombie behavior, which doesn’t allow zombies to eat each other.

Fans of R.L. Stine will enjoy Mean Ghouls because the story is surprisingly entertaining with a unique premise that will draw readers in. The story has the perfect blend of action, suspense, and humor. Junior high readers who want an excellent scary story should also read Nightbooks by J.A. White and Fortune Falls by Jenny Goebel.

Sexual Content

  • None


  • While weaving through a crowded classroom, someone pushes Megan. “While she was picking her way toward her friends, someone shoved her from behind. . . she turned to see who’d pushed her. Brooke gave Megan a sharp-toothed smile.”
  • Brett is upset because eating Megan’s brownie gave him zombitus. Brett chases Megan. “Brett made a grab for the back of Megan’s black T-shirt and she stumbled. Rocks scraped Megan’s hands and knees as she lunged out of Brett’s grasp.” Brett and Megan wrestle until an adult “pulled Brett off of Megan with a strong hand.”
  • Megan thinks a group of girls are hiding the cure for zombitus. During a fashion show, Megan attacks. “Megan shoved Hailey out of the way. Her middle-school classmate stumbled on a spiked heel and fell off the stage. . . Megan grabbed a handful of the small glass tubes and rushed to the side of the stage.”
  • A group of people try to stop Megan’s attack. “Whirling and grunting and grabbing at anything she could, Megan tried to make a run for more of the vials, but Brenda and Betsy blocked her way.” Finally, someone grabs her, and, in the end, Megan finds out she was wrong. The attack scene is described over three pages.
  • Megan and her friend agree to appear in Megan’s brother’s horror movie. Megan’s friend “Rachel pulled out the thing Zach had given her. It was a dart gun. And before the zombies could shuffle away, Rachel fired darts at them.” The darts had the zombitus cure on the tips.

 Drugs and Alcohol

  • None


  • Megan calls her brother a dork numerous times.
  • Darn is used once.
  • An upset boy chases Megan. Megan’s friend causes a distraction and then yells, “You’ll never catch me, Zom-Bonehead!”
  • Megan calls a boy snaggletooth and dork.


  • Transforming into a zombie can take centuries because they are immortal.
  • When zombies have head wounds, they do not heal. Megan’s math teacher “had a huge gash in his head that revealed his brains. Megan was surprised that brains actually did look like the spaghetti that Zach had made for her last breakfast at home. A pink slime coated with gray, thick linking twist.”
  • Jones built the school after he turned into a zombie. “Mr. Jones was drooling blood. Wet, soggy blood stains covered the front of his shirt.”
  • Brooke gets injured. “The cut was small, but deep, and a sliver of her brain was slowly oozing out. Brooke used a tissue to push it back inside her skull. Betsy gave her a disgusted look and handed her a tube of hand sanitizer.”
    Spiritual Content
  • None

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