Dead Over Heels by Alison Kemper (Review)

Publication date: September 29 2014

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Number of pages: 269

My rating: 2/5 

Note: Dead Over Heels is not a sequel to Donna of the Dead. You do not have to read Donna of the Dead beforehand. I end up doing a lot of comparison between the two in this review that probably isn’t as relevant as it should be, but the basic ideas in my review still stand.

Dead Over Heels is a very formulaic, clichéd novel. It’s predecessor, Donna of the Dead, was mildly clichéd, but it also had a touch of originality and a cast of likable characters. However, Dead Over Heels was missing a lot of the originality that the previous book had. The general formula of surviving a zombie apocalypse was kind of fresh in Donna of the Dead, but repeating the same formula in Dead Over Heels led to a boring and predictable novel.

Ava’s parents bought a summer house in Glenville, North Carolina. Her parents hire Cole, their neighbour, to do some work on their yard. Soon, Cole runs into Ava’s house yelling about zombies, and Ava and Cole must flee and find their parents. They end up in the woods with a horde of hungry zombies on their tails.

Ava and Cole are incredibly boring characters. Ava is a city girl. She’s not a snob or anything, but she’s just a regular teenager with deadly allergies who doesn’t like the woods. Cole is the typical good looking guy who lives in the countryside and is super good at survival stuff. Neither of the characters ever felt real to me. They seemed so shallow and underdeveloped that it was hard for me to care about them.

The most irritating character of all was Bethany. Bethany is the leader of the zombie horde, and also Cole’s ex-girlfriend. She’s a special kind of zombie that can order the other zombies around while still having full intelligence. Sounds interesting, right?


Bethany had so much potential to be a good character. She had so much power, and her abilities were really interesting. Too bad Bethany fell into the role of the crazy ex-girlfriend. Bethany is crazy and cruel. She believes that she and Cole are together when they clearly aren’t, then gets jealous over Cole and Ava’s friendship. Her jealousy isn’t subtle, either. She goes nuts in the book just because Cole decides to go with Ava. Bethany’s abilities aren’t even explored; they are just accepted by Cole and Ava.

Ava and Cole’s parents just seem like typical parents who exist for no other reason than to care for their children and go into town and organise things. They weren’t really fleshed out, which made it hard to care for their wellbeing.

The plot in Dead over Heels is just tired and overused. Cole and Ava try to survive in the woods while being chased by zombies. Cole and Ava have to scavenge for food. Cole and Ava have to survive without a phone or radio. Zombies are evil and want to eat brains. Bethany is crazy.


The entire book consists of Cole and Ava running from the zombies. That’s it.
Let’s compare this book to the previous one (Donna of the Dead) and maybe you’ll see why I liked Donna of the Dead a lot more:
Stuff that was in Dead over heels:
  • ·         They run from zombies.
  • ·         They try to survive in woods.
  • ·         They try to find parents
  • ·         Bethany’s super zombie abilities.
  • ·         Ava’s allergies
  • ·         No food.

Stuff that was in Donna of the Dead:
  • ·         Donna has voices in her head that warn her about incoming dangers. These voices are always right.
  • ·         Donna and Deke have a really nice, natural relationship.
  • ·         Mysterious boy in red hat.
  • ·         Cool social hierarchy stuff in an abandoned high school
  • ·         Survival in an abandoned high school during zombie apocalypse.
  • ·         They try to find parents.
  • ·         A large cast of vastly different teenage characters (which are all awesome)
  • ·         Donna and Deke are amazing, hilarious, realistic characters.

Dead Over Heels has the exact same zombie apocalypse that Donna of the Dead does. Both follow the same rough idea (survival during a zombie apocalypse), but Donna of the Dead has so much more. The voices in Donna’s head were really unique and interesting. The boy in the red hat was a far better villain than crazy Bethany. Ugh, I could on and on about this forever.

Ultimately, Dead Over Heels feels like a watered-down version of its predecessor, Donna of the Dead. It is a very flat and predictable novel. If you are looking for a good book about a zombie apocalypse, I recommend Donna of the Dead. It is much better than Dead Over Heels, but it’s still set in the same world with the same zombie plague. 


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