Table of Contents
What kind of spell?
She spun around to see Chase Miller looking at her intently.
“Yeah, Mia—look, I know we haven’t really talked before, but this is kind of important.”
“Is this about the tutoring? Because I told Mr. Haves that those last two tests were just accidents and I’m fine.”
“That’s not why I’m here. Actually, it’s about the spell you did yesterday.”
“What?” Mia yelped as she glanced around. “O-of course I didn’t do a spell. W-why would you even say something like that?”
“Because I know a spell was done at Newbury High at the exact time I saw you behind the bleachers at the senior awards assembly yesterday,” he said, and Mia let out a groan.
“Look, all I need is the incantation you used.”
“Why? So you can tell the whole school I did a love spell? Besides, it wasn’t
a love spell, because that would imply Rob didn’t like me and he did—er, does.
“Okay, the thing is, it doesn’t really matter what sort of spell you think you did, because—”
“It might not matter to you, but it matters to me.” Mia bristled as she thought about her adorable dress that was hanging in her closet in preparation for Friday night.
“Sorry, I just meant that we have a bigger problem on our hands. What you actually did was an ancient ritual called
“You’re still not making any sense.”
“I’m not doing a very good job of this,” he admitted as he took a deep breath. “But what I’m trying to say is that when you did that spell yesterday, you inadvertently turned everyone who was at the assembly into flesh-eating zombies.”
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Published by Speak, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2008
Copyright ©Amanda Ashby, 2009
All rights reserved
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN PUBLICATION DATA
Zombie Queen of Newbury High / by Amanda Ashby.
Summary: While trying to cast a love spell on her date on the eve of the senior prom,
Mia inadvertently infects her entire high school class with a virus
that will turn them all into zombies.
eISBN : 978-1-101-15555-4
To Barry, Molly, and Arthur. Forever and always.
Before I started writing this book, it was fair to say that my critique partners, Christina Phillips, Pat Posner, and Sara Hantz, weren’t exactly zombie fans. I’m so grateful that they let me draw them over to the dark side. If they can take on the living dead, I think they can take on just about anything.
To my fabulous agent, Jenny Bent, who loved the idea of this book right from the start. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
To my amazing editor, Karen Chaplin, for working so hard to find the real story. And to everyone else at Puffin for doing what you all do so well. I feel so lucky to be allowed to come along for the ride.
To my mother, Pam, I have no idea how you’re going to convince your book group to read this one! To Marjory Holt and all my other in-laws in Liverpool, thank you for making me feel like an honorary scouser. As for my friends and family scattered around the world, yes I know I forgot to send Christmas cards last year, but look what I was busy doing. Forgive me?
I’d also like to say thank you to all the cool new cyber buddies I’ve met since I went online to promote my last book. You guys have truly made me feel like an honest-to-goodness author girl. Thank you. (Oh, and buy this book as well, will you!)
To my children, Molly and Arthur, for thinking it’s completely normal to have a mother who makes them walk like zombies so she can take notes. And finally, to my husband, Barry, for putting up with my David Boreanaz obsession and getting me addicted to Hammer Films all those years ago. I blame you entirely!
ia Everett was doomed. It was a fact she had known ever since Rob Ziggerman walked into biology class half an hour earlier. Instead of sitting next to her, as had been his habit for the last month, he’d made a beeline for Samantha Griffin. All of which meant the rumors must be true.
“How can this be happening?” she demanded in a low voice as she turned to Candice, who was carefully inspecting the skin of her elbow by poking it with a pencil.
“I have no idea.” Her friend shook her shoulder-length red hair in disgust as she offered up her arm for inspection. “I’m only seventeen. It hardly seems fair, but it’s definitely leprosy. No doubt about it. See the way the skin is falling away like that? Textbook case.”
“Candice, I’m not talking about you, I’m talking about how my life is about to be ruined.” Mia sunk farther down into her seat as their teacher, Mr. Haves, continued to talk in an animated voice about something bug-related. Normally Mia liked biology, but then again, she normally had Rob Ziggerman in all his blond, beautiful glory sitting next to her, so what was there not to like? “It’s important.”
“And leprosy isn’t?”
Mia gritted her teeth, once again wishing Candice wasn’t such a hypochondriac. This week it was leprosy, the week before it was some weird tapeworm that you could only get from a certain part of the Amazonian rain forest. Which, considering Candice hadn’t even left the state of California, was highly unlikely.
Candice raised an eyebrow. “Why are you looking at me like that? I’m serious. My arm could fall off by tomorrow.”
“Yes, it could.
If in fact you had leprosy.
All you’ve got is a bad case of dry skin.” Mia forced herself to keep her voice low. “Now, can we please start focusing on my crisis? Did you find out anything?”
“Fine.” Candice let out an exaggerated sigh and reluctantly pulled her sleeve down. “So this is what I heard. When Samantha broke up with Trent three weeks ago, she assumed that the guys would be lining up to ask her out. Unfortunately, she forgot to take into account that while she might have a hot body from doing all that cheerleading, she still has a major personality flaw—aka, she’s a total witch. Anyway, with the senior prom only four days away and still no invitation, she’s decided to focus on Rob.”
“She doesn’t have a prom date and so now she wants mine?” Mia wailed as she felt her stomach churn in a way it hadn’t done since she had first heard that
was going to be canceled.
“Looks like it,” Candice agreed in a whisper as Mr. Haves turned off the lights and started to fiddle with his laptop until a picture of a cockroach flashed up on the whiteboard.
“But that’s so unfair. Why would he take me out on six perfect dates”—
well, okay, five actually, because going to watch him practice football probably didn’t count as a date in the technical sense of the word
—“and then ask me to the prom, if he was going to run off with Samantha Griffin the minute she looked his way and tossed her hair? I mean, he said I was cute and that he liked the fact I wasn’t high-maintenance. He said it was refreshing.”
“He also said that Indiana was the capital of India in geography the other day,” Candice pointed out.
“Okay, so he’s not exactly a brainiac,” Mia conceded. “But unlike most of the other jocks around here, he doesn’t think he’s God’s gift to the world, either. He’s just a regular guy who is sweet and kind—”
“And has abs that would make David Beckham weep,” Candice added, and Mia found herself nodding. Yup. There was no denying that Rob Ziggerman was gorgeous. With a capital GORGEOUS. None of which was helping with the problem at hand.
“So where does this leave me?” Mia stared unhappily at the back of Rob’s head. His blond hair was styled in a sculptured mess that she longed to run her fingers through (not that she would, of course, because despite being sweet and kind, he did have a thing about his hair). Sitting as close as she could get, Samantha was leaning all over him, leaving no doubt about what her intentions were.
“With a spare prom dress?” Candice guessed before shooting her an apologetic grimace. “Look, you’ve lived across the street from Samantha for the last ten years, so you know as well as I do that what Samantha wants, Samantha gets. Just accept it and be happy you dated a football player for a few weeks.”
“Well, she’s not going to get her own way this time. No way.” Mia gave a firm shake of her head. “We just need to think of a plan. Ooh, maybe if I start using makeup and do my nails, I can beat Samantha at her own game.”
“That’s your plan?” Candice peered at her from under her mascara-free eyelashes as if to remind Mia that their makeup kits didn’t consist of much more than Clearasil and lip gloss. Then Mia glanced back to where Samantha was now laughing at something Rob had said, and she felt her resolve strengthen.
“It’s not such a dumb idea,” Mia defended. “I mean, it’s a slight problem that I don’t have a PhD in eyeliner application, but how hard can it be? Besides, I could always ask Grace to help.”
“You hate your sister,” Candice reminded her. “And more to the point, Grace hates you. Plus, she’s friends with Samantha. It’s that whole cheerleading-club thing. She would never go along with it.”
“True,” Mia reluctantly agreed as she realized no good could come from telling her fifteen-year-old, pom-pom-wielding, vacuous-Barbie-doll sister about this. “But I’ve got to do something or I’ll be the laughingstock of the school. I mean, how can I go to the prom if Rob dumps me?”
“Oh yes, how embarrassing to not have a prom date. We wouldn’t want that,” Candice bristled, and Mia found herself wincing in guilt. They’d made a pact to go to the senior prom together to prove they didn’t need guys to have fun. Though in all fairness, they’d made this decision based purely on the fact that with Candice’s ongoing medical obsession and Mia’s encyclopedic knowledge of anything
-related, neither of them had any expectations of being asked in the first place. Let alone by a guy like Rob Ziggerman.