The Awakening is a clever approach to the zombie trope, set against the backdrop of a sometimes heartbreaking coming-of-age story. Reminiscent of McCammon’s Boy’s Life or Simmons’ Summer of Night, McBean captures the magic of being a teenage boy perfectly, and touches on all of the uncertain moments that take place during his inevitable look at life as an adult. From the first beer to the first kiss, from the friendships to the encounters with bullies, and finally that poignant moment where he realizes his parents aren’t always heroes. Yes, there are zombies, and a slow-burning sense of menace, but McBean ultimately teaches us that the worst monsters are usually the human ones. A well-constructed story with an ending that will not disappoint. Highly recommended.