(REVIEW) State of Emergency by Mary Hallberg #HalloweenReads YA Zombie Survival Horror #BeatTheBackList


State of Emergency

state of emergencyAuthor: Mary Hallberg
Category: YA, Zombie Outbreak, Survival Horror, Romance
Suitable for: 13+
My Rating: 4 Stars
Format Read for Review: Paperback copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Pages: 151


A truck transferring hazardous chemicals crashes in a cemetery and leaks its poison into the water supply. Locals begin to get sick and become violent. Dallas, a teenage girl who dreams of being a singer is with her friends visiting a frenemy who has already acquired her dream of fame when the outbreak occurs. Dallas is one of few people who see the sickness for what it really is, a zombie outbreak. She convinces her friends to flee with her to her uncle’s off-grid self-sustaining farm for safety. They encounter dangers at every turn as they attempt their cross-state road trip, hoping that their families will believe them and also find a way to make it there safe as the outbreak spreads.

“Ashleigh stared at her phone. She looked as if she would rather hang upside down by her toenails than be away from civilization for even a minute, much less a lifetime. Dallas wasn’t sure she agreed.”

In Short:

Overall quick and exciting read. If you like both YA and zombies you’ll want to give this a go. There is a little bit of love story mixed in there that develops slowly and blossoms in the end. If you wish Twilight occurred during a zombie apocalypse this is the book for you.

“Conspirators and comedians alike are referring to the virus as a “zombie outbreak.” A spokesman for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says they are working “around the clock” to find a cure.”


This is a fun read that is full of action, as well as both comedy and tragedy. The cast is a group of teenagers so they seem to let their emotions rule, but they also show true bravery and fight to protect themselves and each other when it matters. I really enjoyed the survival horror elements of the story. The action really was non-stop and the danger was very real for the group. They faced one challenge after another in acquiring food, weapons, transportation, and shelter. This story was very much about the journey and the relationships of the group. The characters were likable and their friendship was admirable. I liked how Dallas, who had worked in the pizza industry, chose a pizza cutter as a weapon when she found one. That was very original. This book is very much based on your classic zombies rising from the dead story but with a twist. Not only is it centered around a cast of teen characters but it takes place in the early days of a zombie outbreak showing what it’s like before the world has gone full on dystopian and the deaths are contained to a small ground zero, slowly spreading out. I liked the news reports that came in at the beginning of many of the chapters showing how the outside world was faring, and the general public’s opinion on the “zombie conspiracy.” The news clippings were both entertaining and added a sense of realism to this world.

“This isn’t just about zombies, and it isn’t about your own ego. This is about survival. And we have to work together if we’re going to survive.


I really enjoyed this book I just didn’t love the ending. I don’t want to spoil it so I’ll just say I felt part of the romance evolved too quickly. There was also a foreboding doom that ended up being resolved a little quicker and easier than I expected. Due to the short nature of this book some things just happened too quickly.

“You can’t live until you survive, and you can’t survive if you don’t try.”

Parent’s Guide:

Sexual innuendo and kissing, but nothing too graphic on screen. Violence, and gore typical of zombie books.

reviewed by O sm

Amazon blurb:

A viral plague. The bloodthirsty undead. Can a teenage zombie movie fan lead her friends to safety when her only knowledge of the outbreak comes from Romero movies?

17-year-old Dallas Langdon has always loved zombie movies. But when she catches a real live (erm, dead) musician eating a man’s intestines backstage after the show, she knows her movies have become a reality. Now, armed with nothing but a giant pizza cutter and a few pairs of safety scissors, Dallas must lead her friends to safety in the mountains…before they develop a taste for human flesh themselves.


One thought on “(REVIEW) State of Emergency by Mary Hallberg #HalloweenReads YA Zombie Survival Horror #BeatTheBackList

  1. jenchaos76 says:

    I don’t particularly like short books because they seem rushed and incomplete. So instead I read 300+ page books to get deep stories and full pictures. The risk we take reading a short book is always a disappointment. I’ve read and watched so many zombie things I really don’t want to revisit it. There is only so much you can do with that storyline.