"Apparently, even after the end of the world, friendship still counts for something."
David Wellington writes quite the story in Positive. His main character, Finn, wasn't even born when the zombie plague killed 99% of the population. He's part of the second generation, growing up in a safe Manhattan where there are no zombies. He goes crabbing in the flooded subway tunnels with his friend, Ike, and takes his turn working in the rooftop gardens. But then his mother goes zombie, and nineteen-year-old Finn is presumed to be infected, too. Marked as a "positive", Finn is banished from the city. He's supposed to be taken to a safe medical center in Ohio to wait out the incubation period, but his ride never shows up. Instead, he's on his own in a post-apocalpytic America with the looters, the crazy road pirates, death cultists and murderous marauders. Oh, and the zombies.
There are a lot of firsts for Finn in this novel: the first time he's forced to survive on his own; the first time he drives a car; the first time he shoots a gun; and the first time he falls in love with a girl. Positive really is a coming-of-age story set in a zombie world. It's fast-paced, compelling, and very character-driven. I liked Finn and all the other quirky characters he meets along the way, both good and bad. Finn has to grow up fast, but he does it well; I admired him more with each hard decision he had to make. Other good things about this book: the writing, Wellington's well-developed dystopian future, Kylie, Finn's scarred and traumatized girlfriend who is also a survivor like him, and Finn's unwavering optimism. He believes things can get better. And I liked that. This novel has humor. And action. And suspense. And hope. It's a good read; all 437 pages of it.