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Arizona: Beautiful Dead Book Two    by Eden Maguire order for
by Eden Maguire
Order:  USA  Can
Sourcebooks, 2010 (2010)

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* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Eden Maguire is back with her unique take on zombies in the second Beautiful Dead book, Arizona. The mystery, thrills, and teen angst are all still there, but the pace is a little slower than in the first book, Jonas.

It is getting close to Arizona's time to leave the Beautiful Dead and the race is on for Darina to prove that Arizona did not drown herself in the lake. However, the biggest obstacle to solving the mystery is Arizona herself. As Darina slowly delves into Arizona's life, she discovers more and more surprises about the cold and distant Arizona. While Arizona does not seem to care too much about what Darina finds out, she still remains silent about any pertinent information that might help Darina uncover the truth about what went down at the lake the day Arizona's body was found floating.

The one thing that Darina does know for sure is that Arizona would not have killed herself - especially after Darina learns about Raven, the autistic brother whom Arizona strove to protect and heal. All Arizona really wants is for her brother to know how much she loved him, but if Darina is going to fulfill her duty to Hunter and the Beautiful Dead, she must catch Arizona's killer.

Unlike Jonas, Arizona focuses more on Arizona than Darina. The latter is still the main character, but in this installment, Arizona grows more than Darina, and I found it easier to understand some of her choices than Darina's. However, since Arizona is being so stand-offish, Darina has to do more basic scouting into her life, and this drags the story down in places - it really does not pick up speed until the end. Unfortunately, the end is a little too similar to Jonas to really stand out - and the deus-ex-machina aspect to it does not help, either.

Despite these problems, Arizona is still a good read with many unique aspects. Eden Maguire has carved out her own little niche in YA zombie fiction and is here to stay.

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