Warm Bodies



Gory but sweet romance of teen girl and zombie.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Aside from the in-depth immersion in zombie cosmology, well-read readers will have fun spotting the name-checking of works from Gilgamesh to Romeo and Juliet, not to mention Frankenstein, and the ways in which such works inform the story. There's also thought-provoking discussion of why writing and art are still necessary in a world where mere survival is constantly under threat.

Positive messages

Despite the gory, horrific setting, the core message about people willing to break with conventional-wisdom negativity and save the world in the process is endearingly positive. Along the way, various characters display unexpected friendship, loyalty, and courage, with good results.

Positive role models

While both R and Julie have flaws (e.g. he devours humans, she swears like a sailor), they rise above them in many ways by their commitment to keeping each other safe in a world where their respective tribes want to annihilate each other. Along with Julie's friend Nora, they're also well-intentioned, clever, and resourceful at dealing with crises and leading their peers.


There is much gore, violence, and devouring involving zombies, humans, and mobs of skeletons. Several human characters' parents have been devoured by zombies, as told in flashback; humans and zombies treat captive members of each other's kind horrifically, and both groups defend themselves vigorously, with and without weapons.


There's no explicit sex here, though there are grotesque scenes of zombie "sex" that involve more confused groaning than physical contact. There's some romantic kissing between characters. As told in flashback, Julie and her late boyfriend had sex, but aside from a reference to their being naked together, it's not described in detail. A guy cheats on his girlfriend with a girl who eventually becomes her BFF.


Julie in particular has quite the potty-mouth, but much of the profanity is directed at zombies in the heat of combat. "F--k," "s--t," and the like occur often.


It's a post-apocalyptic world, so none of the many brand names that come up (e.g. Starbucks, Mercedes-Benz, Citi, Boeing 747) have survived into the existing reality; they're just remnants of a civilization that's been wiped out.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Alcohol is strictly forbidden in the stadium where the humans have taken refuge, but resourceful people like Julie and her friends -- who appear to be of drinking age, at least in some states -- manage to find liquor in the deserted city. In one scene, Julie and her friend give R liquor. In a flashback, one of the characters is seen smoking a joint.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Warm Bodies is a zombie romance story -- also a movie -- being heavily marketed to the Twilight set. On the one hand, it has gory scenes galore of brain-eating zombies, zombie-torturing humans, and much violent death and dismemberment of human and zombie alike. Not to mention descriptions of zombie sex, which seems to involve more confusion than physical contact. On the other hand, its fundamental message, however weirdly framed, is pretty much sunshine-and-butterflies sweetness, as the unlikely love between zombie R and the girl whose boyfriend he's just devoured may be the start of a better world than the devastated, post-apocalyptic one they currently inhabit.

What's the story?

In a city left derelict by global upheaval, plague, and disaster, humans take refuge in the football stadium while zombies dwell in the ruined airport between brain-eating expeditions. On one such raid, zombie R devours the brains of a teenage boy -- and inexplicably wants to protect the kid's girlfriend, Julie. Between R's friends who want to devour Julie, and her friends who want to kill R, many hazards face this unlikely couple, whose budding relationship seems to have odd effects on the world around them.

Is it any good?


Readers well versed in zombie literature will take the gore in WARM BODIES in stride and enjoy the quirky, world-saving variations on the theme. More sensitive readers might find the plentiful blood, brains, bones, and dismemberment a barrier to their appreciating, or even getting to, much of the book's fundamental sweetness. The writing is lively, the characters intriguing, and the creative reinvention of popular themes is thought-provoking.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why zombie stories are so popular. How does Warm Bodies compare with others you might have read or seen as movies?

  • What parallels do you see between the world of this story and the one we live in?

  • Why do you think R is so fond of Frank Sinatra, and Julie of John Lennon? How does it show in their lives?

Book details

Author:Isaac Marion
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:April 26, 2011
Number of pages:256
Available on:Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

This review of Warm Bodies was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byTwilightFreakOfLove March 9, 2013

A story filled with all the junk from our life, mixed up with zombies!!!

Pretty good twilight like story, I liked the book,But I think this book has alot of nasty stuff, in it that you probably wouldn't, want to see your kid reading,this is a more mature version of twilight!! Parents may need to be aware, That there's a lot of adult situations in it....
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 17 years old Written byabbacus February 16, 2013

Really good!

I was surprised by how good this movie was. From watching the trailers on T.V. I didn't think it looked very good. A friend convinced me to go, and I'm glad I did! This movie should not be compared to Twilight. It is much more different and SO much better.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 12 years old March 16, 2013

Really, Common Sense? Really?!?

They compare every movie on the face of the earth to twilight - so dont be surprised if you find its absolutely nothing like it.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence


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