Warm Bodies

Book review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
Warm Bodies Book Poster Image
Gory but sweet romance of teen girl and zombie.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 7 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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 & Representations

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 17 years old Written byBob648 July 6, 2019

Name Change

I think that R should have gone with the name Rupert. As he is my crush and I would like to kiss him like the girl in the film kisses R. Also I think I should h... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byimoviegoteen July 22, 2015

Great Book, with iffy stuff inside...

Expect some F bombs, S words, B words, and all the sort. But it all ties to whats going on in the book. Some sexual themes and inappropriate talk that's us... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and zombies

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