Algonquin "Ali" Rhodes, the high school newspaper's music critic, meets an intriguing singer, Doug, while reviewing a gig. He's a weird-looking guy--goth, but he seems sincere about it, like maybe he was into it back before it was cool. She introduces herself after the set, asking if he lives in Cornersville, and he replies, in his slow, quiet murmur, "Well, I don't really live there, exactly. . . ." When Ali and Doug start dating, Ali is falling so hard she doesn't notice a few odd signs: he never changes clothes, his head is a funny shape, and he says practically nothing out loud. Finally Marie, the school paper's fashion editor, points out the obvious: Doug isn't just a really sincere goth. He's a zombie. Horrified that her feelings could have allowed her to overlook such a flaw, Ali breaks up with Doug, but learns that zombies are awfully hard to get rid of--at the same time she learns that vampires, a group as tightly-knit as the mafia, don't think much of music critics who make fun of vampires in reviews.