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Gripping, romantic, and impossible to put down, this dark and immersive post-apocalyptic debut novel is about two teen girls who loved each other before the end of the world and before one of them became infected with the virus that turned her into a monster.

Perfect for fans of Krystal Sutherland, Adam Silvera, and the darkly human side of the HBOMax horror-drama, The Last of Us.


Seventeen-year-old Mara is dead—mostly. Infected with a virus that brought the dead back to life and the world to its knees, she wakes up in a facility to learn a treatment for the disease has been found. No longer a Tick, Mara is placed in an experimental resettlement program. But her recovery is complicated by her destination: she’s sent to live with the best friend she hasn’t seen since the world ended—and since their first and only kiss.

Seventeen-year-old Rory is alive—barely. With impaired mobility from an injury and a dead sister, Rory’s nightmares are just as monstrous as the Ticks that turned her former best friend. Even after the Island—one of a handful of surviving communities—rebuilds itself, Rory is prepared for the Ticks to return at any time. She never expected them to come in the form of the only girl she’s ever loved.

As the girls struggle with their pasts and the people they’ve become, and with the Island’s fragile peace in the balance, Rory and Mara must lean on each other to survive—or risk losing the girl they love all over again.

"This stunning debut will rip your heart out... and eat it. A gut punch of a romance set in an immersive post-apocalyptic backdrop, Hearts Still Beating will sink its teeth into you and never let you go." —Jennifer Dugan, author of The Last Girls Standing

"The sapphic zombie story I’ve been salivating for! Infectious storytelling and riveting action with a tender and powerful love story at the beating heart. I absolutely devoured this book." —Leslie Vedder, bestselling author of The Bone Spindle trilogy

"At turns brutal and beautiful, Hearts Still Beating is a riveting exploration of love and what it means to be human in a crumbling, impossible world." —Jen St. Jude, author of If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come

"[An] affecting, adrenaline-filled debut…escalating stakes, nuanced plotting, and a visceral first-person-present narrative that alternates between the emotionally complex protagonists’ POVs combine for a gratifying read." —Publishers Weekly

"[An] original, adventure-filled love story…. A richly realized and distinctive queer zombie romance." Kirkus Reviews

"[P]erfect for fans of The Last of Us looking for a queer take on the classic zombie story." Booklist

  • Pages: 336 Pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Imprint: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN: 9780593698327
Penguin Teen