Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan


In Mary's world, there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.

The Guardians will protect and serve.

The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?

Character Development: 11/10! (yes, I mean that)

Originality: 9/10

Overall Enjoyment: 10/10

Ending: 7/10

Voice: 10/10

Recommendation: 9/10

Total Score: 56/60


Age Appropriate?
Cussing: Nope.

Drugs, Alcohol, etc: None.

Sexual Content: Depends on personal interpretation (see Carrie Ryan's explanation here)

Aimed at high-school age 14+


This is a book about the zombie apocalypse--and, no, I'm not joking. The Unconsecrated are infected future citizens of the world and they will come eat you if you don't watch out! The Forest of Hands and Teeth, however, is not a lame scream-filled horror (quite the contrary, in fact). It is a beautifully constructed, meaningful, speculative book with a realistic, tortured voice that the reader cannot avoid wanting to die for. Mary is just so real. Her desires and needs and decisions aren't fanciful or outlandish and really let us connect with her on such a personal level that it's frightening. The amazing and horrific setting is both enthralling and disturbing, from the blatant declaration that marriage has nothing to do with love to the vivid descriptions of individual undead. Zombies aside, however, this book is also a love story that will rip you to the core with the all-too-real emotions and complications that come along with falling in love in a world like Mary's involving a heartrending love-square full of pain, sacrifice, and duty that is just all wrong but cannot be put right. But above all, this story leaves the reader with one question, waiting desperately to be answered with Ryan's next novel: How exactly will the world survive the siege of the Unconsecrated?

Look at this book trailer -- a Kirkus Reviews 2008 Teen Book Video Awards Finalist. View the other 2 finalists (Parties and Potions; Persistence of Memory) here.
(sorry for the awful formatting.)

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