The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Ryan, Carrie. The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Random House Children’s Books, 2010. 336 pages. pap. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-385-73682-4.
Annotation: Teenage Mary lives in a small village run by a religious Sisterhood and surrounded by multitudes of the undead, known as the Unconsecrated. The fence that surrounds the village is breached and Mary barely escapes with a few friends as the undead attack. She is on a flight of survival with Travis, a boy whom she loves and his brother, Harry, a boy to whom she is betrothed.
Summary: This is the first book in the series; the second book is called The Dead-Tossed Waves. Mary dreams of seeing the ocean while living in a secluded post-apocalyptic community run by the religious Sisterhood. A strange disease has infected most of the world’s human population and transformed them into flesh-carving zombies. A fence that surrounds her village keeps out the flesh-eating undead known as the Unconsecrated. But when the fence is breached, Mary barely escapes with Travis, a boy whom she loves and his brother, Harry, a boy to whom she is engaged to be married. Their flight of survival is riveting as the zombie-like undead limit their chances of escape.
Evaluation: This is a zombie thriller with depth; it is an engrossing read as the elements of horror, suspense, and romance intermingle. Mary is a very likeable and strong character that is learning to create her own destiny through her bravery against the relentless undead. Although a very bleak novel, it does offer a ray of hope for human survival. Recommended for ages 13 to 18.
Genre / Subject: Fiction, Horror, Dystopia, Orphans, Romance, Survival, Friendship
Awards: 2010 ALA Best Books for Young Adults