Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Author: Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Random House)
Date Published: 2009
Type of Book: Young Adult
Main Themes: Religion, Love, Zombies, Freedom/Choice
From inside cover: “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?”
When this book first came out I picked it up every time I went to the bookstore, but I always put it back down. Then I was at the library and saw that they had a copy, so I decided to give it a try. After all, if I didn’t like it – I could just return it and it wouldn’t be a big deal (there is nothing worse than buying a book only to find out a couple chapters in that it is HORRIBLE). Let’s just say that now I have to make a trip to the bookstore… because I NEED a copy of this book on my bookshelf. Right next to its continuation when it comes out in March 2010 (sooo far away!!).
Before reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth, the only zombie centered books that I’d read were Laurell K. Hamilton’s books (aimed for “adult” readers) and You Are So Undead to Me by Stacy Jay. The Forest of Hands and Teeth is nothing like those two books – at all. It’s much more serious, realistic (if zombies were real) view of zombies and a world where zombies outnumber the living. Actually, it was kind of like I Am Legend (which was first a book, I think). With a bit of The Village mixed in as well.
I loved Mary as a narrator and heroine. I loved the fact that she was so filled with life in a world that was filled with death and, in many ways, hopelessness. Mary never gave up fighting for what she wanted or believed in – even when she didn’t really have any proof that what she was fighting for even existed. I found myself rooting for her to succeed in fulfilling her dreams!
I really appreciated the love story – which was (as the ever wise Seth Cohen of the OC would say) a love rhombus – including Mary, her best friend, her fiance, and his brother. It really doesn’t get more soap opera than that, but it was amazing nonetheless and totally suited the atmosphere of the story.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a portrayal of what would happen if zombies really did overrun the world, told from the point of view of a heroine that the reader could relate to.
This book is about much more than zombies and a complicated love story – it’s about freedom of choice and fighting for your dreams and beliefs despite overwhelming obstacles!
Ratings (out of 10):
Writing Style: 10
Total: 50/50 (A)
I definitely recommend this book to fellow YA readers, especially zombie fans, but to any reader really. The main characters are mature and engaging, so any fiction reader could enjoy their dialogue.
Also, don’t be afraid to buy this book at the bookstore. It’s worth it.