Monday, April 16, 2012

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Author: Carrie Ryan

Publisher: Delacorte Press

4 out of 5 stars

The rattling and moans never stop.  Coming from all sides, the Unconsecrated slowly push their way in.  You run from them through the rain, slipping in the mud.  Your foot catches on a root and you go sprawling to the ground, cutting your knees.  As you scramble to get up they close in around you, and you can feel the fear bubbling up inside of you.  It works its way up as a scream, that you let loose like a wild animal.  You swing at the mass of bodies engulfing you, and you manage to clear an opening and push your way back onto the narrow path, escaping them.  Ahead of you is a fork in the path, and you randomly take one, hoping it will lead you to a place without the constant questions and fear that you experience every day now.  Maybe that place doesn’t exist, and you’re better off right back where you started.  There’s only one way to find out…

Mary has lived with the din of the Unconsecrated scraping at the fences her entire life.  They’re always on the outside, trying to get in.  She knows not to get too close, for fear of being infected.  But she can’t help but wonder.  What is it like on the other side?  Is there more than just an endless forest full of zombies that never cease to hunger for your flesh?  Mary yearns to visit the ocean from her mother’s stories and find out what’s beyond her small village.  Are the gates surrounding their tiny village meant to keep the Unconsecrated out, or them in?

Mary’s simple life isn’t enough.  She wants more.  But the Sisterhood who controls the village is set in their ways, and the villagers live in a monotonous routine.  Some find this life fulfilling, but not Mary.  Mary yearns to break free of the confines of her suffocating village.  She lives off of the hope that there is more out there, that there is more to life.  Mary isn’t about to find that out any time soon, unless she manages to escape.  Will Mary choose to delve into the unknown, risking it all for a hopeful dream?  Or will she live the rest of her life always wondering what could have been?  Carrie Ryan reveals all in her stirring novel, of one girl’s pursuit for the chance at a full life in, The Forest of Hands and Teeth!

The Forest of Hands and Teeth never let up with the threat of the unknown that lurked beyond the fences, and Mary’s own internal conflicts that plagued her daily.  After getting a taste of the secrets that the Sisterhood holds, Mary can’t help but wonder what else they’re hiding.  She could have a chance at a whole new life, if she’s willing to take the risks.  Zombies, romance, and adventure pack the pages of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, filling it with completely unexpected turns.  I suggest this book for readers fourteen and up, as it can be intense at times.

The new world in which I was introduced to in The Forest of Hands and Teeth constantly kept me guessing.  I knew just as much as Mary did, and I wondered if anything really was left.  After the Return, humankind faded away, and as far as Mary’s village is concerned, they’re the only ones left.  The Sisterhood does all they can to keep the villagers inside the gates and content with their lives.  But they can’t keep Mary from dreaming about what really is beyond her tiny gates, and doubting the life that is planned for her in the village.  With the Unconsecrated as a constant threat, Mary has the fear of the unknown looming over her.  Is risking it all really worth it?

Mary has a huge amount of conflict within herself.  She was never really satisfied with her life in the village, and she was coming to an age where it was time to make a decision.  Not only did she want to know more, but the one she loved was promised to another.  Mary constantly debated whether she was being selfish or not if she went after the things she desired.  In the end she might get the things she wanted, but she would hurt people who care about her along the way.

At times Mary’s journey felt like an endless search.  Everything she did never led her to any answers, and it was as if she was on a futile journey that would last until she died trying.  Mary’s conflict within herself and her situation with her love interest tended to take over, where I would have rather seen more of the physical obstacles that she struggled against.  Most of the things that she faced in the environment on her journey were driven by the emotions she felt inside of herself.  It would have been nice to have seen her act on her own instinct when the situation called for it.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth always asks what else could there be?  Mary strives to answer that question as she journeys to find what she’s always hoped was true.  With a treacherous world and unanswered questions, this book takes a dive into new territory.  Join Mary, as she seeks more out of life, not knowing what direction will lead her there in, The Forest of Hands and Teeth!

-This is T.B. with Another Book Back on the Shelf…
Until Next Time, Keep Reading!

My signed copy of The Forest of Hands and Teeth from Robyn Hawk at the Orange County Children's Book Festival!  Thank you so much Robyn Hawk and Carrie Ryan!

Check out Carrie Ryan's website at


  1. Wow, that sounds intense. I don't really like zombies so to think of Mary potentially challenging them in the book really takes a lot of courage, even to imagine it. Great job bringing out the uncertainty present in the book.

  2. TB!!!!! I haven't commented in like, forever!!! How've ya been? :3 I read this book and was actually very impressed with it. You got it signed???? Too cool!!! XD Anyway, I just wanted to comment and also be the first commentor...(spell check?) Ha, ha! Bye!!

  3. I've been looking forward to reading this one for a while now. I'm glad that it's good!

    I absolutely love zombies. :)

    Thanks for the review!

  4. I thought this series kept getting better with each book. The last book, The Dark and Hollow Places was one of my all time favourites.

    Great reviews!


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