The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

I was looking for a zombie book for young adults, and a lot of people (well over 50) recommended that I read this book. When that many people tell you to read a book, then you read it! So, I did and I understand completely why everyone recommends it. Ryan does an amazing job of getting you inside the head of the main character, Mary and making you hope just like she does.

The book takes place after The Return. Mary lives in a small village that is surrounded by fences. On the other side of those fences are the Unconsecrated (zombies) that roam endlessly about the forest and press up against the fences to get at the living people in the village. The moans of the Unconsecrated are consistent background noise throughout the story. Mary’s life is not easy. She deals with a lot of loss as those that she has known all of her life fall to the Unconsecrated if they stray too closely to the fences and get bitten. When the fences are breached by a particularly fast one, Mary, her brother and his wife, Cass (Mary’s best friend), Harry (the one in love with Mary), Travis (the one that Mary loves), and an orphaned boy pass through a gate to safety (sorta). No one knows where this path leads and if there is something outside of the village. Can Mary make it to safety? Are there other living beings out there that are untouched by the Unconsecrated? Read it and find out.

I really enjoyed this book. I liked the way everything was written and flowed together. It was like a few campfire or bedtime stories sewn together. There were chapters that I could just set the book down and feel like I had finished a part of a story and some that made me turn the page to the new chapter. This made it much easier to read, as well as the chapters being fairly short. I loved the setting. It is creepy, but also something that is easily pictured away from a typical horror movie interpretation of a zombie apocalypse. Travis was actually my favorite character even though he was not really the focus of the whole narrative. Mary annoyed me at times, but she is a teenager so that is understandable. All in all, I’m passing this book off to my students because I know that they will love it just as much as I did. ( )

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