The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
The Skinny: Mary lives in a world where there are three simple truths: The Sisterhood knows best, the Guardians will always protect them, and never go on the other side of the fence. (I did paraphrase this from the book cover – it was just so good!) On the other side of the fence the Unconsecrated roam, ready to infect anyone who nears them. But when her mother is accidentally infected, her brother kicks her out of their home and the man she is in love with is engaged to another, the only place left to go is the convent and live with the Sisterhood. As she learns to live in her new environment she slowly begins to understand the Sisterhood’s true power over her village. When the village is breached by the Unconsecrated she must decide her future: between the man she loves and the man who loves her; between the home she’s always known and what lies ahead; and between the truth she’s always known and the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth.
BFF?: Mary is one tough cookie, but I sort of felt like she was a little… oh woe is me, let me kill a zombie. I never felt as if we could hang out and be girlfriends, but I would want her next to me if I was faced with a horde of zombies. She’s a little dry, a little too serious, and a little too daft to realize a good thing when she sees it (ie Harry). But then she opens up and wow… she had a heart all along! I think everyone has that friend who is overly cautious about their feelings or easily giving their trust/heart/love away and Mary would be her. Deep down you know she’s a caring and kind person but her shell is hard to break. Sometimes you just want to give her a hug and say “Tell me how you feel!” Of course, that would be weird.
Readability: It’s. So. Serious! But so beautifully written you almost get lost in the seriousness. But c’mon… zombies are serious stuff! Mary, as the narrator, is pretty dry, both in humor and wit. The tone is a little depressing, but this isn’t negative. It really makes you see how the world Mary lives in really is, void of anything fun and always being on alert for a zombie attack.
Crush Level: 3
There really wasn’t anyone in this book that I developed a crush on. Travis was kind of hot, but kind of meh at the same time. I didn’t get any tinglies from him, despite him being cute and nice and hot and yada yada yada. I think what annoyed me was how noble he is. Yes, he’s engaged to another girl… so freakin what?! It’s zombie apocalypse! Screw being noble.
And then there’s Harry… I sort of developed a “well he’s a nice guy” kind of crush on him. But the kind of crush that you get when the guy is definitely in love with someone else but is settling for you. Maybe I don’t like Harry that much after all… but he is a nice guy. Ugh!
Normally I’m not one for surprises. Most times I prefer to know what’s going on ahead of time. This book was not one of those times. I didn’t really get what this book was about and it wasn’t until AFTER I finished did I finally “get” that the Unconsecrated are zombies. Another surprise – which I won’t tell you because it would be major spoilers – is that this book was kind of like that movie The Village and at the end you realize “Oh, this isn’t the 1800s? It’s modern day? What?!” Maybe I was the only one who was surprised. I mean, I wasn’t exactly clued in on the zombie part…
For some reason zombies are the new vampires… or maybe not since vampires are now sexy. New swamp thing? I don’t know. But zombies are all the rage now. I personally can’t see the appeal in them being the bad guy because all they want is a tasty snack. However, if I ever get the chance to throw a Halloween party, you can bet your bottom dollar my theme is gonna be zombie prom (or Zombie Prom).
Nuns with Guns
Okay, so the nuns that make up the Sisterhood don’t ACTUALLY have guns. But they are pretty powerful in Mary’s village. I thought it was kind of awesome that these nuns were so revered in the village but ended up being totally deceitful and kept the villagers in the dark about what lies beyond the fence (besides the zombies). It was a nice, dark twist.
Superlatives – Best Zombie Hunter