The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Dark December
Something about winter always makes me want to hibernate. This month's titles, highly dictated by the holds that just happened to come in, are pretty dark. If you are faint of heart, squemish, not a fan of serious books, or are concerned about questionable content, these are not for you. Most of these books are recommended for older teens.

Mary has a rough life. Her father was taken by the Unconsecrated, and her mother pines for him daily. Her best friend Cass is engaged to her crush Travis, and her other best friend Harry wants to marry her. That was until everything got worse. One day her mother is bitten. In a few days she will turn, turn into one of the Unconsecrated: one of the walking dead who Return after natural death to haunt the Forest of Hands and Teeth outside the protective fences of her village.

After her mother is gone, she goes to live with the Sisters. It is the Sisterhood who protects the village, guides their traditions, keeps their history, or so she thought. Once she is taken there, she learns that she was wrong. It is a prison for her, and her friends and family have abandoned her. The Sisters have been lying to everyone.

One day, Travis is brought to the Cathedral with a horrendous wound. She is charged with tending to him, and this is her only solace. Until the breach. Suddenly everything is chaos, and the only way out is to follow the fences. Where will it take them?

It's a dark post-apocalyptic zombie tale, with thoughful attention to detail. The intensity of teenage emotions is well captured, and the questions it asks could lead to an interesting discussion. What would the world become if we lost our ability to communicate with each other through technology?

"My mother used to tell me about the ocean. she said there was a place where there was nothing but water as far as you could see and that it was always moving, rushing toward you and then away. She once showed me a picture that she said was my great-great-great-grandmother standing in the ocean as a child. It has been years since, and the picture was lost to fire long ago, but I remember it, faded and worn. A little girl surrounded by nothingness," (Ryan pg. 1, 2009).

*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Monster Island: A Zombie Novel by David Wellington

Ryan, Carrie. (2009). The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Delacorte Press: New York, NY.

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