TITLE: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
AUTHOR: Carrie Ryan
GENRE: Young Adult, Horror/Zombies, Fantasy, Apocalyptic, Romance
PUBLISHED:  March 10th 2009 - Gollancz 


(Courtesy of Goodreads-No Spoilers!)

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 about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, 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?


I have now been scarred for life, or scared for life. Probably both. I just survived THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH. Can I just say... Holy cow!!

This book is about a girl living in a village in the middle of a forest. There was an infection that spread killing people and turning them into zombies. So around this little village is a large fence protecting them from the “Unconsecrated” (the zombies.) The village lives in fear, under religious tyranny and under strict rules to procreate. They believe they are the last survivors.

Carrie Ryan’s main character, Mary, is an oddball in this rule driven society. She’s a dreamer and a rule breaker. She is magnificently believable from start to finish. (Some of the time I wanted someone to slap her and make her follow the rules.) But she couldn’t be bridled, not by rules, not by the religious order, not by marriage. She is an intense individualist. (I can appreciate that.)

The tone of the book was overwhelming. It was told from the point of view of Mary in the present tense. I was used to reading stories in the past tense. But this story being in the present tense and being the first person point of view felt at times that I was the one running down the hallways of the cathedral, or down the fenced paths. I felt trapped in this book feeling what this character felt and HAD to finish the book to release myself from the story.

The plot was emotional with fear, anger, and resentment. But the overriding hope that Mary would find a way to be free kept my heart in the story and pressing to find out if she will ever see the ocean.


I don’t like zombies. I don’t like zombie stories, but I read this one so deeply and quickly that I cannot say that it was a waste of time. It was so well written that I saw the characters living and breathing in front of me. I’d have to rate this experience as a 4: A Very Good Read.

It scared the crap out of me, gave me a rush and I couldn’t sleep last night! (Thanks Carrie!)


This is listed as a Young Adult novel. I think it would be rated “R” in movie ratings because of descriptions of the gore (zombies) and mild sexual content but there was no bad language. It is so frightening, that I would probably warn my teen not to read it. 

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