The Forest of Hands & Teeth
by Carrie Ryan.
I picked up this book because it was billed as an interesting YA dystopia. And it is a dystopia, but it’s also a zombie book. Not my usual wheelhouse, but I went with it. The Forest of Hands & Teeth is the story of Mary, a teen girl who lives in an isolated village deep in the Forest. The Forest is where the Unconsecrated (zombies) roam. All that separates her village from annihilation is a metal fence, which is maintained by the Guardians, who take their orders from the Sisters, who rule the village with a religiously cloaked iron fist. The Sisters tell everyone that they are the only humans left and to go out into the Forest is certain death, while Mary has grown up with stories passed down through the women in her family of a wider world and especially the wonder that is the ocean. In the midst of a love triangle gone wrong and grief over a family tragedy, Mary is left with no other option but to join the ranks of the Sisters. Her curious nature doesn’t fit well with their strict and structured ranks, and she ends up discovering something that could change everything – or destroy everything. There’s a good amount of suspense and zombie attack action. Mary was likable. I didn’t quite buy the love triangle situation, and a lot of plot points (particularly deaths of various characters) were both abrupt and unresolved. The ending, too, was super abrupt; I would’ve liked a little more exploration of that situation and Mary’s reactions to all that happened (trying to avoid spoilers). Overall, though, I enjoyed reading it, even though I don’t usually go for zombie/horror-tinged reads. I’ve got book 2 from the library, as well, so we’ll see how the rest of the series progresses.