Review of The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Review of The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie RyanThe Forest Of Hands And Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Also by this author: The Dead-Tossed Waves, The Dark and Hollow Places, Daughter of Deep Silence
Series: The Forest Of Hands And Teeth #1
Also in this series: The Dead-Tossed Waves, The Dark and Hollow Places
Published by Random House LLC on 2010-02
Genres: Death & Dying, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult, Zombies
Pages: 310
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

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 in so much death? Carrie Ryan lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. You can visit Carrie at From the Hardcover edition.

I love the rise of the dead in YA lit lately. (get it? get it? dead rising yukyuk). Zombies are creating quite a stir, and I am a little over excited about it. The Forest of Hands an d Teeth by Carrie Ryan is a shining gem of zombie awesomeness.

The main character, Mary absolutely breaks my heart. She’s not really satisfied with anything, she gets what she wants but then doesn’t know if it really is what she wants. I like that. I like that she’s not complacent, that she wants more out of her life than what she has been offered. She lives in what is essentially a patriarchy, in that a male decides her fate. Yet, it’s not a patriarchy, because of the power of the Sisterhood, yet the Sisterhood is devoted to a male God. It’s a bit crazy.

You should know this now, I am a sucker for books and movies with crazy societies. I will admit to actually liking the film The Village, which is sort of what the Forest of Hands and Teeth reminded me of — if the Village had zombies, that is. But yes, anything that feels remotely cultish in a book, and I shiver in ecstasy. Granted, the society in this book was formed out of necessity, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t feel just a teeny bit cultish.

I love how engaged I was by this tragic book. I say tragic, because living life in constant fear of zombies, behind a fence sucks, I wouldn’t wish that life on anyone. Ryan really built a unique world, and had me feeling for the characters. I will say this book kept me reading into the late hours of the night/early A.M. Afterward, I thought to myself, this would be an excellent YA book club book. There’s so much to discuss, society, death, choices, terror. Hell, I bet any English teacher worth their salt could center some meaningful discussion around this book.

I’m going to have to recommend you brew some Kool-Aid for this book. Don’t put poison in it though, I’m not asking you to go all Heaven’s Gate. Kool-Aid feels like a cultish drink, but at the same time can we really fault Kool-Aid for tasting so delicious that it is the suicide cult drink of choice. I don’t want anyone to get the impression this book was about a suicide cult or anything, but the Sisterhood made me feel uneasy, the same way a cult makes me feel uneasy. That being said, I think page turners are delicious -figuratively, NOT like I actually physically eat books.

Series Order:

Book One: The Forest Of Hands And Teeth
Book Two: The Dead Tossed Waves
Book Three: The Dark And Hollow Places

Short Story: Bouganvillea takes place in this universe as well.

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Jessica (BookLover) says

    Great review! I'm glad you enjoyed this one. Now we have to wait for The Dead-Tossed Waves. Eeeks!

  2. I love this book! I can not wait for The Dead-Tossed Waves. And I love the covers of both books 🙂
    Good review!

  3. red headed book child says

    I'm always a sucker for a good cover and I really liked this one.

  4. Today I Read says

    Great review. I read this one last year some time and while I enjoyed it, there were some holes for me and I never did bond with Mary's character.

    There's supposed to be another book coming out and I can't wait to learn more about the whole sisterhood aspect; the secrets they're keeping and the mystery surrounding them is what gripped me.

    Ann-Kat Today, I Read…

  5. I really loved this one. The Village with zombies… I hadn't really thought of that but that is *exactly* what it's like!

  6. It took me awhile to get into it, but in the end I really enjoyed this book too. It is also the first book I reviewed on my own blog.

    I also have an award for you!

  7. justicejenniferreads says

    Sounds like an interesting book – and I love Kook-Aid.


  1. […] OMFG! BOUGAINVILLEA! But, being me, I reserved my judgement. I’m not sure why, as I know from The Forest of Hands and Teeth AND The Dead Tossed Waves that Carrie Ryan is awesome. I mean, hello, to make zombies part of the […]

  2. […] One: The Forest of Hands And Teeth Book Two: The Dead Tossed […]

  3. […] Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan is a companion novel to her debut, The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Let me put this out there right now, I think it was a spectacular follow-up. Plot in a nutshell, […]

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