Google+ Reading Teen: Halloween Picks! Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Monday, October 4, 2010

Halloween Picks! Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

We love Halloween! So, for the month of October, we're hoping to bring you some awesome scary/creepy books to get you in the mood for Trick-or-Treating!  This is one of my all-time-favorite books!  If you haven't read these books, now's the perfect time!

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385736827
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385736824
Author's Website:

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

Now 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?

Mary lives in a secluded village surrounded by The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  The only thing standing between the people in the village and the "Unconsecrated" is a fence surrounding the village.  This is a way of life for them though, as they have never known it any other way.  But Mary's mother told Mary about the way things were before.  Before their world was consumed by the infection that turned so many into the walking dead.  She told her of cities, buildings that reached the sky, but mostly she told her about the ocean.  

After her mother and father are turned, Mary is consume with thoughts of escaping to the ocean.  The idea that something so huge can exist out there is the only thing that gives Mary hope.  But this way of thinking is strictly forbidden by the Sisterhood.  The Sisters have their own plan for Mary, which include marriage to a man that Mary doesn't love, and living quietly in the "only remaining village in the world". But when a stranger comes to the village, all of Mary's suspicions of another life out there are confirmed, and her desire for a life by the ocean, and not just marriage, but love, are things she doesn't know if she can deny any longer.

I loved this book!  I felt like I was reading a mixture of I Am Legend and The Village, two movies that I watch again and again.  It's been a long time since a book has really affected me this way!  Once I started reading, I didn't want to stop.  It's the first book I've ever read where I was actually a little afraid.  After I finished it, I was exhausted from holding my breath.  And it wasn't just because of the Zombies.  The love triangle square was every bit as intense as the Unconsecrated who were chasing that "square".  Ryan did a fantastic job of creating that longing between the characters, for each other and for the life that they wanted but was always just out of their reach.  

The only thing that I wasn't crazy about was that I felt that there wasn't enough information about the main characters relationship.  I knew that they had past relationships, growing up together, and that they had strong feelings for each other, but it never really explained why they loved each other so much (sorry, trying not to give anything away).  It was also hard for me to relate to how much Mary valued being at the ocean over being with the people she loved.  Don't get me wrong....I love the beach!  I just love my family more.  Overall, this was a fabulous, though heart-breaking book that I would recommend to anyone who doesn't have an aversion to scary (and a little gory) stories.

The companion book, The Dead Tossed Waves, is even more amazing, and The Dark and Hollow Places is set to be released March 22, 2011.  Thank you Carrie Ryan, for a fantastic adventure and love story!

You might like to know: This is a horror story.  It gets scary and gory in parts.  There are a couple of religious exclamations, but no other language issues.  It also has some kissing between the main characters with some sexual tension, though there's no sexual content.  For more details, go to The Forest of Hands and Teeth on Parental Book Reviews.


  1. Brooke is making me read this book because I read a lot of Stephen King. I'm supposed to read through it and let her know if I think she can handle it when I'm done. She can't even watch the book trailer without covering her I'm not sure if this is for her.

    You mentioned I Am Legend in your review, have you read the book? It's actually a short story, or novella. It's different than the movie (they're vampires in the book, not weird mutant things), but still quite spooky. The alternate ending of the movie on DVD, while still very different, is more in line with the tone of the book. I recommend it though. I'm a big fan of books that give you that unsettling feeling. I don't care for the outright scares and jumps (which is why I can't watch scary movies). I like the slow-burn creepiness that sticks with you for a while. On that note, I'd also recommend The Graveyard Book if you haven't read that. It's a middle grade book by Neil Gaiman and it's terrific. It's like the Jungle Book, except the boy is raised in a graveyard with ghosts instead of the jungle with animals.

    Love the blog by the way, keep it up.

  2. Brooke cracks me up! This is definitely a more slow-paced, unsettling book. I really enjoyed it, but I like the compantion/sequel The Dead-Tossed Waves even better. They're both similar, though. I don't think it's just outright scary, so I think she'd be ok reading it. It's just more creepy, if you know what I mean.

    I haven't read the I Am Legend book. I didn't even know there was one! I haven't read The Graveyard either, but it sounds good. I'm looking for more books that guys like. Maybe I'll pass that one on to Austin (my co-blogger's son). He reads constantly!

    Thanks for the compliment! I'm enjoying it!

  3. Great title and love the HP trailer!

  4. I ordered this book, but it hasn;t arrived yet!!
    It seems amazing, like a perfect, twisted balance between horror and romance, excitement and stillness! XD
    Thanks so much for the review!

  5. ARGGHH I can't wait for Xmas break so I can go buy this book

    I think you wouldn't like to know my face is green thanks to the jealousy I'm feeling at this very moment but I'm telling you anyway

    waaaaaaa, I want to read it noww!
    ok not now, but in the morning, when there's sunlight


  6. Here's yet another book to add to my growing list of 'to read'. Going to look for "I Am Legend" as well.

    Great vlog. You and Amy work well together.

  7. (SPOILERS!)

    I thought this book was okay, nothing that great. It reminded me of Resident Evil (if you want to see this book as a film I think Resident Evil (3) comes VERY close to it) and even though I LOVE those films I didn't think the books rocked as much.
    I totally agree with you on Mary and her love for the ocean. I love the ocean too but I couldn't, for the life of me, understand how she could want it more than Travis, the guy she's been in love with since forever! And WHY wasn't she spending every moment of her possibly short life with Travis when they were stuck in that house?? You love the guy, you've wanted him for yourself but the moment you both get stuck in a huge house you lock yourself up in the attic? It wasn't until he was dying that her light bulb went off and she thought "Crap, he IS enough. I think. No I'm sure he's enough... DON'T DIE!!" Ugh, annoyed the hell out of me.

    Overall I liked the book, I didn't LOVE it but it was okay. I've read your reviews for the next two books but I won't be giving them a go. I knew at the end of this book I could just drop the series and then I read a preview of DTW and I knew I wasn't going to read it. I prefer Mary's "I want to get out of here" attitude than Gabry's "I like the rules and I'm fine here" one.

  8. Sheepa,

    I do have to say, Dead-Tossed Waves was my favorite. I don't know why I liked it so much more, but I really did. I agree about the attitudes, but I think Gabry definitely changes in DTW. The only problem is that it ends in a cliffhanger and even though I liked Dark and Hollow, it was my least favorite. I agree with your comments about Mary. It's also interesting to see her change in DTW.


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