The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan has zombies.
What more do you want me to say? How does “This book has zombies” not make you want to go out and read it right away? Okay, how about this:
This book has zombies that aren’t charicatures of zombies, they’re zombies that you can take seriously and therefore you can take this book seriously.
Mary lives in a village surrounded by a fence to keep out the Unconsecrated. Her dad has been missing for months, and Mary’s mom goes to the fence every day to look for her husband, holding out hope that he’s been able to remain human. After Mary’s mom gets infected and is put on the other side of the fence, Mary is sent to live with the Sisters, a religious order that protects and controls the village.
After a breach in the fence, the village is attacked by the Unconsecrated, who feed on the flesh of the living. Mary takes off with her brother, his wife, an orphan boy, and three friends she’s had since childhood, Travis and Cassandra (who are betrothed), and Harry, to whom Mary is betrothed. They venture through a gate that will take them on a path that they hope will lead to safety and a reason to live, other than just trying to survive.
The author uses one-liners that just punch you in the gut. Take this one, for example, from page 15:
In the moment between my mother’s death and her Return, I stop believing in God.
(the mom’s Return refers to when she becomes a zombie, or Unconsecrated)
The zombies are incidental to a story that digs deep into what life is about, the significance of love, and the importance of dreams.
“It’s not about surviving. It should be about love. When you know love…that’s what makes this life worth it. When you live with it every day. Wake up with it, hold on to it during the thunder and after a nightmare. When love is your refuge from the death that surrounds us all and when it fills you so tight that you can’t express it.” –page 155
Who are we if not the stories we pass down? What happens when there’s no one left to tell those stories? To hear them? Who will ever know that I existed? What if we are the only ones left — who will know our stories then? And what will happen to everyone else’s stories? Who will remember those? –page 207
This book was going along fantastically until a couple of things brought it down a few notches for me. It was still a great read and a great story that I highly recommend. As I was going through my passages I’d marked, I was getting sucked back into the story. If that’s not a good book, I don’t know what is.
Rating: 89 out of 100
books i done read (she didn’t like it as much as me, but she has a funny paragraph about Mad Libs)
Devourer of Books (she didn’t like it as much as me either)
The Sleepy Reader (ditto on the not liking it as much as me)
Presenting Lenore (we’re more in line on our thoughts)
The Book Zombie (she liked it and has a much more detailed review)
Beth Fish Reads (she liked it and listed to the audio)
YAnnabe (she liked it!)
Book source: I checked this book out from the library.