The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan is an incredibly gripping tale of life among the Unconsecrated, or zombies. Mary has grown up surround by the undead for her entire life with only a fence separating her and her village from certain death. Life is all about listening to the Sisterhood and Guardians, who are the keepers of their knowledge and protectors. After her mother and father returned as the undead, Mary is forced to join the Sisterhood and now she is learning that perhaps there is life outside of the fence, maybe a life without the Unconsecrated. Things quickly go from bad to worse for Mary when her village is infiltrated by the undead. Now her dreams of escaping the fence has become a reality and only option for survival. With her brother and friends, Mary runs down the forbidden fenced-in path in hopes of finding the ocean and a world without zombies.
What a great horror story filled with tales of first love and growing up. Ryan did such a great job capturing the fear of living with flesh-eating zombies while simultaneously showing the characters as being desensitized from the constant presents of the Unconsecrated. I also like all of the big issues that Mary was forced to work through while fighting her way to freedom. She tried to come to a better understanding of friendship, love, death, and hope. Ryan created a precocious female character who has incredible courage and determination. It was easy to cheer her on in her quest.