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The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

by Carrie Ryan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Forest of Hands and Teeth (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,9313201,959 (3.62)1 / 212
  1. 181
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (ahstrick)
  2. 82
    Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (ahstrick, andreablythe)
  3. 52
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (jlparent)
  4. 20
    Divergent by Veronica Roth (Anonymous user)
  5. 53
    Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Tanglewood)
  6. 10
    The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell (SunnySD)
    SunnySD: Zombies galore - beginnings and endings at the ocean.
  7. 32
    The Road by Cormac McCarthy (kqueue)
    kqueue: Also a grim, dark, violent post-apocalyptic tale.
  8. 43
    The Passage by Justin Cronin (ahstrick)
  9. 00
    The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda (Friederike.Geissler)
  10. 11
    Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (BrynDahlquis)
    BrynDahlquis: The apocalyptic/tragic plot is quite similar, though one has zombies and the other has a homicidal moon.
  11. 00
    Hollowland by Amanda Hocking (clif_hiker)

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English (320)  German (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (323)
Showing 1-5 of 320 (next | show all)
I love dystopian stories and when these stories have the added bonus of zombie-like creatures, I am all in. So I was fully prepared to love The Forest of Hands of Teeth by Carrie Ryan. I did enjoy the story, but unfortunately there were a few things that held me back from total love. I found the characters were a little off. Mary came off a little too desperate and obsessive. Also she was a little too much in her head when she needed to be more about the action. The two brothers, Travis and Harry, were so much alike that I could hardly tell them apart which made it difficult to understand why Mary loved one but not the other. Jed, supposedly Mary’s loving brother, treated her very harshly in the beginning, yet expected Mary to understand and fully back him when he held something back from the group . Probably Cass, Mary’s supposedly best friend, came off as the most understandable as she had a reason for her coldness toward Mary.

There were a few plot-points in the story that made me pause and scratch my head and at times I felt the story was a little disjointed. But this YA story definitely held my attention and kept me engrossed and the pages turning. So the question is, am I going to continue on with this trilogy? The answer is simple, you bet I am, after all it’s a dystopian with zombies! ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Mar 13, 2015 |
Do you ever finish a book and think, WTF did I just read? If you have, than you know what I was thinking when I finished The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I couldn’t coherently put into words how I felt about this book. I’m still not one hundred percent sure if I liked this book enough to give it this high a rating, but since I’m itching to read book two, I figured it meant something. One thing I do know for sure: Carrie Ryan is clearly one sadistic author.

4 Reasons Carrie Ryan is One Sadistic Lady

~ She spent three-fourths of the novel making me hate every one of the main characters, but by the end of the novel I had somehow forgiven them all for being such selfish, greedy characters and making their own desires more important than the lives of their loved ones. I had forgiven Mary for making her dreams more important than her loved ones and for being whiny and unsatisfied with generally everything. Jed for being the world’s worst big brother, Cass for letting jealousy ruin the best thing in her life and blindly following the Sisters without asking why. Harry and Travis for making a girl more important than family. (Bros before hoes, dudes!)
~ She heaps one bad thing after another on her MC’s ~ I honestly don’t know how authors can be so cruel to their main characters. I would grow way too attached and make them all live in a plastic bubble. This is probably why I am a reader and not an author.
~ She left unanswered questions that left me unsatisfied: How did the Unconsecrated (zombies) “return”? Why? When? I hate unanswered questions. I hope she answers my questions in the next couple of books or else I will be deeply disappointed.
~ That horrible cliffhanger.

Can you see why I am so confused by my feelings for The Forest of Hands and Teeth?? On one hand, it was entertaining and Ryan’s writing hooked me almost instantly. On the other, I just wanted to punch all the characters until they started thinking like ration human beings. *sigh* If the second book, the Dead-Tossed Waves doesn’t wow me, I probably won’t be able to continue the series for fear of losing brain cells from repeatedly bashing my head into the wall. Until then, give The Forest of Hands and Teeth a try to see how you enjoy it.

If you enjoyed this review, consider checking out One Curvy Blogger for more bookish entertainment! ( )
  One_Curvy_Blogger | Mar 11, 2015 |
I didn't know from the cover that this was a Zombie book - I probably wouldn't have picked it up if I had. I don't regret it though - the story moves quickly and is packed with emotion. I won't continue the series, but not as a reflection of the writing, I just don't care for Zombies. ( )
  BeckyGraham1016 | Feb 25, 2015 |
I could not put this book down, it was so interesting and such a page turner. Mary, the main character is a very interesting type of person, strong, brave, caring, thoughtful, and yet, I feel like she is too hard on herself. Maybe since the characters in the story have grown up with such a strong religious background, is the reason she experiences such a strong sense of guilt over wanting things, or just having hope, which to me is so sad. I think her thoughts are only human and it's scary how she stood out to so many as being unique and different. But, I love that she stays steadfast and keeps believing in her instincts, and doesn't let that guilt that she and others give her, take over. This is my fourth dystopian YA novel that I have ever read, the other three being the Hunger Games books. I became very wrapped up into this story, even more so than the Hunger Games. I would stop reading, and still feel a little tension/nerves, wondering what's going to happen next? When will this girl catch a break? I worried more about her, despite how strongwilled she is, and hard her life even before the breach was, she's lived through so much, but I still hadn't really pegged her as a survivor till half way through. This book was very powerful, well written, and I'm looking forward to reading more by Carrie Ryan. ( )
  sgcastellini | Feb 6, 2015 |
I'd heard a lot of good things about this book, and had been looking for it at the library for AGES, so when I finally spotted it on the reshelving trolley I grabbed it! A zombie novel whose synopsis reminded me a bit of The Village - human enclave, very insular and ordered, evil things trying to breach the fences - this sadly turned out to be a tad disappointing. The actual zombie mythology of Ryan's world is interesting, and the book definitely kept me hooked, but I had some problems with it too. I felt like it set up more questions than it answered, paving the way for future books in the series in a way that was more frustrating than enticing, and I really wasn't keen on the main character, Mary. She is extremely self-absorbed and self-obsessed, playing with people's hearts and constantly putting herself and others in danger through her reckless need to follow her whims instantly instead of thinking them through. Of course everyone around her pays the price, and yet she never seems to learn! I've picked up the next book, The Dead-Tossed Waves, mostly because it has a complete character shift so... no more Mary and her stupidity! Hopefully I'll like this one better, and it'll fill in some of those unanswered questions that bugged me in the first book. ( )
  elliepotten | Oct 24, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 320 (next | show all)
The story is riveting, even though it leaves a lot of questions to be explained in the sequel.
added by Katya0133 | editSchool Library Journal, Debra Banna

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Carrie Ryanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Millon, VaneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
Mary habite un village entouré d'une clôture. Derrière, les Damnés, revenus de la mort, rôdent dans la forêt, avides de chair humaine... Comment franchir la Forêt des Damnés ?
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385736827, Paperback)

Amazon Exclusive: Scott Westerfeld Reviews The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Scott Westerfeld is the author of three sets of books for young adults, including the Uglies series, the Midnighters series, and a series of stand-alone novels set in contemporary New York, including So Yesterday, Peeps, and The Last Days. Both Uglies and Peeps were named Best Books for Young Adults by the American Library Association in 2006. Read his exclusive Amazon guest review of The Forest of Hands and Teeth:

Teenagers love a good apocalypse. Who doesn't? All those annoying rules suspended. Society's pretenses made irrelevant. Malls to be looted. School out forever.

But in The Forest and Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan's marvelous debut novel, the post-apocalypse is defined more by constraints than freedoms. The book begins seven generations after the Return, an undead plague that has ended civilization as we know it. Of course, a zombie outbreak usually means shotguns and mall looting--the very essence of freedom. But more than a century on from the Return, the malls have already been looted, and shotguns are a distant memory. The novel's heroine, Mary, lives in a village surrounded by one last vestige of industrial technology: a chain-link fence, beyond which is a vast forest full of shambling, eternally ravenous undead--the forest of hands and teeth. No villager ever goes outside this fence, unless they want to die. (And given this bleak scenario, some do.)

Mary's world is bounded not only by the fence but by the archaic traditions of her people, which are enforced by a religious order called the Sisterhood. Marriages, childbirth, death, every stage of life must be controlled to sustain the village's precarious existence. Even the houses are circumscribed--literally--with passages of scripture carved into every entrance to remind the inhabitants of the rules that sustain human life amid the horrors of the forest.

After so long an isolation, the village is beginning to forget. Some doubt that there really was a time before the Return, with giant cities and wondrous technologies. Others believe that nothing at all exists beyond the forest of hands and teeth. And nobody but Mary and her slightly mad mother believes in something called "the ocean," a huge and unbounded space beyond the reach of the undead.

Mary is the sort of teenager who dreams of bigger things. Not just the ocean, but epic romance and adventure beyond the fence, maybe even other villages somewhere out there, safe behind their own fences. She believes that answers can be found to questions like, What made the Return happen? And what was it like before?

Escaping the confines of home for the greater world is, of course, one of the great themes of teen literature. But few heroes in any genre have faced an obstacle as daunting as the forest of hands and teeth. Though Ryan's writing is as lyrical as her title, this novel is driven by the same grim relentlessness that animates any good zombie film. Elegant prose and undead hordes combine to create a story where high drama feels completely unforced, where tension is constant, and where an image as simple as the open sea is achingly romantic.

Zombies have been metaphors for many things: consumerism, contagion in an overpopulated world, the inevitability of death. But here they resonate with a particularly teenage realization about the world--that social limits and backward traditions are numberless and unstoppable, no matter how shambling they may seem at first.

And yet we must try to escape them anyway, lest we wither inside the fence.--Scott Westerfeld

Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Carrie Ryan

We had the opportunity to chat with Carrie Ryan over e-mail about her first novel, The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Here’s what Carrie had to say about George Romero, the growing popularity of young adult fiction, and how she's preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

Amazon.com: You have said you began your writing career intending to write “chick lit.” How, then, did you come to write The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which, on first glance, is a far cry from that genre?

Carrie Ryan: In college many of the short stories I wrote were fairly dark but I’d always heard the advice that you should write what you read and at the time I loved to read romantic comedies and chick lit. So when I decided to attempt a novel, that’s what I tried to write even though it didn’t fit my natural tone. In fact, when I first tried to write a romantic comedy I had to constantly pull myself away from writing dark (and the reason I never tried to sell that book is because too many characters die which wasn’t very comedic!). Even the young adult chick lit I was working on tended to be dark--the main character interned at a coroners office and was surrounded by death.

So writing The Forest of Hands and Teeth was more of me embracing my true voice. I think I’d been scared to just indulge in it before, afraid that there wouldn’t be a market for it (and in fact, even when I was writing The Forest of Hands and Teeth I was convinced it wasn’t saleable). As soon as I jotted down the first line I decided to write it the way I wanted--to experiment and push the bounds and not worry about the market or what other people would think. This was the story I realized I had to tell when my fiancé suggested, “write what you love.”

Amazon.com: Your book has drawn inevitable comparison to the archetypal zombie flick, Night of the Living Dead. How does Mary’s world differ from the world George Romero created more than 40 years ago? Are the movies what first got you hooked on zombies?

Ryan: George Romero has really sparked a lot of imaginations and while any book or movie with zombies inevitably owes a massive debt to Romero's world, I tend not to think of The Forest of Hands and Teeth as a "zombie book," but rather a book that happens to have zombies in it. The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which takes place generations after the apocalypse, is really about a girl struggling with growing up, desire, and a controlling society set against the backdrop of a world with zombies (called “Unconsecrated”) constantly pushing against the fences. The characters have already come to terms with the Return (the zombie apocalypse) and know nothing else: this is their world and they've accepted it.

Romero's movies, on the other hand, deal more directly with the zombies--the plot arc of Night of the Living Dead is having to reckon with and defend against a zombie apocalypse as it occurs. In Romero's world the characters are still trying to fight against the zombies, still trying to reclaim the world of "before." In my book, the "before" time is lost, beyond memory, and the Unconsecrated are not so much the focal point as a part of the setting.

I do think watching the remake of Dawn of the Dead sparked my interest in zombies and led to my watching other zombie movies, including Romero's. One of the things I love the best about his movies, and something that inspired me, is that while they may appear to be simply zombie flicks on the surface, they're actually a commentary on society and are often a reflection of societal fears.

Like many other authors and directors, I wanted to use zombies as a mirror for the characters in my book. In the end, though, what influenced me most was the idea of a girl growing up trapped in a village that has forgotten everything and her hope that there could be something more beyond the menace in the Forest surrounding them, and that's what The Forest of Hands and Teeth is really about.

Amazon.com: Many young adult books with post-apocalyptic settings have been gaining a wide adult fan base--Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games and Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It are a couple of examples. Why do you think these books are attracting a wider audience?

Ryan: It’s been really exciting to see so many young adult books find such popularity with adult readers and I’ve loved re-introducing both my mom and sister to the young adult section. In the past I think readers have “graduated” to adult books and there’s been this feeling that young adult books are “just for teens” and are therefore somehow lighter and less substantive. While there have always been phenomenal young adult books published every year, it’s really felt like there’s been a renaissance recently: more books that are pushing the boundaries in every way.

Not only are a lot of sophisticated young adult books being published, but they’re accessible to everyone--most adults can remember those years of their life and tap into those emotions and feelings. But even more, so many of these books also tap into adult emotions and feelings: how to survive, figuring out what matters in life, struggling with changing relationships. These books make us question our decisions and ourselves and, especially in the current atmosphere of apprehension in the world, people are looking inward to what really matters to them.

Ultimately, I like to think that the bottom line is there are just really really great books in the young adult section and that great books will find a wide audience, no matter where they’re placed.

Amazon.com: In The Forest of Hands and Teeth, no one seems to know how the Unconsecrated (the zombies that live outside the village gates) first came into existence. What do you suspect would trigger the zombie apocalypse?

Ryan: This is actually one of my favorite parts of any zombie book or movie: seeing how the apocalypse is triggered. There are so many different ways it can happen (and has happened)! Aliens, séances, military and medical experiments gone wrong, parasites, environmental mishaps. You name it, it’s caused the zombie apocalypse (I’m still waiting for a movie with chocolate overindulgence as the trigger!)

But I actually made a conscious decision to leave the cause of the Return a mystery in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. One reason is that I wanted to show how knowledge and history could erode so drastically over time. The characters in my book have been so isolated and controlled that they think the ocean is a myth; they have no conception of the world before the Return.

Ultimately, I recognized that the cause of the Return doesn’t matter to the characters or the story. There are so many books and movies that focus on why and how such an apocalypse occurs but my book takes place so long after the event that it’s meaningless. I really wanted to draw that distinction between my world and other zombie worlds: that it doesn’t matter how or why or what triggered the zombie apocalypse, just that it happened and that’s the world they live in now.

Amazon.com: So, how are you preparing for the zombie apocalypse?

Ryan: We’re not at all prepared! It’s funny, shortly after seeing my first zombie movie I dreamt there was a zombie apocalypse and how I would handle it if stuck in the apartment I was living in at the time. Even after waking up I kept trying to figure out how I would survive (how to defend myself, get water, find help, etc.). I’ve since thought through similar issues with every place we’ve lived sort of as a fun thought experiment and I’ve come to the conclusion that we were much safer when we lived in a top floor apartment than our one-story house with too many windows!

To prepare, I just continue to read books, watch movies and am currently trying to train my puppy to be a zombie-sniffing dog.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:27 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Through twists and turns of fate, orphaned Mary seeks knowledge of life, love, and especially what lies beyond her walled village and the surrounding forest, where dwell the Unconsecrated, aggressive flesh-eating people who were once dead.

» see all 4 descriptions

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