May 10, 2010


I'm all about zombies right now. First off, we watched Zombieland the other night, which was pretty good/gross. Then I played Plants vs. Zombies for, like, two hours one day. And THEN I picked up The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan (Duke Law grad! Right on.). I sort of like zombies (apparently), and I like books about problem teenagers, and this has both. It got a lot of good reader reviews, so I thought I'd give it a go. (I know, it's another young adult book, and I'm too old to be reading these. I know! I also know it's lame to play Farmville, but that doesn't stop me from doing it.)

Overall, I liked this book well enough. You know the M. Night Shyamalan movie "The Village"? It is kind of like that, a little: A colonial-type community is stuck in an isolated village that is surrounded by a scary forest inhabited by creatures that may or may not kill and eat them. I like that sort of weird problem. I'm okay with that.

Our heroine is Mary, a girl who wants to know more about the world beyond the fences, beyond the hordes of Unconsecrated. She's obsessed with finding the ocean - a thing she has heard of but has never seen, since she lives in the treetops in this village in the forest. You know her kind: The strong-willed, brave girl who Doesn't Fit In and Knows There's More to Life Than This. I won't give it all away, though.

The book enjoys an annoying (but minor) degree of melodrama (the Sisterhood keeps THE SECRETS?!! SECRETS!!!!) but teenagers are melodramatic, so I suppose that suits both the young adults in the book and the young adults who are (theoretically) the reading audience. But the zombies and the plot were enough to keep me plugging through it. It was sort of good... and evidently good enough to spark me to read its sequel, The Dead-Tossed Waves (I like the cover, don't you?).

The sequel features some recurring characters from FOHAT, but mainly revolves around some new folks -- Gabry, our protagonist, is Mary's daughter, for example. Then there's more zombies, and some pretty gross violence.

I'm pretty sure all the super-enthusiastic reader reviews that you'll find online for these two books were written by Twihard types. There's a lot of teenage girls out there who are obsessed with the undead action/romances right now. If that description fits you, then you'll love these books.

However: I'm pretty sure that description doesn't fit you you, because I know exactly who all five people are who read this blog. :)

P.S. Just as I was Googling The Forest of Hands and Teeth to find an image of the cover for this post, I discovered that a movie adaptation of this book is set to come out in 2011. Huh. Not really new news, to people who care, but I did not know that until just now.

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