Mary lives in town. She hopes to one day marry a boy she’s had a crush on for years. She cannot wait to become an Aunt–her brother’s wife is expecting. Her Dad has been called outside of town for work. And her mother…her mother waits for his return.

By all accounts, Mary’s story could be something hundreds of girls go through, even today. However, author Carrie Ryan writes this story in a time more fitting to colonial times. It is not until the wild Unconsecrated–zombies, as we later learn–fall upon the village and Mary’s mother sacrificing herself to the Unconsecrated in the hopes of finding her husband that Mary’s life changes drastically.

Harry, the brother of the boy she is in love with, does not speak for her. Her brother casts her out of his home, for the betterment of his own marriage. With nowhere else to go, Mary goes to the Convent. She learns from the order about various tasks, but finds out there is another guest of the convent with a dangerous disease.

As Mary goes deeper into the mystery of the other convent guest, she learns that her carefully constructed way of life may actually be a hinderance, so she disappears into the forest of hands and teeth while a dangerous force ravages her village, as well as the bodies of the townspeople.

Once I heard about this book through a network of book bloggers I decided that I had to read it, and boy, was I glad I did. I loved the world and mythology Carrie Ryan has created, and look forward to reading more from the author.

There were a few plot points I was less excited about, and there were a few questions I had, but overall, it was a quick and exciting read–one of those read until 3 AM reads that I need every once in a while.


The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
320 Pages, Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Hardcover: March 2009 Retail: $16.99