The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan | Book Review

Rating: 4/10

Format:  Audio-Book – Library

One part “the Village,” one part watered down “Handmaid’s Tale,” two parts “Ridiculous Love Quadrangle” (No, that one isn’t a real book),  set in a zombie apocalypse, The Forest of Hands and Teeth felt like a bunch of stories I’ve read several times before.

We open on Mary, who lives in a village surrounded by a fence. There are straight up zombies outside the fence. Traditional George Romero rules apply to these guys, except in the book they’re called “the unconsecrated.” Mary has a crush on a boy named Travis, but his older brother asks Mary to the Harvest-Whatever, and tells her Travis already asked Mary’s best friend Cass. Neat.

Mary’s dad has recently become one of the unconsecrated, and Mary is supposed to be watching her mom so that she doesn’t throw herself to the zombies to become one. But she’s busy dealing with her love quadrangle, so her mom becomes a zomb too. Now you have the introduction to the book– and honestly, I don’t know that you need to go much further.

The question that drives this book is the question that drives any book with a city behind a fence– what’s on the outside? The story follows the four love quadrangle members, Mary’s sketchy older brother, and a random kid they adopt,  as they trample through the woods outside their village, trying to find somewhere new, or the ocean (which Mary is obsessed with), or just trying to eat and sleep enough.

This book really didn’t do it for me. I did not care about Mary, mostly because she’s a selfish crazypants. Furthermore, no one in the love quadrangle had any kind of compelling experiences together that made me believe they were in love. This is a mistake I see a lot– At the beginning of the book, tell us characters are best friends! Repeat it several times during the book despite the two characters having continuous conflict. Yeah, I just couldn’t believe any of these characters actually cared about each other.

You know which two fictional characters I believe are in love with my whole heart? Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase from PJO and HoO. It took FIVE books for them to really get together. FIVE. It was masterfully done and those are kid’s books. Please try to measure up to books written for fourth graders. That is all I ask of you.

Subjective Hearts: ♥♥ 2/5

Objective Hearts: ♥♥ 2/5

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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