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Monday, February 7, 2011

The forest of hands and teeth by Carrie Ryan

I was curious about this book after reading the inner jacket and surmising this was a story about zombies as opposed to the usual vampire fare.   Although zombies feature prominently in this story, a number of  interesting ideas  are explored in depth in this book.  One idea examined is how governing bodies can shape our lives with their rules, regulations, expectations and how sometimes even when this is done to promote citizen safety, those regulations can become so invasive that they shape citizen life on every level.  The themes of hope, rebellion and the role of memories are also explored throughout the story.

The main protagonist, Mary is an older teen forced by life's circumstances (the death of both her parents) to follow the prescribed roles her culture assigns, but she does so unwillingly and begins to questions all aspects of her life and the expectations thrust upon her.  Mary's questioning and curiosity of those expectations isn't without cost to herself and in some instances to those she loves.  Despite immense losses Mary's curiosity and hope remains a core part of her personality, though she does come to question the purpose of  hope .
       " I remember Travis pulling me against him and telling me about hope.  His voice in my mind is soft, just out of reach like a spent echo.  I wonder if these memories are worth holding on to.  Are worth the burden.  I wonder what purpose they serve."

The story  moves along at a pace that would probably keep even reluctant readers fairly engaged.  The ending of the story was not my favorite part of the book because it ends rather abruptly-- however the ending is handled in such a way that a sequel seems a definite possibility.   This book is one I'd recommend  to students who want a change of pace from the usual vampire fare.

My rating:
Zombies...gotta love 'em