The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan Book Review

Friday, August 17, 2012 9:31 PM
Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth 
Author: Carrie Ryan
Published: March 10, 2009
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Series: The Forest of Hands and Teeth #1
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal, Dystopian
Pages: 308
Source: Library
Rating: 1 star
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

“I want to sleep, I want dreams to pull me from this world and make me forget. To stop the memories from swirling around me. To put an end to this ache that consumes me.” 
― Carrie RyanThe Forest of Hands and Teeth

In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. 

But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. 

When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death? (Goodreads)

My Thoughts 
I wasn't a big fan of The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I hate writing negative reviews, but I have to be honest. This book is what would happen if one girl decided she just had to go to the beach for vacation, despite the fact that zombies are everywhere and everyone might die. 

I couldn't stand Mary. She's the type of girl in scary movies that makes you want to yell at the screen he's right behind you because she's just so stupid. Instead of running for her life when zombies attack, she just stands there and takes the time to think about life. Or Travis. She thinks about Travis so much. You're not going to get with Travis if you're dead or a zombie, Mary. So move! Or she would reach out to the zombies like she wanted a handshake. I had no sympathy for her. She makes the stupidest decisions with the dumbest logic, and puts everybody at risk. Plus, nothing is ever good enough for her. She just has to get to the beach. They're safe, but she needs to see that flipping ocean! 

I also can't stand the whole she loves him but he loves her but she loves the other guy thing going on in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. It was too A Midsummer Night's Dream. I love A Midsummer Night's Dream, but that was a comedy. The romance in this book wasn't for comedic effect, and it just didn't work at all. It made absolutely no sense. There was no reason why Travis wasn't Mary's betrothed from the beginning, but everyone said it had to be that way. Mary had to be engaged to Harry from the start despite the fact that she loved Travis. Yet her best friend Cass, Travis's betrothed, doesn't even love Travis. She loves Harry! See! Isn't that confusing? There was really no explanation why everybody had to be heartbroken. The Sisterhood just wanted everyone to be miserable, apparently? 

I felt absolutely no connection to any of the characters in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Some of them were just mean. Like Mary's brother, Jed, and I found it difficult to like him later on in the book. Travis kept saying Oh, Mary. Oh, Mary. Harry was oblivious, but he was adorable, and I don't know why Mary found him to be such a repulsive choice as husband. As stated before, Mary made stupid decisions and she still went after Travis despite his engagement to her best friend. Not cool! Cass never stopped whining or crying, making the whole situation worse. Plus, Cass was a horrible best friend. She was engaged to Travis, and I'm pretty sure she knew Mary loved him. Still, not an excuse for Mary to go after him. Here's the lesson learned from this: don't ever let a guy ruin your friendship! Not that they seemed to be that close after all. 

The Forest of Hands and Teeth was a little slow as well. I did like the name of the forest: The Forest of Hands and Teeth, obviously. Very creepy. And the premise had potential, but there were just so many questions left unanswered about their history, the Return, and the power of the Sisterhood and the Guardians. Plus, I wasn't satisfied with the ending at all.

I apologize for all the negativity, but The Forest of Hands and Teeth just wasn't my type of book at all. So, I won't be reading the next one. 

Happy reading,



  1. Aww I'm sorry you didn't like this one. I actually really enjoyed this one and The Dead-Tossed Waves, but I haven't read the third one yet. The book was very slow, but it didn't really bother me too much. I thought the love square was off the charts and so confusing. I kept getting the brothers mixed up. I liked Mary. The character I didn't like was her friend, Cass, I just didn't like her at the end she kept getting on my nerves.

    1. Yeah, I don't know why it rubbed me the wrong way, Sarah. But I'm glad you liked it! It's hard for me to like a book when I don't like the narrator, I guess. I also found Cass annoying. She got on my nerves a lot. I heard The Dead-Tossed Waves is about Mary's daughter, and maybe I'd like that one more. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. It is such a relief that I'm not the only one who felt this way about the book!! I was so disappointed and frustrated with this book, for all the reasons that you said. I love zombies, and I love romance, but for some reason the whole soap opera love quadrangle really rubbed me the wrong way (I mean, yellooo, zombies, that's kind of more important that your love life, Mary! Jeez). And the ending was terrible. Not sure I want to start the next one, but I really am curious if it's any better because of a change in narrators.

    1. I know exactly what you're talking about. The love quadrangle was so frustrating! But I'm also curious if the sequel's better now that Mary's not narrating. Maybe we'll like her daughter more?

  3. Somehow I managed to love this book despite agreeing completely with your criticisms. I guess I just get blinded by the zombies...haha :). I really liked the bleak tone and hopeless quality, but I hated the two that follow this.

    1. I'm sorry to hear you didn't like the next two books. I've already decided that I probably won't read them. It's a shame I didn't like this book because I loved the premise and the title. But I'm happy you loved it Becky!


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