An instant Keeper for me...in fact I was only halfway through it when I knew this book would rest on my keeper shelf.
In a sea of happy go lucky Young Adult books that have overly mature females and impossibly sappy, predictable love stories, The Forest of Hands and Teeth screams of realism, in a Zombie infected world that is.
Mary, the main character is selfish, moody, impractical and struggles with her emotions, just like a young teen girl. The great thing about her is that she grows something many main characters in teen novels do not do. She regrets many of her decisions and sees how her mistakes and blind sidedness have harm others and ultimately hurt her.
The novel is written from Mary's point of view but you still get a wonderful feel for the other characters. At times you dislike every single one of them and at other points you are rooting for them. Each character is very different so the reader finds someone that they can relate to in one way or another.
I have never read a Zombie book before, in fact when I selected it I didn't even know it had anything to do with Zombie's I was envisioning something more like M. Night Shyamaln's The Village. Ryan takes a bit of a heavy religious direction which I found believable, after all there are a few things humans cling to when devastation touches their lives and religion is one of them. I would not say that this novel is sad, just an accurate depiction of the ruin that such a situation could bring to the lives of those left human.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth is about choices, those made by Mary's family and friends and by herself, and how she deals with the destruction each decision seems to create. It is about dreams, how all encompassing they can be, how destructive and ultimately how they may be the only thing left for us to cling to. It is the quest to find the light at the end of the tunnel and I could not put it down drug through the good times and the bad with Mary, hoping against all odds that there would be a happy ending.
The novel has a satisfying ending for those that do not want to read further...but as for me I am out the door to purchase the next book The Dead-Tossed Waves