The Sweetie Chronicles

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Book 6: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

I might be cheating a little bit here. I actually picked up Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth last year at the NC Literary Festival where she was speaking. I really enjoyed her and hearing what she had to say, and I was very excited about reading her book. It is one of the only YA zombie books out there that isn't about zombies at prom or zombies in high school, etc. Instead, Ryan's unique idea of setting a book generations after the zombie apocalypse really caught my eye.

Sadly, even though I started it last year, I didn't actually finish it until this weekend. Here's the thing - Carrie Ryan is hopefully someone I'd like to be friends with someday. She writes in the same genre as I do, and she even writes about the same basic subject matter. She loved Christopher Pike books when she was young and so did I! She might have come late to the horror movie/zombie movie genre, but she did get there, and I have always been a huge fan of horror films. I think she's the kind of person I would really get along with. She always seems to be upbeat and happy on Twitter, and I have nothing but nice things to say about her. Except for this - I found the book rather difficult to get through.

It's not that the writing is bad. It's not. It's beautiful. It's very lyrical and almost reads like a kind of poetry. For me, it was just that the heroine is so down all the time. She's had such a rough life, I get that. But other than her constant hope that she'll someday see the ocean, she's pretty much depressed the entire book. Seeing how this book, which just came out in paperback, has now been on the NYT Bestseller list for two weeks, I think this is something that teen readers relate to. Their lives are full of that angst and sorrow and that feeling that they were meant for something more. Ryan really taps into that.

What worries me, though, is how different my zombie book is from hers. I mean, I guess different is a good thing, but then again, will teens be able to relate to my very ensemble cast novel that is maybe more external conflict than internal? I think I need to make sure as I'm writing to really connect to that teen spirit of doubt and confusion, yet always hope that things will be better. Overall, I would definitely recommend Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Her second book in the series, The Dead-Tossed Waves, just came out this month as well. If you read it, let me know what you thought of it. Did it feel fast-paced to you? Or too much angst and saddened tone?


Mandy March 16, 2010 at 7:18 PM  

thanks for recommending this book, I'm going to try to pick it up at the library!

Sarra Cannon

Young Adult Indie Author

I always secretly wanted to be a cheerleader. And a witch. Now, I write about both. The first five novels in my Peachville High Demons Young Adult Paranormal series are available now in ebook!

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Beautiful DemonsThe Time Traveler's WifeLoveroot: PoemsFear of FlyingWe the LivingAnthem

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