Mary has always and forever wondered what is past the fence, beyond the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Does the ocean exist, like in her mother's stories from before the Return? Are there really buildings that touch the sky? Or has everything been destroyed in the wake of the Return?
The fence protects the village by holding the Unconsecrated at bay, confining them to the Forest of Hands and Teeth. The Guardians and the Sisters protect the village by maintaining the fence, keeping watch over the Unconsecrated, and ensuring that families survive and new generations are created. Mary feels responsible for protecting her mother, who has not been the same since Mary's father fell to the Unconsecrated. When it comes time for Mary to decide whether to kill her mother or allow her to Return, she gives her the freedom to return to her love and live in the Forest. When the fence is breached and the Unconsecrated are uncontrollable, who will protect Mary?
This is more than a story about zombies; this is a story of the unbelievable strength of one teenage girl's dreams -- her dream of the ocean, of love, and of the future. She grows emotionally and spiritually in the time it takes her to journey from the village to the end of the Forest, and she gains a great love, and suffers more loss than she could have ever imagined. Recommended for readers who like traveling adventures, love stories, or rampant zombies murder scenes. There's nothing too graphic here, but pretty horrific all the same. This is an emotionally powerful story that creeps up on the reader without notice.
Call number: YA RYAN (Teen Room)
Reviewed by kate the librarian
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