THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH reads like a masterpiece, not a debut. With a gripping plot and a genre-based subject, you might not expect classy writing, but the beautiful language author Carrie Ryan uses sets this book into a class of itself.
The plot is filled with constant twists and turns, enhanced by the well-drawn-out main character, Mary. The setting, a post-zombie world where the zombies literally rattle the fences around the town, is scary enough, but it's the psychological torture of Mary and the others that are truly terrifying. Being trapped and surrounded by the dead is definitely enough to wig anyone out!
Beyond that, the writing in this novel is excellent. It is by far one of the best written books I read in 2009. The prose is brilliantly written, each word ringing with poetry.
If you need any further convincing, consider this. At a conference, Carrie Ryan mentioned that her method of writing was simple: whenever her characters felt safe or comfortable, she asked, "What is the worst thing that could happen now?" and then made that happen. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.