from the great unknown, otherwise known as liberry skool! summer classes! fall classes! classes classes classes!
and with this in mind, i have decided to post some of my recent book-related thoughts. (this may or may not also be an assignment for my young adult literature class.) i wanted to share in case anyone o anyone out there is looking for something interesting to read. of the young adult persuasion, of course. for the next month or so, i’ll try my best to post some of my responses to some of my favorite (and not-so-favorite) pieces of YA lit.
so here goes. lintzy waxes poetic on some books– and also tries her best to sound smart and long-winded.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan
Trapped in a small village surrounded by a chain-link fence, and, beyond that, a forest inhabited by an infinite number of the cannibalistic undead, teenaged Mary leads a truly terrifying existence. After her mother is bitten by one of these monsters (known as the Unconsecrated), things get even worse, as Mary’s devastated older brother rejects her and sends her to live with the Sisterhood, a powerful and mysterious group of nuns who do not approve of Mary’s curiosity about an outside world that they claim does not exist. During her time in the convent, Mary falls into the arms of childhood friend Travis, and after an outsider appears in town, begins to unravel some of the Sisterhood’s secrets. And when the fences are breached by a horde of ravenous Unconsecrated, Mary and her companions are sent down a path that leads into their den– the Forest of Hands and Teeth.
In The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan paints a vivid and horrifying picture that couples with ghastly description (“Yet I know that she is Unconsecrated. I can tell by the fact that no blood pumps through her body, the soft spot at the top of her head no longer pulsing. By the fact that her skin sags. By her smell.”) with almost unbearable suspense as Mary and her fellow villagers are pursued by an army of the flesh-eating undead. In this world inhabited by monsters, adults provide no comfort and cannot be trusted: Mary’s mother, driven mad by love for her now-Unconsecrated husband, strays too close to the fence and is bitten, thus abandoning Mary and her brother Jed, while the Sisterhood and Guardians wield power over the town with secrets and lies. This isolation from authority is a hallmark of the young adult horror genre, and seems to mirror the isolation that teens may feel in their own lives. Although the plot is compelling, the characterization and relationships that Ryan paints between characters is not. Particularly distressing is the relationship between Mary and Travis, whose love for Mary seems to appear out of nowhere. As Mary belabors whether she should be satisfied with an existence devoted to her love, Travis, or if she should continue her quest to find the outside world and ocean, the story loses the deliciously frightening forward momentum of the first three-quarters of the book. As a result, its ending then seems both anti-climatic and rushed.
p.s. so i have decided not to mention the fact that i was completely delinquent in ever posting my real recap of the boston marathon… whoosadaisy! suffice to say, it was a trip! maybe someday (when i finish liberry skool?) i will be able to sit down and tell you all about it.