Posts Tagged 'fire'

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  310

RAC Book:  Yes

2011 Iowa High School Award Winner

Mary loses her parents to the “unconsecrated” or zombies who live outside the fences of her village.  Her brother blames her for their deaths and turns her out of their home.  Mary is forced to go live with the nuns who control everything in the village.  Despite her hardships, Mary cannot help but think of life outside the village.  She dreams of seeing the ocean and skyscrapers, but everyone around her focuses on keeping the “unconsecrated” out every minute of every day.  To make matters worse, the boy she loves has asked another to marry him.  Can Mary find a place in this village?  Can she ever learn to be happy?  Or will she have to escape and risk her chances against the zombies?

This zombie story is engaging from the beginning and will keep readers guessing until the end.  The middle lags a bit in places, but readers will want to know what happens to these characters.  The characters and the village setting are written so accurately that anyone can imagine what it would be like to live in constant fear of zombies at your doorstep.  The rules of this life are finite and unforgiving, which is why Mary struggles to find a place here.  Fans of Rot and Ruin will enjoy this one as well.

Invisible by Pete Hautman

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  14 and up

# of Pages:  149 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Award Winner:  Iowa Teen Award 2009-2010

Doug Hanson is the social outcast of the school.  He has trouble interacting with people, he spies on the prettiest girl in school, and he spends all his time building a train set in his basement.  His parents make him go to counseling even though he doesn’t think he needs it.  The most important thing to him in life is his best friend, Andy, who lives next door.  Doug admits that they have gotten into trouble together in the past, but he doesn’t like to think of those times.  Doug sees Andy as everything he is not.  He plays sports, has lots of friends, and even performs in school plays while Doug fails to interact at school at all.  Doug begins to realize that people including his teachers, parents, and therapist are deeply worried about him.  The question is whether they have a right to be.

There is an aspect of this story that is not immediately apparent, but becomes so fairly quickly.  Most readers will be able to pick up on it early on in the book, which may or may not entice them to keep reading.  It is unclear if this plot element is supposed to be apparent to the reader early on or it if it supposed to be a surprise at the end.  Either way, it is a plot development that has been used quite a big in movies and television.  The character development is strong in this book, but some of their motives seem confusing.  For example, if Doug’s parents are so concerned about his behavior why don’t they try to do more to help him before it is too late?  Readers who liked Laurie Halse Anderson’s Twisted will like this title as well.