From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—Timid, thoughtful Gabry has grown up safely in the city of Vista. She lives in a lighthouse with her mother, Mary, the daring heroine of The Forest of Hands and Teeth
(Delacorte, 2009), whose job it is to kill Mudo—zombies—as they wash ashore. Then one night, Cira, Gabry's best friend, and Catcher, Cira's brother, convince her to sneak outside Vista's walls. With the attack of one Breaker—a fast zombie—everything changes: a friend is killed, Catcher is infected, and Cira is imprisoned and destined for the Recruiters, the army that protects the loose federation of cities left after the Return. Feeling both guilty for having escaped punishment and self-destructive after the revelation that Mary in fact adopted her, Gabry pushes herself to cross the city's Barrier again. Some pieces of the narrative are well constructed: the constant, looming threat of the Mudo, Gabry's quiet determination and daring in the face of fear, and villainous soldier Daniel's palpably frightening power-grabbing sexual advances. Other details are less believable, like Mary's suddenly abandoning her daughter and her duties to seek her past in the Forest. Though flawed, this volume has enough action, romance, and depth of character to satisfy, and the cliff-hanger ending will leave fans hungry for the third book.—Megan Honig, New York Public Library
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The Forest of Hands of and Teeth (2009) spliced classic zombie mythos into a world that was one part postapocalypse and one part colonial America and drove the plot with a healthy surge of teen hormones. This companion piece, which features some returning characters in minor roles, involves another discontented young woman, Gabry. Life within her walled town is shattered when a group of her friends step past the border and are attacked by the Mudo (that’s zombies to you and me). A series of calamities results in a third act much like the one in Forest: Gabry flees through an unknown wilderness with companions including potential new paramour Elias and former crush Catcher, who may be immune to the Mudo’s bite. Though her reliance on sentence fragments is a bit irksome, Ryan knows how to put together an action scene; the final pages are especially thrilling. Savvy readers may scoff at the constant lusting going on amid the carnage, but fans of Forest will be happy to find a familiar flesh-eating formula. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus