Mary’s entire world is a tiny village surrounded by tall fences. Outside the fences is the Forest of Hands and Teeth, filled with the Unconsecrated. Zombies. Anyone they bite becomes one of them, and fear of the Unconsecrated has ruled the world since the Return. As far as the villagers know, they are the last living people in the world. The rules of their tiny society are strict, and above all, they are ruled by the Sisters, a religious order that controls every aspect of life, and hides what could be vital knowledge from the people. Their society is about order and commitment and rules, but Mary dreams of more. She dreams of the wider world, and of love, which comes second to duty and commitment in the village (if it is to be considered at all). She dreams of seeing the ocean, just like the picture her mother used to show her, a place without the Unconsecrated that reaches as far as the eye can see. 

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a beautifully written book. From page one, I was simultaneously marveling at the gorgeous, eloquent words, wanting to slow down and savor them, and holding my breath, racing to find out what would happen, in the end, to Mary, the strong, determined heroine. My one complaint with this book is that Mary is so real, so believably conflicted and wonderful, that the other characters were eclipsed and felt largely like paper dolls characterized only by their interactions with Mary; however, this is an acceptable consequence of the consuming first-person narration. 

It is dark and captivating and ultimately hopeful (and devastating). It’s about a lot more than zombies; to me, this felt first and foremost like a survival story, but it wasn’t just about the actual survival of the characters, but also the survival of Mary’s soul. The events that set off the story have Mary deeply questioning her faith and her world and her dreams, and the struggle to hold on to her dreams is as evident and important as the struggle not to be lost to the Unconsecrated. This is very much a complex, multilayered story, and honestly, I think I’d need to read it at least once more (slowly) in order to fully soak it all in. 

There is a romance here, too, but as two corners of this love triangle are secondary characters, they are not entirely real, and while Mary’s perspective on the romance was interesting, I didn’t feel like this book really was much of a romance. The cover blurbs that say it is are a bit misleading.

The ending was open, and I hope there’s more to come. Whatever Carrie Ryan next writes will be wonderful, as the lyrical writing style that makes her debut shine would make even the most trite story into lovely reading. I still need to reread this book at some point in the future to take it all in, but I’ll say right now that it’s amazing. Also, I am going to have nightmares about the Unconsecrated. 

Five out of six windows:

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I don’t know where this came from originally, but I stole it from Chelsea

The following list of books teens love, books teens should read, and books adults who serve teens should know about was compiled IN ABSOLUTELY NO SCIENTIFIC MANNER and should be taken with a very large grain of salt.

Instructions:
Put an “X” next to the books you’ve read
Put a “+” next to the books you LOVE
Put a “#” next to the books you plan on reading
Tally your “X”s at the bottom
Share with your friends!

I’m skipping the “books I plan on reading” because that’s most of the ones I haven’t read. I plan on reading a lot, but my plans are not exactly set in stone so they aren’t worth much until they actually happen. I also skipped the books I LOVE because, well, that was a lot of them, too, too many to make the plus sign particularly meaningful.

1. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy / Douglas Adams
2. Kit’s Wilderness / David Almond
3. Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian / Sherman Alexie 
4. Speak / Laurie Halse Anderson X
5. Feed / M.T. Anderson
6. Flowers in the Attic / V.C. Andrews
7. 13 Reasons Why / Jay Asher X
8. Am I Blue? / Marion Dane Bauer (editor)
9. Audrey Wait! / Robin Benway X
10. Weetzie Bat / Francesca Lia Block X
11. Tangerine / Edward Bloor X
12. Forever / Judy Blume
13. What I Saw and How I Lied / Judy Blundell
14. Tyrell / Coe Booth
15. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants / Ann Brashares X
16. A Great and Terrible Beauty / Libba Bray X
17. The Princess Diaries / Meg Cabot X
18. The Stranger / Albert Camus
19. Ender’s Game / Orson Scott Card X
20. Postcards from No Man’s Land / Aidan Chambers
21. Perks of Being a Wallflower / Stephen Chbosky
22. And Then There Were None / Agatha Christie
23. Gingerbread / Rachel Cohn X
24. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist / Rachel Cohn and David Levithan X
25. Artemis Fowl (series) / Eoin Colfer X
26. The Hunger Games / Suzanne Collins X
27. The Midwife’s Apprentice / Karen Cushman
28. The Truth About Forever / Sarah Dessen 
29. Little Brother / Cory Doctorow
30. A Northern Light / Jennifer Donnelly 
31. Tears of a Tiger / Sharon Draper
32. The House of the Scorpion / Nancy Farmer X
33. Breathing Underwater / Alex Flinn
34. Stardust / Neil Gaiman X
35. Annie on My Mind / Nancy Garden
36. What Happened to Cass McBride / Gail Giles
37. Fat Kid Rules the World / K.L. Going
38. Lord of the Flies / William Golding X
39. Looking for Alaska / John Green X
40. Bronx Masquerade / Nikki Grimes X
41. Out of the Dust / Karen Hesse X
42. Hoot / Carl Hiaasen X
43. The Outsiders / S.E. Hinton 
44. Crank / Ellen Hopkins
45 The First Part Last / Angela Johnson
46. Blood and Chocolate / Annette Curtis Klause
47. Arrow’s Flight / Mercedes Lackey
48. Hattie Big Sky / Kirby Larson
49. To Kill a Mockingbird / Harper Lee X
50. Boy Meets Boy / David Levithan
51. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks / E. Lockhart X
52. The Giver / Lois Lowry X
53. Number the Stars / Lois Lowry X
54. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie / David Lubar
55. Inexcusable / Chris Lynch
56. The Earth, My Butt and Other Big, Round Things / Carolyn Mackler 
57. Dragonsong / Anne McCaffrey
58. White Darkness / Geraldine McCaughrean 
59. Sold / Patricia McCormick
60. Jellicoe Road / Melina Marchetta X
61. Wicked Lovely / Melissa Marr X
62. Twilight / Stephenie Meyer X
63. Dairy Queen / Catherine Murdock X
64. Fallen Angels / Walter Dean Myers
65. Monster / Walter Dean Myers
66. Step From Heaven / An Na
67. Mama Day / Gloria Naylor
68. The Keys to the Kingdom (series) / Garth Nix
69. Sabriel / Garth Nix
70. Airborn / Kenneth Oppel
71. Eragon / Christopher Paolini 
72. Hatchet / Gary Paulsen X
73. Life As We Knew It / Susan Beth Pfeffer X
74. The Golden Compass / Phillip PullmanX
75. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging / Louise Rennison X
76. The Lightning Thief / Rick Riordan X
77. Always Running: La Vida Loca / Luis Rodriguez
78. how i live now / Meg Rosoff X
79. Harry Potter (series) / J.K. Rowling X
80. Holes / Louis Sachar X
81. Catcher in the Rye / J. D. Salinger X
82. Push / Sapphire
83. Persepolis / Marjane Satrapi
84. Unwind / Neil Shusterman 
85. Coldest Winter Ever / Sister Souljah
86. Stargirl / Jerry Spinelli X
87. Chanda’s Secrets / Allan Stratton
88. Tale of One Bad Rat / Brian Talbot
89. Rats Saw God / Rob Thomas
90. Lord of the Rings / J.R.R. Tolkien X
91. Stuck in Neutral / Terry Trueman
92. Gossip Girl / Cecily Von Ziegesar 
93. Uglies / Scott Westerfeld X
94. Every Time a Rainbow Dies / Rita Williams-Garcia
95. Pedro and Me / Judd Winick
96. Hard Love / Ellen Wittlinger
97. American Born Chinese / Gene Luen Yang
98. Elsewhere / Gabrielle Zevin X
99. I am the Messenger / Markus Zusak
100. The Book Thief / Markus Zusak

That’s forty-one books. Hmm. Less than half.  However, I am familiar with most of them (for example, even though I have never read Gossip Girl, I can tell you it is a book series about overly wealthy Upper East Side teenagers), and plan on reading most of those (not including Gossip Girl). I still feel unaccomplished, though. Feel free to make your own list, and link to it–I’d love to see it. 

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Alyssa and Karin were kind enough to nominate me for the Your Blog Is Fabulous Award. Thanks, guys!

The rules: List five things you are obsessed with/addicted to and then nominate five other fabulous blogs to pass on this award on to!

My obsessions, in no particular order….

1. Books. Duh! I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention books. I don’t really need to elaborate here, I don’t think, since this entire blog is an elaboration of my book obsession. I also tend to be obsessed with specific types of books–lately, the Animorphs. Although now that I’ve reread them all I have to move on. Sigh.

2. Television. I watch way too much TV! Some shows I love include Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Angel, Boy Meets World, Fringe, Pushing Daisies, Heroes, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill…Okay, I’m stopping now.

3. The internet. Again, not a lot of elaboration necessary. I blog. I read blogs (not just book-related). I check my email. I check websites. I talk to friends. I do all kind of things and before I know it, the day is half gone and I’ve spent it all online. 

4. Diet Pepsi. I drink way too much of the stuff. It’s so tasty. Diet Coke will suffice if I’m someplace without Pepsi products. 

5. Music. When my TV’s not on, I’m not sitting here in silence. I’m listening to music! I like all kinds of things. Some recent favorites? Donora and the RENT movie soundtrack. 

And the five blogs I’ll nominate…I know for a fact that some of these people have already been nominated, but apparently I’m too lazy (and sick) to search through my blogroll and find the people who haven’t been nominated (though if you haven’t been nominated and you want this award, feel free to consider yourself nominated because all my readers are of course fabulous), also do not feel obligated to post this, but I’m nominating ten cent notes, Reviewer X, Miss Erin, Persnickety Snark, and Wondrous Reads. You’re all fabulous. 

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The Question: 

We’ve all seen the lists, we’ve all thought, “I should really read that someday,” but for all of us, there are still books on “The List” that we haven’t actually gotten around to reading. Even though we know they’re fabulous. Even though we know that we’ll like them. Or that we’ll learn from them. Or just that they’re supposed to be worthy. We just … haven’t gotten around to them yet.

What’s the best book that YOU haven’t read yet?

The Answer:

I definitely know what this means. There are so many books like this, books I just have never gotten around to. Mostly, they’re books by authors I know I like and I just haven’t yet gotten around to them, but still have every intention of reading them eventually.  Just a few are Keeping The Moon by Sarah Dessen, Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn, Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot, Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, and Marly’s Ghost by David Levithan. 

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Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog

06.23.2009 from Delacorte Books for Young Readers

(Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill from Breaking The Spine)

Morgan Sparks has always known that she and her boyfriend, Cam, are made for each other. But when Cam’s cousin Pip comes to stay with the family, Cam seems depressed. Finally Cam confesses to Morgan what’s going on: Cam is a fairy. The night he was born, fairies came down and switched him with a healthy human boy. Nobody expected Cam to live, and nobody expected his biological brother, heir to the fairy throne, to die. But both things happened, and now the fairies want Cam back to take his rightful place as Fairy King.

Even as Cam physically changes, becoming more miserable each day, he and Morgan pledge to fool the fairies and stay together forever. But by the time Cam has to decide once and for all what to do, Morgan’s no longer sure what’s best for everyone, or whether her and Cam’s love can weather an uncertain future. 

Doesn’t that sound fabulous? Unique, too; usually fairy books involve someone falling in love with a fairy, not someone being in love with a fairy. This sounds like an interesting place to start a romance. Also, isn’t the girl usually the one who mysteriously finds out she’s a fairy? It’s a unique twist on something I already love, plus the cover is fantastic, so I really, really can’t wait to read this one!

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There are lots of contests around the internet right now. If I’ve missed one, feel free to comment and tell me. This is what I’ve got right now, though. You could win:

And check out the comments for more!

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I’m posting a reading round-up of the month over at Facebook. This includes a list of all sixty-one books read in February, as well as some general thoughts and some more numbers (such as average reading time per book). You should be able to view it here. Let me know if the link doesn’t work, though.

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