Study Guide

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Introduction

By Carrie Ryan

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The Forest of Hands and Teeth Introduction

When Carrie Ryan's fiancé read her The Zombie Survival Guide as a bedtime story, she just couldn't resist trying her hand at writing some zombie fiction of her own. Before meeting her main man, Ryan had tried her hand at Western historical lit and chick lit, but nothing really came of it for her. She also tried law school and big city life to give herself the edge she thought she needed, but again came up empty handed.

Enter Dawn of the Dead.

Wait—what? No joke.

Somehow, Ryan's fiancé convinced horror-hating Ryan to see a remake of Dawn of the Dead, a move that changed everything for her. After multiple zombie flicks and The Zombie Survival Guide, Ryan was totally hooked on the undead.

So what did she do?

She wrote a book: The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

This novel delivers plenty of flesh-eaters, head chopping, and generally delightful gore, but it also delves into the pain of loss, the excitement of love, and brings something new to the table—a heroine with hope for a better world. It's no surprise then that its publication exploded Carrie Ryan's world. The Forest of Hands and Teeth raked in recognition as a New York Times bestseller, an ALA Best Books for Young Adults selection, and a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book… to name a few. Two sequels and multiple short stories have since poured out of the Ryan brain pipe, and there's a movie version floating around out there somewhere.

The secret to Carrie Ryan's success? To the lure of The Forest of Hands and Teeth?

Well, isn't it obvious?

Love and zombies.

What is The Forest of Hands and Teeth About and Why Should I Care?

Like it or not, zombies are here to stay. Don't believe us? Just head to your local bookstore and take a peek at the Teen section. Heck, even Will Smith and Honest Abe are getting caught up in the zombie storm.


Gore? Excitement? Scare factor? Sure, all these things make the zombie craze fun on the surface, but the behind-the-scenes reason is why we think they're worth at least a taste—zombies remind us what being human is all about.

Sister Tabitha tells Mary that free will is what separates humans from zombies, and we can't help but believe her. As humans, what are we doing with our free will? Mary chooses to love, to hope, and to dream; Cass chooses to protect; Travis chooses to sacrifice… Get the picture?

While zombies bring out the worst of what humanity can become, they also bring out the best parts of us humans.

Add some head chopping and spurting blood to the mix, and you've got one compelling read. Just try it… we dare you.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Resources


Carrie Ryan—The Long Story
Want to find out the juicy details about Carrie's life, complete with purple cows, cheerleading, and zombie bedtime stories? We thought you did. Check out her extended bio.

Questions and Answers
Everything from Carrie's hometown to her agent to her writing process. Take a look.

Eat Carrie Ryan's Brains
Or at least gobble up what they're putting down. This is Carrie's blog, people. Yum.

Protect Yourself!
Grab this book to make sure you're ready for flesh-eating dead people.

Movie or TV Productions

Somewhere, Out There
There's a movie version of this book.

The Movie that Started it All…
Horror, gore, and zombies… Welcome to Dawn of the Dead.

Articles and Interviews

Hollywood Crush
Looks like MTV's got a crush on The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Check out this book review.

Raise the Snoot Factor
The Forest of Hands and Teeth gets a nod in The New Yorker. Now that's classy.

Amazon Chat
Carrie Ryan and Amazon have a heart-to-heart. Read all about it.


Creepy-tastic Book Trailer
This trailer will have you looking for zombies over your shoulder. Shiver. No wonder it was a 2008 Book Video Award finalist.


The Book Show
Wanna hear Carrie Ryan's voice? She chats with The Book Show and reads an excerpt from Forest of Hands and Teeth.


Book Cover-mania
On this webpage, you'll see three different covers for the book. Which is your favorite?

Spooky Author Pic
The rusty old gas station in the back adds a mighty chill factor.

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