The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan

Group Members:
Shannon Hooper
Andrew George
Kory Bell
Suzanne Hamilton

Discussion Location: Library


“In Mary's world there are simple truths.
The Sisterhood always knows best.
The Guardians will protect and serve.
The Unconsecrated will never relent.”


Discussion Topics:


-Is the sisterhood a religious influence or is it some form of a body of government? Are the Guardians manipulated by the sisterhood or are they a body of government within themselves?
-Do you think that Gabrielle was bitten and that is why she was taken into the care of the sisterhood, or do you think that the sisterhood purposely got her bitten so she wouldn't be able to reveal that there was more settlements?
-Why do you think the sisterhood was so strict?
- Why do you think Travis wanted Mary to come pray for him(41)?
-Do you think Mary was a good friend to Cass? Travis to Harry? Which one of them was the worst friend? Which was the best?
-When mary says, "my life will never be my own"(65), how true do you think this statement is?
-Does Mary have a right to complain so much?
-Is Mary selfish or just obsessive about finding the outside world?
-Why couldn't Mary just be happy with Harry(124)?
-Why do you think Mary connects so much with Gabrielle(145)?
-What is the significance of Jacob's Survival and his accompaniment of the others on the path?
-Do you think Mary was very sympathetic to Harry losing his wife(153)?
-Mary makes up the mind for the group, is she being selfish(161)?
-Is Jed the only one who understands the feelings of those around him(165)?
-Why Didn't Mary and Travis grow closer together as they were living in the house among the unconsecrated? Will anything ever be good enough for Mary? Or is the grass always greener somewhere else for Mary?
-What does the title/forest title mean? (Forest of Hands and Teeth)


Jed: Mary's brother, also a guardian
Travis: Mary's love, however he and Cass are together
Harry: Brother of Travis, asks Mary if she wants to get together
Beth: Jed's wife
Argos: Dog, gift from Harry to Mary
-What role does Argos play in the story after Mary's escape from the settlement?
Jacob: Adopted by Cass after an Unconsecrated attack
Cass: Mary's best friend, to be married (to Travis)
Gabrielle: Girl from outside the settlement (turns into an Unconsecrated)
Sister Tabitha: Head of the sisterhood


-Reminiscent of the M. Night Shyamalan film “The Village,”
-Read more

-What do you think the ocean symbolizes
-What might the sisterhood represent? Modern day? Historical?
-Do you thinks that in some ways our society is like the one Mary lives in?

Clarifying Questions:

-Why is Gabrielle so much faster than all the other Unconsecrated?
-What connection did the sisterhood have with Gabrielle?
-What time period is this book set in?
Past Argument: The lives of the people in the settlement seems very primitive (farming, military). There is no system of research or engineering which would hint to a very small settlement of semi-educated folk.
Present Argument: See trailer. Clothing seems to suggest present (plaid shorts).
Future Argument:
-Why didn't Mary tell Sister Tabitha when she had finished reading the scripture?

Style of Writing:

Important Passages:

-"If I could boil my life down to its essence, it would be this: my head in my mother's lap, her hands in my hair as we sit in front of the fire and she tells me stories handed down through the women of our family about life before the Return."

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Movie Trailer:

Other Books in the Series:
What are some predictions you have for the next books?
2nd Book: "Gabry lives a quiet life, secure in her town next to the sea and behind the Barrier. She's content to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. Home is all she's ever known, and all she needs for happiness. But life after the Return is never safe, and there are threats even the Barrier can't hold back. Gabry's mother thought she left her secrets behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, but like the dead in their world, secrets don't stay buried. And now, Gabry's world is crumbling."

3rd Book:
"There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face when she and Elias left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the horde as they found their way to the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters. Annah's world stopped that day and she's been waiting for him to come home ever since. Without him, her life doesn't feel much different from that of the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Then she meets Catcher and everything feels alive again. Except, Catcher has his own secrets—dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah's longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah—can she continue to live in a world drenched in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?"