I can't help wondering how much my age affects my perspective of “young adult” novels. If I had read this as a teenager, would I have felt differently about the main character and her problems? As an adult reader, I remember the melodrama of Mary's teenage emotions – how her “love” was the be all, end all of her emotional existence, but I have something she lacks – perspective. I want to reach through the pages and say “grow up, honey, the zombies are going to eat you! Who cares about your little petty 'he loves me, he loves me not.'” Except... I got sucked in. I read The Forest of Hands and Teeth, because it kept popping up on my radar, with its mixed reviews and “young adult” classification. I have to admit I had low expectations (I don't read much YA, because of the whole “oh grow up!” issue,) but was more than pleasantly surprised to find a fairly unique setting in this tiny little insular world. It seemed very colonial, except for the zombies, referred to as “Infected” and “Unconsecrated.” The novel had a fairly light touch with the religious aspects, presenting it as a necessary vehicle for control of the characters, very believable. Mary's rebellion had significant consequences too, which reverberated throughout the story.The story does jump around a bit. In a few spots, several weeks passed with one sentence or less acknowledgment of time's passage. This was a little bit jarring, but not enough to pull me out of the story. Character development was largely lacking, except for the main character, but this also didn't really bother me, since the entire story was rather sparsely written, focusing almost entirely on Mary. This rang true to me in the context of the story, where the teenage Mary has the typical teenage self-involvement. The writing style was also very readable; “style” took a back seat to “story,” as it should. I'm not sure I'll read the next book in the series, which has an all-new cast of characters, but I'm glad I finally read this one. In the end, I did care about Mary's emotions, and found that, whether unintentionally or on purpose, the story worked to showcase how, in spite of all the death and fear, some things – like crushes on boys who may or may not “love” you back – never change. And when you're in the thick of it, those concerns will still overshadow everything else, even when you're playing keep-away with the zombies.