The Dark and Hollow Places: The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Book 3



Mature romance and violence during zombie apocalypse.

What parents need to know

Educational value

This series will appeal to fantasy and romance readers, though readers should begin with the first book.

Positive messages

The overwhelming message of Ryan's zombie series is that even in the face of unrelenting misery, death, and despair, individuals can find reasons to live, love, and soldier on each day. The love that the four main characters have -- romantic as two couples or as sisters or friends -- gives them the strength to survive.

Positive role models

Annah is a scrappy fighter who has learned how to survive on her own for more than three years. She's less naive than her twin sister Gabry, because she has seen a lot of ugliness. Annah can be jealous and insecure, but throughout the book discovers the qualities that make her special, and even beautiful, as well. Catcher once again protects his friends and is incredibly devoted and protective of Annah, Gabry, and Elias. Both Elias and Catcher have to collaborate with the Guardians to save the two women.


The body count is ridiculously high because of zombie infections. And there is other violence: Annah is thrown into a death cage with a zombie for the amusement of spectators; a character kills to defend those he loves but in one case may cross the line; an infected woman begs to be put her out of her misery; and more.  A band of elite "guardians" are actually quite ruthless and cold-hearted most of the time, willing to kill indiscriminately if it ensures their survival.


Annah recalls the last night she and Elias spent together, when they touched each other and kissed in bed. Elias and Gabry greet each other with passionate kisses and are often shown displaying affection. They also seem to share a bedroom in their living quarters. In two scenes, Annah strips down to nearly topless so Catcher can inspect whether she's been bitten and how she's so scarred. Throughout the entire book, Annah and Catcher give each other many longing looks and make the other blush. When they inevitably get together, it's a frantic and frenzied make-out session.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is the third installment in a zombie series that again includes a high body count and gruesome death scenes -- as well as a whole lot of gazing, kissing, and touching. Everyone in the books has faced death -- and has had to decide to kill or be killed. The intensity rarely lets up in the story, even in the romantic parts, which are more frequent than you'd imagine in a zombie thriller. The overwhelming message of this book -- and Ryan's entire zombie -- series is that even in the face of unrelenting misery, death, and despair, individuals can find reasons to live, love, and soldier on each day. The book's protagonist is a scrappy fighter; Annah can be jealous and insecure, but throughout the book discovers the qualities that make her special, and even beautiful, as well.

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What's the story?

In THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES, author Carrie Ryan picks up nearly immediately after the end of The Dead-Tossed Waves, but this time the perspective shifts to Annah, the twin sister that Gabry didn't even know she had. Unlike Gabry, who couldn't remember Annah, Elias, or her hometown, Annah grew up pretending Elias was her brother and wondering why after his two-year shift with the elite Guardian forces he never returned to her in the Dark City as he had promised. Everything changes when Annah spots her sister being taken by the Guardians for accompanying what looks like a man infected with a zombie bite (really, the immune Catcher). She is able to escape underground with Catcher and find Elias, but he has disturbing news: To save Gabry, they must offer Catcher to the Guardians to help protect their Sanctuary. And this is just the beginning of the difficult choices they face in order to survive.

Is it any good?


Love triangles and never-ending zombie terror are no surprise in Ryan's books; but while formulaic, Ryan really will make readers sweat over whether the protagonists will survive. The romance may be scripted, but it's as satisfying as the action: Annah, like her identical twin, has feelings for both enigmatic Elias, whom she grew up with, and broken Catcher, who needs to heal as much as she does. Annah is a fascinating protagonist; unlike the previous protagonists, she was brought up without a mother, and hasn't had much guidance or unconditional love. Readers will cheer when Annah ultimately ends up with the right man -- and learns a powerful lesson about the importance of loving herself. In the end, there is enough action and romance to get fans to bite, even if the flavor is fairly familiar.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the overwhelming popularity of fantasy romances. Why do they resonate with teen readers? What do these books have in common?

  • Some critics have said there's too much lust and kissing for a series that's about surviving such an incredible threat as a zombie apocalypse. What do you think? Is the romance believable? What about the male characters?

Book details

Author:Carrie Ryan
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Delacorte Press
Publication date:March 22, 2011
Number of pages:384
Publisher's recommended age(s):14

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Kid, 11 years old May 10, 2013

Super cool

I love all the books, but this is my FAVORITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byHeq073198 May 16, 2012

I got bored

Eh... I read the first two because I heard this one was the best. Not really. I liked the second the best, because Gabry to me is the most admirable character. But with this, I got sick and tired of waiting for Annah and Catcher to get together, and believe me, I HATE WAITING FOR THINGS TO HAPPEN. I HATE WAITING FOR ROMANCES TO COME INTO PLAY. I want things to get going, and quickly. I get bored because without romance, I don't find a book worth reading, but there are some occasions where they are, such as certain horse stories. But the same thing happens during the main duration of waiting time here as in the first two: Zombies kill people, people want each other but nothing happens, yada yada yada. It just didn't spark my interest. Now, everyone else seems to love it, so I don't want to hinder anyone from a great read, but I need constant nonstop progressive activity to keep me reading, and it just wasn't exciting to me.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written byzinna123 October 12, 2011

Amazing! Just be careful of the zombies

I love this book it isnt my favorite of them all (2nd all the way) but it was still amazing, personally there was a lack of action in the book especially compared to the others. I definetely reccomend but just make sure you are okay with zobie this or scary things, my friend loves it but she is scared i on the other hand dont think its scary
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence


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