A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
In this dystopian and nightmarish world, at least one teen finds reasons to struggle for survival. Survival is such a struggle that normal rules and ethics tend to fall away; readers will have to judge whether some secrets are worth keeping.
Positive Role Models
Gabry stands up to a lot of peer pressure; her mother Mary is perhaps the strongest character in the book in terms of sacrifice, conviction, and idealism. Catcher also shows exemplary qualities of love and devotion as he tries to protect his sister and then Gabry.
Violence & Scariness
Children in the town of Vista are taught to carry weapons and kill zombies at an early age. Gruesome, graphic depictions of zombies attacking and being killed take place on almost every page. A cult that ritualistically sacrifices their children to the zombies and then leads the zombies around on chains are protected by the government. The main character kills as necessary with little to no emotion.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Gabry falls in love for the first time and has her first kiss, then falls for the second time and has her next kiss with another all in less than a week.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know this fast paced zombie horror story has lots of graphic blood and gore, teen romance (lots of first kisses), and the emotional
extremes common in survival situations. Right from the beginning the blood and gore is ramped up, and it doesn't stop, making this a book for older, mature teens. The intensity of the horror is higher in this sequel than in The Forest of Hands and Teeth as children are sacrificed to the Mudo in a bizarre cult ritual, teens are locked up and banished for endangerment, and Gabry kills both zombies and humans without qualms in her race for survival.
Is It Any Good?
Horror fans, especially those enjoying the current zombie phase, will love the torrential danger and fear. And there is even more teen romance than the
first volume for recovering Twilighters. The family history that Gabry's mother slowly reveals explains some of the mystery set up in The Forest of Hands and Teeth, but this story also reveals a bigger world: both bigger dangers and bigger opportunies. Gabry embodies the determination of a teen who is not about to give up on life or love, even as she sometimes wonders about the futility of fighting to survive in such a bleak existence.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.