Monday, December 27, 2010

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Book Jacket

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.

One night beyond the Barrier...

One boy Gabry's known forever and one veiled in mystery...

One reckless moment, and half of Gabry's generation is dead, the other half imprisoned.

Gabry knows only one thing: if she is to have any hope of a future, she must face the forest of her mother's past.


The Dead-Tossed Waves is a companion novel to Ryan's first book, The Forest of Hands and Teeth (review here).  Although the plot is reminiscent of Forest, the personality of the protagonist breathes new life into the (ah! zombie breach! escape!) storyline.  Whereas Mary was single-minded in her hope for a better life and wouldn't let anyone or anything stop her, Gabry is content to stay where she is, too scared to dream of anywhere bigger than her home.

The best part of this story is Gabry's growing self-awareness.  She thinks she can never be as brave as her mother.  Yet while she worries and pities herself, she risks infection to visit a friend outside the Barrier.  She is far braver than she realizes, and it is a joy to watch her discover the inner strength she always had. 

Between the first and second books, the world has grown.  Whereas we wondered along with Mary whether there were any other survivors or any safe place left in the world, now we know.  I found that the existance of other cities and societies added both hope and hopelessness to the weight of the story.  There is a world to see and explore, but everyone is fighting the same battle (zombies as a metaphor for death = awesome).

The romance in this book is once more heartbreaking, realistic, and mostly skipping the melodrama (which is how I like it).  I particularly loved the character of Elias, who always hides one more secret than he tells.  I thought I knew where Ryan was taking his character, and I was prepared to be very upset.  But then she pulled yet another twist, and everything fell together perfectly.

This book is gorgeous.  If I ever have to survive a zombie apocolypse, I can only hope to face such disaster with the courage and hope of Gabry and Mary.  If only March 22, 2011 (and therefore, Ryan's third book, The Dark and Hollow Places) would come quicker!

Five out of five stars.

Release Date:  March 2010
Reading Level:  Grade 9+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection:  YPL RYA

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