Carrie Ryan's The Dead-Tossed Waves is the second in a dystopian young adult trilogy. The following review assumes that you either read the first novel, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, or know the premise (for example, see my review of TFHT).
Gabrielle is a good girl and has no desire to cross the Barrier and leave her town of Vista. Her mother, the lighthouse keeper, walks the beach most nights, but she is not taking in the stars and feeling the sand between her toes. She is cutting off the heads of the Mudo, sometimes called the Returned or the Unconsecrated, who wash up on the shore.
One night, Gabry gives in to peer pressure and climbs the town wall to have some fun among the ruins of the old amusement park. She has never left the protection of Vista before, but Catcher, the cute older brother of her best friend, takes her hand and tells her that he will watch over her. Then the unthinkable happens. A Breaker—a fast-moving Mudo—senses the teens and attacks.
The consequences of that one night spread in ripples until everything that Gabry thought was true has been washed out from under her, and she is forced to face her deepest fears.
Ryan's The Dead-Tossed Waves takes us to a world destroyed by a terrifying virus that creates blood-thirsty zombies. Do not, however, be thrown off by the idea of the undead; this novel focuses on much deeper issues.
With Gabrielle at the hub, the book explores the meanings of family, friendship, and love. The people in Gabry's circle must determine just how far they will go to maintain and protect their various relationships. Sacrifice may be called for, but what kind and how painful?
In addition, The Dead-Tossed Waves, like the first novel, considers what it means to be human:
"Do you remember when I told you there was no difference between us and the Mudo?"Ryan's latest novel is a strong second entry that has risen above the middle-novel slump of many trilogies. Mark your calendar for spring 2011, when The Dark and Hollow Places goes on sale.
"It's because they survive," he says.
"But they don't love. They don't remember." I can feel the hopelessness swallowing me. (p. 375)
The audio edition of The Dead-Tossed Waves (by Listening Library) was read by Tara Sands. Although the audio production is enjoyable, Sands is not as engaging as Vane Millon, the narrator of the first book.
Visit Carrie Ryan's website to learn more about the trilogy.
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Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2010
Challenges: Support Your Library, Buy One and Read, Young Adult, Audiobooks, What's in a Name?, 100+
Source: Review, Borrowed, & Bought (see review policy)
(Note: I received an ARC, bought a hardcover, and borrowed the audio from library.)