"The Dark and Hollow Places," by Carrie Ryan, Random House, $17.99, 374 pages (f)

Zombie apocalypse. Sisters falling in love with each other's former flames. New York City destroyed and surrounded by carriers of a lethal disease.

It sounds like a disaster, but young adult author Carrie Ryan masterfully uses these elements to tell a tale of suspense, love, and redemption in her newest novel "The Dark and Hollow Places."

It is a phenomenal story about what it takes to survive in a destroyed and hostile environment. Original and bewitching, "The Dark and Hollow Places" is a follow-up novel to "The Forest of Hands and Teeth" and "The Dead Tossed Waves." Although it is not necessary to read the first two books, readers will find they want to read any Ryan book they can get their hands on.

Annah is trying to survive in the Dark City where zombies infest the streets below her. She struggles with a variety of emotions on a daily basis. She feels guilt at leaving her twin sister alone in the woods as a child and a surmounting insecurity because of the scars that cover her body. She is lonely because her companion, Elias, left three years earlier to join the fight against the zombies.

Deciding to move on with her life, Annah leaves the Dark City. It is then she meets Catcher, a young man who helps her out of several dangerous situations. Eventually Catcher reunites Annah with her sister and Elias. Together the four must learn to survive in a dangerous city surrounded by the undead and a corrupt police force.

"The Dark and Hollow Places" seems like it could be a flop but, surprisingly, Ryan takes a unique topic and turns it into an emotional book readers will not want to put down.

Perhaps the most appealing part of the book is the love story. Any "Twilight" fan will swoon over the masculine appeal of Catcher. Nonetheless, the book does not exclude the male audience — it is packed with packed and full of surprises.

Due to the intensive story line, there is sexual and violent imagery that is lightly used in certain scenes in the book.

If you go ...

What: Carrie Ryan booksigning

When: March 29, 7 p.m.

Where: Salt Lake City Public Library, 210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com

ALSO:

When: March 30, 7 p.m.

Where: Barnes & Noble, 7157 Plaza Center Drive, West Jordan

Shelby Scoffield is a graduate of Brigham Young University and a graduate student at California State University, Stanislaus.