This book read very much like a novelization of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village, and the further you get into it the more Village-like it got.
Honestly that’s the best summary for the book- The Village, but with zombies. Lots of zombies. There’s a heavy religious aspect to the story that works really well; it’s just Protestant enough to seem realistic but unique enough to not be overly unsettling (a la The Handmaid’s Tale). The protagonist, Mary, is also much more likable than most first-person female protagonists I’ve come across in young adult novels as of late. I genuinely wanted to see where she was going to end up in this saga.
That being said, once I reached the end of the book, I knew it was the set up for sequels…but I’m not really that interested in reading them. I liked where Mary’s story was, and I didn’t really want to jump into the new characters and new environment in the next books. The new setting for the follow up books is very different, and I wanted to see more from where Mary came from. But I still very much enjoyed the book itself, and I’ll read it again.