A special thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This debut by Zoje Stage will not be for the faint of heart. Baby Teeth is a deeply disturbing psychological thriller told in alternating point of view between Hanna, a silent and disturbed seven-year-old, and Suzanne, her barely coping mother.
Hanna is conniving and precocious and is beyond her years mentally. She is able to play her parents off one another for her own gain as well as at the torment of her mother. When she is around her daddy, who she wants to marry, she is a sweet and silent angel that is eager to please. In the care of her mother, she is evil and violent, and plays on her mother's fear of her.
Suzette loves her daughter, but is exhausted both mentally and physically, and like her marriage, is breaking down. Hanna is home schooled so Suzette rarely gets time away from her. The little girl is becoming more conniving with each passing day—she has turned their family dynamic upside down by making Suzette look crazy and neurotic. Suzette fears that there is something seriously wrong with her daughter and that Hanna is too much of a threat to her at home.
Stage takes the reader down the rabbit hole that is is Hanna's mind. It is a dark and twisty ride, and as mentioned will not appeal to all readers. If a creepy kid story is your bag, you will love it. If stories about demented children are not your thing, I suggest you pass. I have to be honest, this is not something I would have normally picked up, but was intrigued by the cover and synopsis. After reading, I'm on the fence. The story is well-written and captivating, but there was a lot of suspension of disbelief—for a seven-year-old, Hanna is far too advanced and this was distracting from the actual story.
DNF @ 39%.
I wanted to like this book. Really. It’s getting so much hype and sounded like it could be creepy. It isn’t. I found myself bored and annoyed. None of these characters are likable. The mom is a wilted flower, a crying dishrag; the dad is an oblivious fool; the daughter — she who is supposedly so evil — just does strange things that aren’t particularly scary. Just strange kid things, like talking in a strange voice sometimes. Spooky!
This book is a lot of Hanna, the daughter, doing something bad and Suzette, the Mom, saying “Wait until your father hears about this!” but half the time she never tells her husband, and the other half of the time hubby takes the daughter’s side. It feels repetitive and lame. This isn’t the suspenseful thriller it is made out to be.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.
Basically, if hippos had been imported into America in the 1800s as a potential livestock animal, what would it have been like? This is based on an actual proposal that didn't quite take off as well as it does in this alternative history series. The characters are unique and not the usual "straight (implied) white cis-gender protagonist" cast. I found the second book, Taste of Marrow, to have a bit of a plot hole or perhaps I just missed a bit somewhere, but otherwise great series so far. Hoping for more!
From Taste of Marrow:
"Alone and lonely ain't the same thing at all... You of all people should know that. And even if they were the same - you would think that being alone and retired would be no different from feeling alone in your job. But you'd be wrong."
"You kill the first one, and it's not as bad as you thought it would be. You kill the second one, and it's not better, not exactly. But it's more not-so-bad. You kill the third one and you realize that you're good at it... You start to get a reputation, and you realize that people think you're great at it. You start to take real pride in your work. You start to make real damn money... You dream about contracts and you start tasting your own poisons to get a feel for how they land in the gut, and you love it. And then you're doing it because you love it, and you think you've really found your calling. You're so fucking good at this... So you keep on mixing poisons and blasting vault doors open until you could do it in your sleep. And then one day, some kid shows up at your door and says that they've heard you're the best in the business, and you think - am I? ...You realize... that you're only doing the job because you're good at it. That you only love it because you're good at it. You realize that somewhere along the way, you forgot that you're killing people. You don't feel a goddamn ounce of the remorse that your mother's preacher said you'd feel if you ever took another life - you just feel bored... You feel bored by the murders. And you wonder who you are, that you can say that about yourself - that you're bored by the murders."