Thank you to Jordan Hanley from St. Martin’s Press for contacting me about reviewing this book and taking part in the blog tour. Reading the summary, I thought it sounded fantastic. It’s got this veneer of creepiness that’s right up my alley. Hanna, the child at the center of the tale, reminded me in equal parts of Gage from Pet Semetary and Damien from Omen with something entirely her own that came from the imagination of author Zoje Stage.
Today I’ll be sharing with you not only my thoughts on the novel itself, but also a giveaway for arc copies of the book itself. Please check at the end for the giveaway terms & conditions.
Published: 17 July 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Category: Fiction/Family Life/Horror/Thrillers
Sweetness can be deceptive.
She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.
She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.
Rating: 4 Stars
Caution: some scenes may be particularly intense for some readers
Baby Teeth, being told in alternating perspectives, offers a unique look into this kind of story. I’ve heard of tales before where the motives of a child were questioned, where the sanity of a parent is weakening under the strain of care, but to get both sides of the story at the same time and judge them equally was not something I’d had the chance to read before.
It was tough to read this book at times. Hanna could be sympathetic at times. There were periods when I almost saw my own child in her, such as when she was trying to “sign” please to her mother or when she said something along the lines of how eyes could be just as good as ears if adults would just use them. Then there were the terrifying moments when she was calculating, horrifying even. The worst part was, as the book progressed, you could almost see the somewhat bizarre logic behind Hanna’s choices.
Suzette was also a sympathetic character for two reasons: she has a child who she doesn’t understand and she has her own background that necessitates understanding. She has Crohn’s disease, discovered as a teen, and has to handle the effects of this as well as the consequences of Hanna’s behaviors, not to mention the results of her own tumultuous upbringing (dead father, possibly depressed “?”/manipulative mother).
Watching these two interact, Suzette trying to be the best mother she is able and Hanna essentially waging war against her mother (in an effort to keep Daddy all to herself), was engaging but also frightening. The longer the book went on, the more wanted to know how things ended, but the more I found that things dragged on. The narrative started to lag in the last third of the book, so I think it suffered a bit there. I thought the ending was rather more satisfying than I was expecting and could actually lead to more of the story, if Zoje Stage so chose. That in and of itself is both intriguing and terrifying because of what it means for the characters in the book.
A psychological thriller for sure, this one will eat at you as you’re reading and make you think about the choices you’d make in Suzette and Alex’s position. It may seem black and white, but when is anything ever, especially in parenting?
3 winners will each receive an arc of Baby Teeth by Zoja Stage
Open to US entrants only, 7/1/18-7/15/18
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.