Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Release Day Review: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pub. Date: July 17th, 2018
Pages: 320

Genres: Contemporary Fiction / Suspense / Family Drama


Sweetness can be deceptive.

Meet Hanna.

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.

Meet Suzette.

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.


What Did I Think About the Story?

Baby Teeth is quite a unique work of fiction. I don't think I've ever come across a character like Hannah before. The reader knows from the beginning that there's something kind of off about her, but it takes turning page after page to discover just how sinister this little girl really is. And while I can't say that this was as 'thrilling" as I was expecting I can say that it took me on an interesting ride that went places I never would have thought possible given that one of our main characters is a small child.

The story alternates between Hannah and Suzette's points of view and I can easily say that Hannah's were the most interesting. Her portions are terrifying for their simplistic and honest insanity...she simply wants her mother to go away and leave her and her daddy alone and will do anything to make that happen. It comes across as almost a game to her and she doesn't see any problem with harming someone else to get what she wants (which isn't only her mother by the way...there is a particularly horrid incident at a school that results in an injured mentally handicapped child). Her mind is just so twisted and the author did an excellent job of getting into that mind and voicing the inner monologue in an age-appropriate way.

I unfortunately didn't find Suzette's voice nearly as interesting. At first it was intriguing watching her battle between her maternal instincts and hopes for her relationship with her daughter and the little monster she actually had, but after a while this back and forth dilemma grew a little tiresome. I kept wondering why Suzette didn't set up a hidden camera to catch her daughter in action, or, when she would growl or pretend she was possessed by the spirit of a dead witch (the only time she talked, by the way), why Suzette didn't record her daughter to prove to her husband that she wasn't making her daughter's bad behavior up. I won't even go into how annoying I found the husband as he wish-washed his way through his interactions with both his wife and his daughter. It's pretty bad that things had to progress to the level they did before he believed that his daughter was, in fact, a psychopath.

Towards the end the action really picks up and I was excitedly waiting to see how everything would resolve itself....to come to the end of what felt more like a cliffhanger than any real ending. I really hope there is a sequel because, if not, the ending left me really disappointed.   

All in all, Baby Teeth is, as I said in the beginning, really unique. I love when an author comes up with something different, something that makes me remember why I like reading. Hannah is definitely a character to remember, I just wish her mother and father were as dynamic as she was. I will definitely pick up the sequel if it comes out because I need to know what surprises Hannah might have in store next!

What Did I Think About the Cover?

I think it's subtle but great! The advanced copy I received actually had the lollipop intact on the cover and, once you turned the cover over, you saw the image of the shattered candy. I love this as it perfectly represents something that looks so innocent, but that can be shattered into a million pieces - as is occurring with this family.

My Rating: 3.5/5.0

I received an ARC (advanced readers copy) of Baby Teeth from St. Martin's Press. All opinions are mine alone. To find more information about the book, including other reviews and links to where you can purchase a copy, see Goodreads HERE.

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