Book Title:
Baby Teeth
Book Author:
Zoje Stage
Page Count:
320
Publishing Date:
July 17th, 2018
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Date Read:
August 2nd, 2018
Source:
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review - Thank you!

Synopsis

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.

My Review

Wow.  This book.  Just…wow.

I’m not going to lie – writing a review for this book is going to be a bit difficult, because my feelings on it are a bit conflicted.  I really enjoyed Baby Teeth, because I absolutely adore psychological thrillers that truly just creep me out, so that’s not the problem here.  The problem with writing this review, I think, is trying to organize my thoughts in a way that will definitely convince you to go out and get yourself a copy of this because it’s so amazing.

“Words, ever unreliable, were no one’s friend.”

Seven year old Hanna does not speak – not to her mother, her father, or the doctors who are trying to figure out why she doesn’t.  Of course, there’s nothing physically wrong with Hanna – she just believes that words are of no use to her, and she doesn’t wish to communicate that way.

“Hanna kept her words to herself because they gave her power.  Inside her, they retained their purity.”

Hanna loves her father – she loves attention from him and would do anything to make him happy and loving her forever – including trying to get rid of her mother – his wife – Suzette.

Suzette is a woman who has dealt with a lot in her life – suffering from Crohn’s Disease since she was younger, she feels it each and every day.  Now a stay at home mom to her daughter, she tries her hardest to make Hanna happy and make sure she’s okay, including driving her to doctor appointments and therapists to try and figure out what could be wrong.

Suzette knows that Hanna’s favorite person is her father, and that she will never come close, and while it hurts her to know this, she becomes increasingly aware that Hanna acts oddly, especially toward Suzette.

“Hanna had creative ways to amuse herself, and most of them were intolerable.”

When Hanna speaks her first words to Suzette one day, she claims to be a French witch, Marie-Anne Dufosset, and she is not hesitant to make Suzette not only uncomfortable, but terrified.  Hanna, of course, denies speaking and scaring Suzette, which only makes the entire situation more and more frightening.

As time goes on, Hanna begins to do more things that feel almost threatening to Suzette, making her feel completely uncomfortable around her own child.  While Hanna’s father starts off not believing what is going on, he slowly comes around and starts to wonder if maybe Suzette is right.

“‘Sunday is Valborg – Walpurgis.  And we’ll have our own backyard fire.  Sometimes, when people want things to go away, they toss their worries into the fire.’
Could they toss Mommy into the fire?”

When a backyard celebration goes terribly wrong, both Suzette and her husband have to wonder what is really going on with their young daughter, and why she is acting the way she is.  They are faced with a difficult situation – is their little girl just a sweet girl who craves her father’s affection, or is she a dangerous child intent on getting rid of her mother completely?

I love how Baby Teeth goes between the viewpoints of both Suzette and Hanna.  It’s truly interesting to see how they both think and act, especially Hanna, because she’s downright creepy.  Because the author wrote the book focusing on both of them in alternating chapters, we really get inside the heads of both of them – we can see why Hanna is doing the terrible things she’s doing, and we can almost feel the fear that Suzette is feeling as she deals with everything her child is saying and doing.  I think that makes this psychological thriller a true masterpiece.

The inclusion of Hanna taking on the personality of an executed French witch from many years ago and having her around as a friend adds an extra layer of creepiness to the story.

Suzette is dealing with a lot in this book, and adding on the child who is trying to get rid of her seems to almost push her to her breaking point, and I feel that the author did a wonderful job of really fleshing out her character and making me feel like I was inside her head – almost like I was Suzette.  That, in my opinion, is the sign of a fantastic storyteller; when I feel like I’m actually in the story, it’s definitely well written.

When I sat down to read Baby Teeth, I wasn’t expecting to finish it in the same sitting, but I did.  I couldn’t put it down, I loved it so much.  I was completely taken in by this seemingly perfect family and their issues with their daughter, who, as it turns out, wants nothing more but to get rid of her mother forever so she can have her father all to herself.  Creepy?  Yes.  Thrilling?  Yes.  Almost on the verge of a horror story?  Yes, and I loved every word in this book.

4.5 stars
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One Response to Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

  1. Leah says:

    I am morbidly fascinated by this book. The idea is creepy bur I’m anxiously waiting for my library hold on this to arrive. Great review!

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