Cover Image: The Spirit Bares Its Teeth

The Spirit Bares Its Teeth

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Member Reviews

This is a long overdue review of The Spirit Bares Its Teeth. I read it in June, but I just procrastinated on writing the review online, so the following is based on some notes I wrote after finishing the book.


I apologise in advance if this review is a bit of a mess. I'm having trouble finding the words to describe how much I adored this book and my thoughts are a bit all over the place, so bear with me.

In this story set in Victorian England we follow an autistic trans boy named Silas. His parents attempt to arrange a marriage for him as he is seen as valuable partner due to his violet eyes, which allow him to speak with the dead. After failing to flee from an arranged marriage, Silas is sent to Braxton’s Sanitorium and Finishing School, an institute which aims to 'cure' the veil sickness Silas is diagnosed with. Soon after his arrival Silas finds out that this school has dark secrets and he aims to find the answers with the help of several deceased students.

The characters absolutely the highlight of the book. They felt very realistic and I was able to connect to the characters easily. In fact, I fell absolutely in love with the characters. They all have very well developed personalities and great character development.
I also adored the representation in this novel, as we have many LGBT+ characters in the book. The main character has autism and I was able to relate to his experiences and feelings a lot. I am so grateful to White for writing characters which represent zo many different people, myself included.

The writing style was great, just as in Hell Followed With Us, but I think White improved a lot (which is kind of insane considering how good the writing style of Hell Followed With Us was). It was atmospheric and it was able to convey some quit gore-y and otherwise scary scenes. But there wasn't an overflow of details, it was just the perfect amount.

I also loved Silas's interest in and knowledge of anatomy, because it allowed him to describe his experience as a trans boy and his wished to remove everything from himself that makes society view him as a girl (since I feel like the average Victorian person would not have this knowledge).

I honestly loved this book so much and I feel like it is my favourite book of the year (though we still have a month). Please please please read this book, it's fantastic!
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A unique story about madness, being forced into conformity and bravery. I went into this one completely blind and I’m so glad I did. I have never read anything like this and I’m so glad I did.

Huge thank you to #peachtree and @netgalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review
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Andrew Joseph White has an insane talent of creating the most intense scenarios and making them beautiful. This book was so grotesque and gory but you cannot deny that it is also beautiful. I will recommended this book until I am blue in the face
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Absolutely a five-star read for me; this was dark and gruesome, but not without hope, solidarity, and rage against the injustices of the world. The characters were interesting and complex, the world-building interesting, and Silas' experiences really hit home for me. I don't often read YA (I'm just not the target audience!) but this was a wonderful reminder of everything great it can be. I'll definitely be reading more from the author.
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08/25/2023 || The Spirit Bares Its Teeth by Andrew Joseph White || #TheSpiritBaresItsTeeth #NetGalley

Thank you NetGalley,Andrew Joseph White, Holiday House / Peachtree / Pixel+Ink, Peachtree Teen for making this e-ARC  available!
Please note: This review may not be reproduced or quoted, in whole or in part, without explicit consent from the author and myself.

All of my thoughts are my own~

5 Stars !!!
This book is intense, moving, emotional, raw, and full of so much authenticity!

The book follows autistic, trans Silas Bell, and his harrowing experience at the Braxton’s Finishing School and Sanitorium where he is treated for his diagnosed Veil sickness—a mysterious disease sending violet-eyed women into madness. The story is set in London in the late 1800's where Violet-eyed mediums communicate with spirits and can connect with the Veil under the reign of the Royal Speaker Society. And if you do not conform, are obedient, and perfect? Well you must have the awful Veil sickness and need to be treated immediately.
Please heed all CW/TW myself and others may share about this book, as some content could possibly be heavy for some, but even in the midst of some of the more gripping scenes this book has to offer, they are intertwined with such a intense feeling of solidarity. As if you and Silas are of the same mind and spirit.
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Thank you to Peachtree Teen for the free eARC. This is my honest opinion.

I am reeling from this amazing story. Silas is a fantastic character and the depth of their development has a visceral grip on me. This vaguely historical gothic Victorian horror fantasy reaches deep into the readers heart and makes them feel everything that the characters go through. The representation of trans autism is fascinating.  I could feel the stimming, the thought processes, the lack of social awareness, the clinging to what is known, and the anger about being shoved into too much. 

5 out of 5 stars, this sophomore book has everything that I loved about the first book and more.  Highly recommend for lovers of Hell Followed With Us, Cemetery Boys, The Degenerates, or if you loved Eva Green's character in Penny Dreadful.
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Thank you NetGalley and Peachtree Teen for the e-ARC. 

Andrew Joseph White’s The Spirit Bares It’s Teeth is rich in visceral body horror. Between the dysmorphic, oppressive atmosphere and main character’s familiarity with the anatomical insight into the human body White creates a gothic novel par excellence, even without considering the titular spirits. 

The YA formula seems to result into an ending that feels somewhat disjointed and disappointing, but it does not take away from the general enjoyment derived from it. Still, this appreciation for the genre of gothic body horror (particularly medical) does not appear often in the literature aimed at the younger audience and this alone warrants some praise. 

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The Spirit Bares Its Teeth is a horrific, brilliantly crafted terror. I am not typically a horror person, yet this novel had me hooked, on the edge of my seat, with perpetual goosebumps, until the very end. With this narrative on medical mistreatment of women, trans, and autistic individuals, Andrew Joseph White continues to be the king of queer horror.
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I had to take a month to sit on how I felt about this one. I finished it in one day, It truly kept me up at night. A haunting tale on being trans, neurodivergent and female hysteria. The body horror in this book had me in a chokehold. It was so well written and detailed that like i gagged a few times. I did read and listen along with the audiobook and honestly I LOVED the audiobook, the narrator was phenomenal. I will be thinking about this story for years and years.
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This book is amazing!!!! 
Silas Bell, a trans man in the 1880s London, navigates a life where societal expectations force him to conceal his true identity. Labeled as a coveted wife due to his violet eyes marking his rare ability to connect with the spirit world. Silas's plans to escape to a life where he can live on his own as the man he is, are foiled. He is diagnosed with "Veil Sickness" and sent to the dreaded Braxton's Sanitorium. The horrors he encounters there far surpass his darkest imaginings. With a mystery to unravel and his very essence at stake, Silas embarks on a harrowing journey with a mystery to solve while trying to survive. 

This book is not for everyone. It is gory and disturbing.  This is an author I always suggest checking triggers for! This book has but is not limited to 
- Transphobia
- Ableism
- Sexual assault
- Gore; medical gore; explicit mentions of performing a cesarean section and removing the uterus
- Pregnancy
- Miscarriage
- Violence
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This book was everything, it had a beautiful way of dealing with trans characters who can't be out. It kept me gripped until the very end, constantly thinking about it whenever I wasn't reading it. I loved this book so much, perfect to finish it right before HalloweenANDREW HAS DONE IT AGAIN. THIS MAN CANNOT BE STOPPED. 
This book was everything, it had a beautiful way of dealing with trans characters who can't be out. It kept me gripped until the very end, constantly thinking about it whenever I wasn't reading it. I loved this book so much.
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Uhg this was IMMACULATE. My favorite bit was the personification of intrusive thoughts - that’s brilliant. This was also one of the best representations of autism i’ve read in a book. I just…I loved this book and I’m so happy it exists.

rep: lesbian side character, autistic trans boy MC, trans girl Love Interest

spice: none

tw: sexual assault, institutionalization, murder, torture, grooming, self-given abortion
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Andrew Joseph White does it again!

Hell Followed With Us was one of my top books of 2022, and I had high hopes for The Spirit Bares It’s Teeth, which is why I requested the ARC of this book. I was not disappointed.

AJW had a way of writing that makes me feel like, viscerally and violently ill, and deeply unsettled, and yet I can’t look away or put his books down. The writing is addictive; quick and panicky and frantic one second, luxurious and descriptive in the next, evoking a rich depth of emotion and connection to characters. 

The amount of violence and gore in this novel is extreme, to say the least, but AJW knows how to use it. It never feels shocking for the sake of it, but truly drives home the point over and over. You’re meant to be uncomfortable— you SHOULD be uncomfortable about what's happening to the students at Braxton’s, and you don’t get to look away from the true, sheer horror of it. 

I think queer & trans horror has something special to offer as a genre; for folks who have been subjected to all kinds of horrors, supernatural or not, there is something truly powerful in the reclamation of fear and danger. Of being the “monster” everyone thinks you are, and also being the hero of the story, because the real monster are the institutions and people that seek to break you. 

As a non-autistic reader I also appreciate the work of an #OwnVoices autistic author putting the focus on Sila’s autism in this story, and the way he navigated the interplay of being autistic and being transgender, without having the terminology for either experience. 

If you have the stomach for it, I highly highly recommend this book.
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Andrew Joseph White is an excellent source of gory coming-of-age stories, with interesting characters and fantastical plots. Didn't love this one as much as the first, but definitely worth adding to collections for queer teens.
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I loved this book a lot! I am starting to realize that I love how AJW writes trans rage and body horror. It is so compelling and never feels over the top. He beautifully weaves trans stories into horror that works so well with a lot of trans experiences in the real world. I want to now read everything he puts out!
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I appreciated the gothic hororr in this mixed with medical horror, and the social horror of how women are treated. I also appreciated the neurodiverse representation in this.
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This book was nothing that I expected it to be and it was amazing. I expected the book to be gross, but have like the surgical aspects of gross was very captivating, and our main character of Silas was beautiful and I just love him. I really enjoy how this author creates these worlds, and where people can present their feelings. The way that this author presents the dysphoria is quite captivating. I really enjoyed the Gothic feel of this book. I highly recommend that people read this book and continue to read things by this author, because they are just extremely captivating and bring light to trans identification.
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AJ White does it again...I read HFWU all the way back and gave a glowing review I don't know if I can top, except now I do have to top it because TSBIT is a force of nature. Not only is it an excellent blend between horror and queerness, it is the blueprint of the horrific exploration of queer trauma. Despite being YA, it was grisly and graphic, albeit in a way I greatly appreciated. You pick up a horror book for the awful bits, and you get it all with TSBIT - dark, twisted emotions, the demented reality of homophobia in the era setting for TSBIT, and the physical, deliciously medically accurate gore. One might question if this should be for young adults, but I personally believe AJ White describes gore as an art. It is excessive to serve a greater point, and rarely is it meaningless, senseless gore. It is careful, precise and often symbolic, a masterpiece of literary meaning tied to horrific reality. 

I couldn't recommend this book more. HFWU is for fantasy, dystopian fans, but TSBIT is for pure horror fans, and the loud, riotous triumph HFWU gives a reader is swapped for something more precise, exact, but still quietly triumphant in TSBIT. As much as i enjoyed HFWU, I had to admit there were parts where both plot and setting were messy, but AJ White's craft is sharpened in TSBIT, leading to an efficient plot and a damn near perfect story. Blessed to have read this.
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God I don't know if I have enough words to describe how I feel about this book, but I'm going to try. This book is beautiful and heartbreaking and bloody in its depiction of Silas's story. Thanks to the content warnings, I knew what I was getting into! Despite its graphic description, it felt like that inclusion was integral to understand how Silas views and understands the world. In fact, the way in which AJW portrays Silas aids the ways in which I understand the meat and bones of it all.

I started this book with the intention of taking my time reading it. What actually happened was that I was so engrossed in it that I read it anytime I had a spare moment, and then finished it the same day. That’s how much I loved it.

I love these characters. I love the language. I love the feeling this book leaves you with. Horror at what happened but also comfort and quite a bit of hope for Silas.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC! I’m going to buy a copy for myself.
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I loved Hell Followed With Us and this lived up to my expectations. I love a gothic ghost story, and Andrew Joseph White did a beautiful job of working within that genre. My main complaint about YA is the tendency towards instant love and this book was unfortunately not immune.  Silas and Daphne were very sweet but I like a bit more time to progress. Overall a gratifying read and I look forward to the next!
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