Baby Teeth

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

Very creepy read. The interesting characters and my curiosity about what was coming next made this book a quick read. I was a little disappointed in the ending but would recommend to anyone looking for a page-turner! 3.5 Stars
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I loved this book!!!! I didn't pick it up for a while because I was worried it would just blend in with all of the other domestic thrillers, but there was something about this one that stands out!
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Hanna is the creepy mute seven-year-old daughter of Suzette.  Hanna hates her Mommy and wants to kill her.  Suzette loves her daughter, but has severe self-esteem issues because of a bad childhood with her own mother.  She wanted to be the mother she never had, but the distance her daughter places between them leaves her with feelings of failure.  

The early chapters had me regretting even picking up the book because it's so unrealistic.  Like Room, this book struggled from an adult trying (and failing) to write from the REALISTIC standpoint of a child.  I understand how intelligent Hanna is, but most of the time her thoughts were grown-up thoughts.  The portrait of Suzette's marriage was disappointing.  She could have taken pictures or videos to prove Hanna's behavior.  Or, at least told her husband early on.  Of course it's nice to look good for your spouse, but the fact that Suzette felt like her appearance would make or break her husband's love was terrible.  Good sex does not a marriage make.  COMMUNICATE.
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Gritty, suspenseful and compelling. I think the character development and the writing were on point. I definitely need to read more from this author.
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Wowza this book is going to stay with me for a while. I couldn’t believe how the characters behaved in the story. The book is very well written and I like the way it goes back and forth with different points of view. If you love a good thriller then this book is for you!
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Wow, this book has honestly left me speechless. In the vein of We Need To Talk About Kevin, Baby Teeth is incredibly thoughtful, horrifying, anxiety-driven, heartbreaking, and realistic to the point of feeling what the characters feel. A story like this could go cheesy quickly, yet it never takes that path. Zoje Stage is a beautiful writer and I can't wait to see what else she comes up with. 

Thank you Netgalley for my fav book of the year so far! (In return for an honest review.)
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While I liked this book I think it could have been much better. I found myself not even liking any of these characters. A mother who most definitely did not have a bond with her child. A child so crazy jealous at a young age. It just didn't sit well for me.
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This book was one of those that you wanted to be good but it just never quite got there.  I wanted to like it.  It took me forever to finish it.  I think I read like 6 other books while simultaneously reading this one.  I wanted to like these characters but I just couldn't.  I have no idea in the end why the child acts the way she does.  I have no idea why the mother is the way she was. I mean, we all have things in our past that have shaped who we are as people and even as parents but not to the point of this woman.  Why did she ever have a child when clearly she didn't really want one?  She didn't want to share her husband with her child and she certainly didn't want to give up any of her own time or life. Don't get me started on the ending.,  This just ended so abruptly that I kept wondering if there was something missing in the ARC I had.  I wouldn't recommend this book unless you had a bunch of time to waste and couldn't find anything else, ANYTHING else to read.
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“Baby teeth” contains not one, but two alternating POVs that paint a  devastating picture of a terrible mother-daughter relationship. I mean, most of us  have mommy and daddy issues, but this is some next-level shirt!
Hanna is the seemingly sweet, smart, precocious daughter of Alex from  Sweden and his wife Suzette. Hanna loves Alex so much that she wants to marry  him one day (she’s seven, so marrying her dad is… sweet? Nope, still creepy AF).  Too bad that stupid Mommy is in the way.
Meanwhile, Suzette was raised by an absentee mother whose neglect  bordered on abuse. Which makes Suzette all the more eager to be the perfect  mother and to raise a perfect daughter. She gives up her career to raise her  daughter, she’s pouring all her love and energy into Hanna - and Hanna can’t  even talk.
Obviously, as things unfold, we see that the relationship is fraught by more  problems from both sides, and it wouldn’t be out of place to use the phrase, Well  that escalated quickly.
I was debating whether to write a spoiler-free review - but even discussing the  book’s many achievements can be considered a spoiler. So let me just say that I  loved “Baby teeth” and this is one of those rare occasions where I would love to  get a sequel! The writing of debut author Zoje Stage is engaging and intriguing.  She’s dealing with a very sensitive subject and she doesn’t shy away from  exploring it, but she’s also not making it too over-the-top. This is the story that  seems completely realistic.
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No psychological suspense or thrills.

An unredeemable horror story about a Jewish mother with a goyishe kop who uses f--k as an adjective when speaking to her seven-year-old bad seed (who uses that word in her own head a few times and acts it out once — calling to mind Regan MacNeil), and an oblivious husband. It's set in my neighborhood; but for how wrong it gets it, it might as well be the The Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

The writing is flat, overladen with obscenities. Only the shock value (the medical gore; the dog who ate the woman's face) is effective. Repulsive.

It took bookish me WEEKS to want to pick up another read after slogging through this downer that had received critics' advance praise. #oncebittentwiceshy

Thanks, though, to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for the Read Now opportunity.
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Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage has been compared to two books I really enjoyed reading - Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. To me, the comparison does not hold true. This book lacks the intensity or the depth of characters that those books had. Those books left me with a lot to think about; this one just does not. Sadly, I was not the reader for this book.

Read my complete review at 

Reviewed for NetGalley
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This was creepy and unsettling all in a good way if you like psychological thrillers. It hooks you from the start, which I like and keeps you turning those pages! It is also one of those books that you don't forget easily.
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Creeptastically wonderful!  Right off the bat, I can't wait for more books by this author! A purely un-put-down-able thriller.  The mother and daughter characters were well developed and believable which I need in a horror/thriller. I could empathize with the mother and the was fascinated by the genius 7-year-old.  I won't give anything away but would highly recommend it especially with its shocking conclusion of a story.  Well done!
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I finished this book last night and am still not sure what rating I should give it. This was not a book that I liked the story, but I couldn't stop reading it. I wanted to find out what was going to happen, so that means it should be rated higher. This is supposed to be a thriller, but I did not find it a thriller, I found it a horrific family drama. This is the story of Hannah and her parents. It is told from the viewpoints of seven year old Hannah and her stay-at-home mother, Suzette.

Hannah is a beautiful young girl who refuses to speak. She will growl, grunt and scream, but will not form words. When Dad is home, she is smiley and delightful. When he’s at work, she does her best to make her mom’s life a living hell. Hannah is home schooled because no school will keep her. She snarls and growls at the students and teachers, hurts other children and has even started fires. Suzette has her own problems. She has Crohn's Disease and has symptoms, surgeries and a lot of anxiety and emotional baggage. She is worried that it is her fault that Hannah is the way she is and that guilt is not helping anyone. When Hannah begins to act even more strangely, as well as trying to hurt her mother, something needs to be done.

This is not a fun read. It’s hard to imagine a child who hates her mother so much. Children normally love their parents no matter what so this is hard to wrap your head around. The fact that we don't know why Hannah feels the way she does makes it even more powerful. It reminds me a bit of the horror movies I watched when I was younger. I found the book to be well written, but it is a tense and disturbing read. My biggest complaint is the ending. It seems that there might be a sequel to this one based upon the ending and I am not a big fan of being left hanging. If you’re in the mood for a thrilling, yet creepy family drama, then this is the book for you.
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was a gripping thriller that took you to every aspect of trying to figure out what was really going on  and what was going to happen next! This was such an amazing book and I can’t wait to see what else is released from this author!
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Baby Teeth was a rough ride for me. I typically would not have finished a title I was having this much trouble with, but I stuck through it. I feel there was a TON of extra scenes that just reinforced already known characteristics and without these repetitions, this book could have been a faster read and more succinct. It was scary and weird, and it had unreliability at every turn, which I loved. Overall I'm not sure how I feel about it.
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Talk about some birth control after reading this on my honeymoon! I compare this one to We Need to Talk About Kevin due to the atmosphere and overall sense of dread. Boy did Hanna freak me out! Stage does an amazing job of not being over the top but just scary enough!
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I have mixed feelings about Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage.  On the one hand, the story is similar to other things I have read. On the other, the author does a nice job of showing a plethora of issues faced by parents:  self-doubt, tantrums, differences in parenting styles/opinions, and feelings of failure when your child is different that other children.  While I had a hard time believing the extreme denial of the father, I really enjoyed the alternating perspectives between the mother and the child.  The daughter's inner monologue give the reader a clear understanding of why she's doing what she does.  Overall, I think that Zoje brings something new to an old idea and provides a page-turning novel.
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You’ve never met a kid as twisted as Hanna Jensen. Maybe you think you have. Books (and films) like William March’s The Bad Seed don’t really compare, and I may even prefer to hang out with Damien from The Omen.

From the outside, the Jensens (pronounced Yensen) are a beautiful family: Suzette, Alex, and of course, seven-year-old Hanna. Alex is an architect specializing in green materials, and Suzette is an interior designer turned stay at home mom. They live in a gorgeous and sterile home that Alex designed—one that hides a dark secret: Hanna. You’d think school would be a reprieve for Suzette, but Hanna has been kicked out of several, so Suzette is forced to homeschool her. To make matters worse, Hanna is nonverbal and likes to make things as hard as possible for her mother. It’s not that she can’t talk, it’s that she just prefers not to. Also, it annoys Suzette, which is a bonus for Hanna. Hanna delights in torturing her mother and just about everyone else, except for her beloved Daddy. Here’s an example of a night with a babysitter, who annoyed Hanna when she asked her mother—after hearing she didn’t talk—if she was potty-trained:

She sprang up and jumped over the back of the couch, racing to get upstairs.

“Changing into your pj’s?” Abha asked.

Hanna nodded, grinning, so excited to execute her plan.

She was already half out of her dress before she got to her room. She threw it on the floor.

A minute later, she stood in the threshold of her bathroom, panties at her feet, and started wailing. For good measure she let out a shriek or two, in case Abha couldn’t hear her over the television.

The startled babysitter bumbled up the stairs, and Hanna made sure to keep crying, even though she wanted to laugh, as Abha took in the problem: the puddle of pee and pile of poop she’d left on the floor.

“Oh no, did you have an accident?”

Hanna nodded, still crying.

Hanna is utterly delighted with herself and ends the night by getting a hold of Abha’s hair, pulling it as hard as possible, and barking at her like a dog. Charming, isn’t she?

Meanwhile, Suzette—who suffers from Crohn’s disease and, after multiple surgeries, must deal with a special diet, among other things—must also deal with the horror that is Hanna while Alex works the day away and comes home to a little girl that jumps into his arms and smiles and coos at him adoringly. Alex has a blind spot when it comes to Hanna, but author Zoje Stage doesn’t go completely Gothic: Alex actually believes his wife when she tells him the things Hanna does, but Suzette desperately wishes Hanna would slip up and show her father some of the horrid behavior that she shows everyone else.

Suzette hopes she can get a school to take her, but Hanna is an expert at either putting school officials off immediately or getting herself kicked out. And now, she’s starting to do things at home that are downright dangerous. It doesn’t help that Alex is reluctant to believe that his daughter might have issues that need more help than a normal school can give.

Hanna was asked to leave Green Hill after five weeks. Suzette and Alex sat before a small panel of teachers and administrators and were informed that Hanna just wasn’t emotionally ready for kindergarten. Her “inability to interact” proved to be “more troubling than anticipated.” Alex, especially, grew offended as the meeting deteriorated and the teachers’ polite facades fell away. He’d never seen Hanna “snarl aggressively” and couldn’t believe their accusations that she “hid toys just so the other children couldn’t use them” and “broke things to be spiteful.” They feared that eventually Hanna would hurt another student—“We suspect her of setting the cafeteria trash bin on fire”—at which point Alex demanded a refund for the remaining tuition and stormed out.

The story is told in alternating third-person narratives between Hanna and Suzette. Suzette’s passages show us a woman who has vowed to be everything her mother was not. Due to fraught childhood involving a mother who was distant and seemingly uncaring—and a horrifying struggle with Crohn’s that certainly didn’t help—Suzette tries her best to be a caring mother to her only daughter. But, as every parent knows, it’s not always that simple. Hanna is a monster, and at times, Suzette even blames herself for not being a good enough mother. In stark contrast, Hanna’s passages are disarmingly upbeat as she plots and plans against her mother and cooks up more diabolical and increasingly dangerous ways to terrorize her.

When Hanna—who is quite adept at using the internet—decides she’s going to start claiming she’s a girl named Marie-Anne Dufosset who lived in the 17th century and was burned at the stake as a witch, she actually starts to talk. But she only does so in front of Suzette—and only to say creepy things. Suzette has just about had enough.

Stage does a fantastic job of steadily increasing the tension to a fever pitch, and Suzette is completely self-aware of her situation. She knows that their lives are the perfect setup for a horror movie. She even mentions to a doctor that she’s afraid no one will believe her and that Hanna will eventually drive her insane. Readers won’t have trouble believing in that possibility. This super creepy kid and her tormented mom will keep you up way past your bedtime.
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This a toughy to rate. On the one hand, Hanna is creepy and you feel worried for her mother. On the other hand, however, it's a slice of their life. The conclusion doesn't feel cohesive enough.
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