Cover Image: The Spirit Bares Its Teeth

The Spirit Bares Its Teeth

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Member Reviews

I've been trying to read this for almost a year. The mental images that it keeps giving me are just not worth it and this is definitely not a book I ever want to even think about again.

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Calling all bookworms and magic enthusiasts! If you're in the mood for a whimsical adventure that's equal parts enchanting and meaningful, then "The Spirit Bares Its Teeth" by Andrew Joseph White is the spellbinding read you've been searching for.

Picture this: a cozy library nook, a steaming mug of cocoa, and a tale that transports you to a world where spirits roam and magic reigns supreme. That's the magic of White's storytelling, and let me tell you, it's utterly irresistible. From the moment you crack open the pages of "The Spirit Bares Its Teeth," you're whisked away on a journey filled with wonder and discovery. Follow along as our plucky protagonist, accompanied by a cast of charming characters, embarks on a quest to uncover the secrets of a hidden realm where spirits dwell.

What sets this book apart is not only is amazing storytelling but the ease at which it handles some complex topics. White creates a protagonist struggling to maintain their identity in a world that is out to smother it in the most whimsical way possible. The captivating narrative drags you in from the moment you start the novel and is captivating for any type of reader. There's something truly magical about the way he brings his characters to life, each one brimming with personality and charm.

But it's not just the characters that shine in this tale—it's the world-building too. White's vivid descriptions paint a picture so rich and immersive, you'll feel like you're right there alongside the characters, traversing enchanted forests and unraveling ancient mysteries.

As an English teacher, I can't recommend "The Spirit Bares Its Teeth" enough. Its ability to touch on some of life's most difficult topics in this fictional story is something I want all students to experience.

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this was so good it had me reading while walking down the sidewalk and just hoping I didn't run into anyone. it was visceral, and infuriating, and hopeful, and full of rage in a way that I now equate with andrew joseph white's writing. I can't wait to read his third book.

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Really good and meaningful book for me as a t4t trans boy. I just though that it was really really dark. Definitely 5 stars, but I don't think I'll revisit it any time soon.

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Once again Andrew amazes me with the way violence is used to elevate the story telling and feels natural as opposed to being for shock value

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Horrifying, fascinating, and full of weaving twists that kept catching me off guard in the best way possible! I really enjoyed the narrative of this story, and how the main character was the narrator. Once again, Andrew makes a marginalized group so interesting while carving into the dark reality of the struggles that they face, even in fiction. I can not stop recommending this book!

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As always I’m so thrilled that books like this: dark, beguiling and infinitely strange are being published!

This story takes you on a wild and at times, heartbreaking journey, with the distinct body gore & compelling characters that we’ve come to associate with Andrew Joseph White!

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read an early version of this book in exchange for a honest review!

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I really, really loved this book. I felt seen and a profound peace while reading it. But beware, because there are extremely painful and gory scenes within it. The peace I felt was because someone put into words things I was feeling already, things that sometimes I don’t know how to express. So despite de C-section without anesthesia and despite all the violence and gaslighting, I enjoyed it with a calm smile.
I’d recommend to everybody to check the content warnings and proceed with caution. However, if you are a trans person with a lot of feelings about what is expected of your body, check it out. Maybe you’ll find peace too.

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I loved this and I’m waiting for a sequel. Because I need revenge for every single person in this book. Sucker punch/hands maid Tail fan fic and I loved it

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I'm so glad I finally got around to reading this as it was FANTASTIC and so much more up my lane than Hell Followed With Us. Definitely excited to read more from Andrew Joseph White.

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The Spirit Bares Its Teeth will appear to fans of Wilder Girls and The Mad Women's Ball. The protagonist, 16-year-old Silas, is relateable and kind, showcasing how important it is to be yourself. The tone is just right for a YA audience, and the horror elements are age-appropriate. It's refreshing to see so many queer characters given the space to have personalities outside of common, one-dimensional tropes. I will defitinelly be reading more from this author.

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I am a big fan of horror and this one definitely scared me. It was a true horror and I loved it! I think teens will definitely find appeal in this especially those who enjoy gory and scary. The representation in this was fantastic as well and it played an important part in this as well.

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Content Warning: transphobia, deadnaming, body horror, pregnancy, self-mutilation

Jesus Christ, Andrew Joseph White does it again with another disgusting beautiful young adult horror, The Spirit Bares Its Teeth. I was disgusted, amazed, and shocked at the many horrors, that of the paranormal and human action kinds, that this book contained. Just like his debut, White was able to craft a world with nausea-inducing body horror and expert worldbuilding.

Young trans man Silas, a medium with violet eyes, can interact and see into the Veil, where ghosts and other entities roam. He is to be wed and become a Seeker’s wife, but that is the complete opposite of what he wants. And in an attempt to become a Seeker himself at the public Seeker ceremony, he is caught in his disguise and sent to Braxton’s Finishing School and Sanitorium when his family thinks he is sick with the Veil sickness. There, he discovers there are many more horrors than he could’ve planned for.

There are so many good characters in this book (even the bad ones are well-developed and believable), but none are as important as our Silas and his love interest Daphne. Two trans people!! I love these two so much. Silas as a character has gone through so much before his time at Braxton’s, and seeing him overcome everything that was thrown at him at Braxton’s and finally be who he wants to be in the end made my heart swell (after I calmed my stomach due to the gut-wrenching horror). And oh, Daphne. I was pleasantly surprised by her reveal and her introduction as a bigger part to the story at hand and an aid to Silas’s development. She was an amazing character and her and Silas’s ending made me so incredibly happy.

Recommended for any horror or paranormal historical fiction fans!

Thank you Peachtree Teen and NetGalley for the eARC!

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I had three separate friends recommend this book to me and they were correct that I’d love it. One of the protagonists of the play I wrote for my senior thesis is a transmasculine, neurodivergent medical student in 1850s Massachusetts and the play overall touches on some similar themes around body, agency, and the historic use of pseudo-science as a tool for oppression- though without the supernatural twist. I share Andrew Joseph White’s inclination towards gory metaphor to put to words the horror of existing as a trans and neurodivergent person in a hostile world and seeing those thoughts, feelings, and fears reflected back in a book like this still is so rare and special.
White also excels at writing YA with cross-age appeal; he writes a young protagonist dealing with concerns particular to growing up with a thoughtful and well-crafted narrative voice that respects a younger reader and is welcoming to an older one.
White is also not afraid to write complex characters. The women hospitalized alongside Silas are not one dimensional, they are not even all ‘good’ people, but this is used to add depth to the story and the world rather than to demonize them. One character in particular does some reprehensible things but is never reduced to one-dimensional evil pick-me; the pressure and environment that led her to choosing to act how she does is more important than one individual’s actions and that was so refreshing (and much more interesting!) to read.
The romance wasn’t too heavy, which made sense given the plot, but what was included was so very sweet and fit nicely into the story’s themes of the power of our perception of each other. The horror elements were visceral and the imagery around eyes and rabbits in particular were especially haunting.
Some little things:
Clothing details! I love clothing, I love 19th century fashion in particular and it’s surprisingly rare for authors to get it right- fashion changed decade by decade back then too and yep, this is bustle central.
This is a time period and subject matter I know A LOT about and it’s very easy for me to get annoyed by inaccuracies around it (I recognize that this is often unreasonable, but it’s still true). I didn’t get annoyed with this book! The fantasy element built so beautifully upon the historical ones, allowing for some suspension of disbelief, and there was clear thought and intent behind the world-building.
Anyway, loved this book. It’s already on the part of my bookshelf reserved for favorites. Reading it coincided with getting good news about my own piece of trans-centered medical historical fiction, so it also feels like a good luck charm. Nothing but love for the Spirit Bares Its Teeth.

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"The Spirit Bares Its Teeth" was a book that is so widely beloved and so so hyped that going into this I felt a tentative fear I wouldn't get it. That this would be one of those books I just didn't vibe with and I'd have to cower in the metaphorical booksta corner.

But, you'll be glad to know this wasn't the case at all. I'm someone that says away from horror books and books that'll inevitably cause me irrevocable pain but SOMEHOW AJW keeps making me fall in love with books!! I'm in love with the way this author writes, the clinical narrative - not clinical as in boring but clinical as in it dissects every part of the world and boils it down to the muscles and bones. And - makes the whole story feel raw, like an open wound you don't really know how to close up.

It's a really heavy book and yet, so addictive to read. It holds So Much: a unique magic system mixed with spirit work and a historical London, a metaphor for anxiety and self doubt (a rabbit caged in your chest), a t4t relationship, finding a source of hope that makes you almost feral.

AJW is now, obviously, an auto-buy author for me, I love autism rep done well, I love trans rep, I love funky weird main characters - and so every book is a perfect concoction of my very favorite things.

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I absolutely loved this book. Hell Followed With Us was a standout read for me, but The Spirit Bares Its Teeth goes above and beyond it. White has created such compelling characters and such a gruesome, yet somehow beautiful story that had me hooked the entire time. Horror fans will love it for its nauseating (in the best way possible!) plot and those who are looking for connection and hope on the page will somehow simultaneously be satisfied. I highly recommend this one!

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me free access to the advanced digital copy of this book.

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4.5 This beautifully written gothic tale about a trans character in the 1800s who is sent to a girls finishing school and asylum for being different. We follow Silas as he struggles to be himself in an alternate 1800s England. Silas is discovered and sent to a finishing school for girls where they try to fix those who are different or as they call it veil sickness. Silas trying to survive befriends others at the school as well. When students start going missing Silas starts hearing some of the finishing schools secrets from some unexpected places.

This book was beautifully written I will say if medical gore bothers you , you may want to stay away . I loved the descriptions in this book they were so unique and actually had me cringing at a few points. The story was also really well done it was entertaining and had many conflicts we still see in modern times. I really enjoyed Silas story but a few of the characters at the finishing school I wish I knew more about but otherwise really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this author soon. I would like to thank NetGalley and the publishers for a chance to read this book for an honest review.

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This book is a wild, intense ride. I was nervous as I adore Hell Followed With Us so much that I wasn't sure how the author would manage to follow it - but he did. This is a really emotionally intense book, following two trans characters and so much medical horror that it made me want to curl up and scream. I really will read anything that Andrew Joseph White writes, and already can't wait for his next book. The characterisations are perfect, and give the book so much depth and emotion, I was fully committed to the characters and my heart was in my throat often.

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4.5 Stars

Andrew Joseph White has done it again. Another horror book that blew my mind. While The Spirit Bares Its Teeth is a bit more action-packed than White's previous book "Hell Followed With Us", I enjoyed it all the same.

Andrew Joseph White seems to have found his niche in writing Trans characters fighting transphobia their own way and escaping their brutal circumstances in gruesome but self-led ways. I loved Silas and his determination to take his life into his own hands. The way White wrote about Silas facing prejudice surrounding his autism but also gave Silas bits of self-acceptance and an eventually accepting community was quite beautiful. I loved the fact that things like Silas' stimming, special interests and stimulation issues were not only mentioned to be berated during scenes including ableism and physical or emotional abuse. Another thing I found particularly interesting about the way White wrote Silas was the voice of the Rabbit that tormented Silas. The Rabbit seems to be a personification of his negative and/or intrusive thoughts.

The other characters in this book were very well-written and played off Silas well. The Veil and the magic included in this book intrigued me quite a bit. The magic system was well thought out. Andrew Joseph White stated he took creative liberties with the historical elements but these elements were very well researched.

Finally, I loved the connections that Silas made in this book. Both friendships and romantic connections. Silas found a community while suffering at Braxton's Sanitorium and Finishing School. Silas himself expressed both joy and frustration at these connections, stating that he was glad to find people like him, whether other Trans People or other Autistic People but hated the fact these connections were found at such an awful place. While I loved the relationship between Silas and Daphne and do understand the constraints of working around things like chaperones and courting and also the fact that Silas was at a boarding school, I do wish there was more development in their romance.

Trigger Warnings:

Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Transphobia, Misgendering, Dead-Naming, Conversion Therapy, Ablesim, Sexual Assault, Death, Mysogyny, Graphic Violence, Medical Gore and Experimentation, Cesarean Section, Gaslighting

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