From the very first page, Andrew Joseph White had me hooked. The Spirit Bares Its Teeth beautifully blends a paranormal story into 1883 London where violet-eyed mediums can commune with spirits, but can also cause women to suffer from Veil sickness - a mystery disease that sends them into madness or “hysteria”.
Our main character Silas, a young trans man, is diagnosed with Veil sickness and sent to Braxton’s Sanitorium and Finishing School and the story unravels further when he discovers some women sent to Braxton’s have disappeared. Silas teams up with some equally amazing characters to help expose what is really going on at Braxton’s.
The Spirit Bares Its Teeth is perfect for those that love spooky historical fantasies, have a curiosity for old medical practices especially concerning hysteria, and can handle gore.
Thank you Peachtree Teen and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
For people that like the spooky scary creepy stuff, this is perfect. I love gore and scares so I thoroughly enjoyed this. My cinnamon roll coworker did not. This is perfect for this spooky season.
Thank you so much to the publisher and netgalley for providing this arc for me!! This is the best book I've read this year, it has genuinely changed me as a person I think. I'm so excited to see what else this author has to offer after publishing two of my favorite books to ever exist, will be buying the paperback when it releases :)
I honestly didn't think I'd like this as much as I thought I would. I have deep love with Victorian London setting and dark London at that so this book is already off to a good start for me when I saw that it was set in London, 1883.
This reminds me of what a mashup of House in the Cerulean Sea and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children vibes, although, the character arcs of the MC is entirely unique making it a deeply engaging story!
Love the vibes, love the characters and love this plot
This book riled me up, I hate when people are treated as lesser and don't have the resources to fight back. If I could jump into the book and kick George right where it hurts, I'd do it in a second. That's really the point of the story though, how terribly any marginalized group has been treated historically and that it's not okay. I appreciated the different representation in this and rooted for these characters to get away from the horrible oppressors.
The ghost aspect of this was interesting and I would have loved to see even more of the veil. I thought the pacing was good and kept things moving and the friendships that formed among the teens at the sanitorium were great.
This is a great sophomore book for White and I hope to see more coming soon!
I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All opinions are my own. Thank you to Peachtree Teen and NetGalley for the copy.
This book was everything I needed right now, which is probably strange considering the subject matter? It was stressful in all the right ways and frankly, the spirit may bare its teeth but I devoured this book, and I kept thinking about it when I wasn't physically able to read it.
This is Victorian gothic queer/trans horror with all the worries about body horror when it comes to a body designated female at birth, this is British Imperialism upon said bodies, and this is a T4T (trans-for-trans) love story. Loved the attention to detail in all things medical, even the gross things, and loved the care put into the autistic MC and the very intrinsic self-reflections on what it is to be male despite what the body is called by parents and doctors.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Holiday House/Peachtree /Pixel+Ink, Peachtree Teen for the eARC in exchange for this honest review!
Most unique picture of autism I’ve ever read. That paired with the insanely gross body horror… sure made it memorable!
I'm not a big fan of horror, but when all was said and done, I absolutely enjoyed this book! It's super atmospheric, heart wrenching, gory (did someone said medical procedures graphic descriptions?) and it gripped me so much that I read half of it in one sitting. The characters were interesting and varied and the plot was very well developed, the setting and the struggles of the main character are easy to understand . The tension just kept mounting until all hell broke lose (literally). I def recommend this one.
holy shit holy shit holy shit.
thank you for writing this.
thank you for releasing this.
thank you thank you thank you.
this is hands down my favorite read of the year.
i already want to read it again.
i could cry just from how seen and understood i feel.
god, what a catharsis.
this is for the autistic kids, the trans kids, the kids who have suffered at the hands of people in power—who are tired of being told they are wrong or are living wrong.
Thank you to Colored Pages Book Tours and Peach Tree Teen for the copy of this book.
Silas is absolutely determined to leave his family before his parents send him away to be a wife and mother. Born with the violet eyes that mark him as being able to speak to the dead and assigned female at birth, the only future available to Silas is as a Speaker's wife, hopefully giving birth to boys with his same violet eyes. While trying to escape the societal prison in front of him, Silas is sent to an asylum for "girls" with "Veil Sickness." Can he escape before he is killed or worse? Can he and his new betrothed work together to shut down this "hospital" for good?
Oh my goodness I loved this so much. I knew I would because Hell Followed With Us is one of my all time favorite books. I absolutely adored the T4T romance between Silas and Daphne! What a tiny bit of hope amongst all the terrible things happening in this book.
Silas is such a strong person and I am amazed at what he was able to do in the situation he was in. There is really good discussion about what it is like for him as both a trans and autistic person in a world that refuses to acknowledge either.
This book is incredibly dark, so please check the trigger warnings before reading. Within it, there are small bits of joy and revenge that was incredibly satisfying.
I love AJ White's ability to tell these incredibly nuanced and complicated stories so well. The characters, writing, and plot of this book were all equally amazing. I absolutely loved it.
CW: transphobia, ableism, blood, body horror, pregnancy/abortion, detailed medical discussions, kidnapping, murder, torture, death
After reading Whites debut book I really looked forward to reading "The Spirit Bares Its Teeth" and wow, I wasn't disappointed!
Andrew Joseph White is amazing in writing horror, espacially but not only in writing the horror that comes with being trans and not accepted. In this book he even chose to make the main character autistic, not only the love interest and so much felt real and what I know about autism.
Where do I even start? I loved so much about this book! From the first page I felt a connection to Silas and his struggles. I loved how he wanted so much for himself and even felt it possible to fake his way into a position where he could become a doctor and pursue his dreams. The insertions of medical procedures and his perception of the human body made Silas an intriguing character.
And then, and then Silas even met people that mirrored his traits. He meets other people that give him hope because they are like him, give him the feeling of not being alone and it's such a powerful novel about friendship, trust (in yourself and others) and pursuing your dreams even if everything feels hopeless.
As I struggled a little bit with the composition of Whites debut novel because the pacing and the position of getting informations was sometimes not perfectly constructed I can only recommend "The Spirit Bares Its Teeth" because Andrew Joseph Whites writing made a incredible jump forward. Now I am looking even more toward future releases!
Thanks to netgalley for this copy!!
I was the biggest fan of HFWU also by White, and this story crushed me in the best way. Sad, tragic, sickening, and all in the nicest prose I have ever read. I think for a second novel, TSBIT carries on strong, stands on its own, and holds its own importance. Definitely heed the trigger warnings with this one, but please read if you can. Five stars, and cannot wait for his next one.
Andrew Joseph White is such a hidden gem and I desperately need more people to read his books so I can talk to them about them!!
Just like the author's debut, this book was raw and violent and honest and I just love how the author's voice shines through in his writing. Of course, be aware that with this book (and the author's debut), there are a multitude of trigger warnings, not only for the horror elements but also for deadnaming, misgendering, transphobia, ableism and sexual assault.
I really loved the use of a Victorian era backdrop to this story; it of course added to the gothic atmosphere, with the beginning of modern medicine alluding to the medical horror that will occur within this book (including a graphic, non-medicated, at-home C-section). Despite the gore, which is something I always have to brace myself for with this author's writing because there is no holding back, there are so many emotions that you go through with these characters; rage, despair and love, and it is just so heartwrenching. I wanted to gather the characters up and give them all a massive hug and protect them from this world, and I love it when an author can make me care about their characters like that.
Andrew Joseph White is absolutely an auto-buy/auto-read author for me; although I have to get past the body horror, I just love the writing and the emotions you go through with these books and I can't wait to see what comes next for this author!
Andrew Joseph White can do no wrong and I will be purchasing every book that they write.
This was a visceral read. Although I loved the main characters in Hell Followed With Us, in Spirit Bares its Teeth the main character seemed even more fleshed out. The writing style has clearly matured making this a darker read which honestly I wasn’t sure was possible.
I hope for many many more AJW books because they are just getting better.
This book was horrifying, amazing, uncomfortable, well-written and just well thought out.
Will I ever read it again? Probably not. Will I read more by the author? Unsure. But that's just because the author isn't afraid to go into the gory detail. This book isn't sanitised and I do appreciate that.
This book has a well designed world with such an interesting MC. Could the romance be described as a bit insta-love? I think so but in this awful world, I'll take what I can get!
Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the arc in exchange for an honest review.
First of all I want to thank netgalley for providing me with this graphic novel.
London, 1883. The Veil between the living and the dead has thinned. Violet-eyed mediums commune with spirits under the watchful eye of the Royal Speaker Society, and sixteen-year-old trans, autistic Silas Bell would rather rip out his violet eyes than become an obedient Speaker wife.
After a failed attempt to escape an arranged marriage, Silas is diagnosed with Veil sickness—a mysterious disease sending violet-eyed women into madness—and shipped away to Braxton's Finishing School and Sanitorium. When the ghosts of missing students start begging Silas for help, he decides to reach into Braxton's innards and expose his guts to the world—so long as the school doesn't break him first.
The story presents us with a trans boy who must hide who he really is in order to survive. As the story progresses we encounter various horrors, from the mutilation of bodies to fit in, deaths, sexual abuse among others, the story itself. It is quite strong, as the protagonist progresses he must discover and stop the horrors that are happening in the reform school to which he is sent, when he thinks he can count on someone he discovers that nothing is what it seems.
To be honest, I read it thinking that it is a version of Coraline, that it was going to be more of a children's mystery, but as it progresses, what I say in the first paragraph tells us that nothing will be rosy. and I loved it, it's a heavy read, but it goes by super quickly, and you don't want to put it down until you know how everything develops.
I give it 5 out of 5 stars and it's definitely my best read this year.
This books was brutal. It was gory (which was hard to read at times though that says more about me being squeamish than anything), and raw and it hurt. My heart ached for Silas and Daphne. For their desire and inability to be themselves, to be loved and accepted as they are. I was enraged at the way women were used, abused, and treated as possessions. I know it was the point, but it delivered hard. The representation of Silas being autistic was an eye opening portrayal. The descriptions of feelings and the need to move, seemed to explain things in a way I never could. I was physically ill at the thought of all of those young women and Silas being married off and forced upon while they are still children. I felt all the feels while reading this.
This book was not at all what I was expecting and yet blew me away. It covered so many heavy topics in the most creative and distinctive ways. It is not my typical genre that I read but I will absolutely recommend this book and read anything Andrew writes. We need more stories like this in the world!
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with an ARC.
I went into this book with high hopes. It has a fantastic premise and all the bones for making a great book. However, I started to have massive issues with the book very quickly. Most of the characters featured in this book are flat. The narrative also started off strong, but it began to slow down in pacing. There are also issues with historical inaccuracies present in the text. I understand that this is historical fiction, but there are some historical inaccuracies that I am very tired of seeing. Corsets are used in this book as a way of trying to show women as oppressed while completely removing the context and way that women actually historically felt about corsets, which is as fascinating and varied as women today feel about wearing bras. The way corsets are written in this book follows the patriarchal myth surrounding corsets and does not at all represent how women wore them. Corsets are a type of supportive garment that people through a large chunk of human history wore and changed through different styles and fashions to meet the needs of those wearing it. Other reviewers have discussed this already in their reviews and I highly recommend reading them, as well as reviews about the autism representation, which I don't feel like I can accurately discuss.
While I was not able to finish the whole book - it was too graphic for me - the writing is so wonderful and I hope the most success for both the book and White!
So I had very few expectations walking into The Spirit Bares Its Teeth - but I had heard amazing things about Hell Followed With Us, so I had to dive in for myself. And damn, was this good. This book was fast paced and gripping and I pretty much read this book in a singular sitting. I did not want to put it down, and honestly did not even realize that was an option pretty much from page 5. The writing, the crafting, the style - all of it had me so my eyes could not bear to part from the pages.
That said, this book is also horrific and unflinching in so many gruesome ways, but never in a way that felt exploitative or glorified. There are moments of light throughout all the suffering, but it is a lot of suffering.
The Spirit Bares Its Teeth is visceral and gut-wrenching, but if you are up for it, this book will tear you apart piece by piece, and slowly stitch you back in order - mostly, anyway.
Hisses & Kisses 🐍
*Thank you Peachtree Teen and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for my honest review*