Monday, July 16, 2018

Review: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage (audio)

Title: Baby Teeth
Author: Zoje Stage
Narrator: Gabra Zackman
Published: July 2018, Macmillan Audio / St. Martin's Press
Length: 11 hours 6 minutes / 320 pages
Source: Publisher for both

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 thoughts: This debut novel is probably one of the most chilling, deliciously creepy books I've read in a long time and will definitely go down as one of my favorites. I actually listened to it - and the audio was fantastic - make sure to read my audio thoughts below.

This novel is getting some great buzz and it's well-deserved. It's such a great read. I literally could not tear myself away from it once I started it. It's a chilling look at a completely dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship - with the daughter being only seven years old. Hanna is manipulative, cunning and just about down-right evil towards her mother - oh and on top of all this, is mute! Of course, she never let's anyone else see any of this maliciousness but Suzette, most especially her father. On the flip side, Suzette's anxiety about motherhood comes out in spades. I could feel it, it was that palpable.

I loved the way this story was told, with the chapters alternating between Hanna and Suzette's points of view. It really allows you to get into their heads and see what is going on, but at the same time, it also brings up a ton of questions. My biggest question was what happened to cause Hanna to hate her mother so much? Was it just that Suzette had some of her father's affection or is there more going on here? I also liked that with the switching of narrators, while you think you know who's side you are on (#TeamHanna vs. #TeamSuzette), as you get deeper into the book, you might feel yourself flopping back and forth a few times...depending on who is narrating!

I was obsessed with this book...and whether you read it or listen to it, it will evoke strong feelings. This is certainly a book that will make you think a lot...and would even make a great book club selection. I highly recommend it!

Audio thoughts: I was fortunate to be given an early download of the audio version of this book...and WOW! This book was amazing on audio! This was the first time I've listened to Gabra Zackman narrate a book and she knocked it out of the park, especially for Hanna's voice. She really got the nuances of a little kid's voice and even made it sound a little creepy at times. I also appreciated her pronunciations of the Swedish words...I'm sure she did them better justice than I would have. As much as this book was creepy and suspenseful, it was super fun to listen to and that is definitely a tribute to the narrator!

***And don't forget: There's a #BookGiveaway going on until July 23rd for a finished copy of Baby Teeth. Be sure to enter if this is your type of read!


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