Review: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Review: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Published by St. Martin's Press on July 17, 2018
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley

Buy: AmazonB&N
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I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley.

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.

From blazing new talent Zoje Stage, Baby Teeth is a story about a perfect-looking family, and a darling little girl who wants nothing more than to kill her mother.

I am not a mother. I’m childless by choice and I freely admit that I have a deep-seated fear of motherhood. What if you do everything by the book, everything right—you love, provide for, and nurture your child—and your child still turns out to be a monster? Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage speaks to all these fears and so much more.

Suzette and Alex are parents to seven-year-old Hanna. Despite her displays of intelligence and cognition, Hanna is non-verbal, communicating with her parents through sounds and gestures. An array of medical exams and tests rules out any underlying illnesses or conditions. However, Suzette knows that something is wrong with her daughter.

Although Hanna is the sweetest child with her father, Hanna is cold and increasingly hateful toward her mother. Formerly an interior designer, Suzette is now a stay-at-home mom who spends all day homeschooling Hanna and serving as primary caretaker. However, Hanna does not have any bond with her mother and seemingly finds ways to undermine Suzette’s attempts at affection.

Baby Teeth also addresses the loss of identity that Suzette feels ever since becoming a mother. With her days revolving around Hanna’s ever-increasing behavioral issues, Suzette no longer has time for herself and feels her individuality shrinking more each day. As Hanna’s actions toward her mother escalate and become violent, the domestic claustrophobia in the house transforms Suzette’s sense of self-preservation into a struggle for survival itself.

Is Hanna possessed? Is she mentally ill? Can she be fixed?

Baby Teeth is a disturbing, stunning debut from Zoje Stage, one that had me reading past my bedtime (and giving shadows an uneasy second glance). I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more from this author.

Rating: 5 stars


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