Goodreads Synopsis: Rose Szabo’s thrilling debut is a dark and thrilling novel about a teen girl who returns home to her strange, wild family after years of estrangement, perfect for fans of Wilder Girls. Eleanor Zarrin has been estranged from her wild family for years. When she flees boarding school after a horrifying incident, she goes to the only place she thinks is safe: the home she left behind. But when she gets there, she struggles to fit in with her monstrous relatives, who prowl the woods around the family estate and read fortunes in the guts of birds. Eleanor finds herself desperately trying to hold the family together — in order to save them all, Eleanor must learn to embrace her family of monsters and tame the darkness inside her. Exquisitely terrifying, beautiful, and strange, this fierce gothic fantasy will sink its teeth into you and never let go.
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Horror, Gothic
Date of Publication: February 2nd, 2021
Length: 394 pages
My rating: 3.5/5
“Wait.” I hold up a hand. I feel something that’s new, some hungry hollow little place inside me. “I think…I want to eat him.”
I feel like this book is what would happen if the Adams Family had more werewolves and less lighthearted familial affection. What Big Teeth has quite a unique vibe, it wraps you in mystery from the very start, and never quite lets go. Rose Szabo introduces a wild menagerie of characters and somehow manages to make you forget how odd they are by the third chapter. I had initially decided to avoid any more books labelled ‘horror’ for the foreseeable future, but this one just slipped through the cracks, and I have no regrets.
Eleanor Zarrin may be part of her eclectic family, but she is introduced to them with as much clarity as the audience is, which is almost none. At first I almost felt bad for her, she is literally thrown to the wolves, but it becomes clear that she’s not exactly innocent either. The rest of the characters hold their own, and I appreciated the rich background they were given. The setting has a gothic vibe that somehow makes the small town feel like a haunted, foggy moor. Nothing feels normal in this book, even the supposedly ‘normal’ townspeople that populate the small town the Zarrins live in. There is a strong sense of mystery surrounding this story, and while I do enjoy a good set of twists and turns, at points it felt like like I would never understand what is going on.
What Big Teeth is a twisted and bizarre debut novel, and I think that the comparison to Wilder Girls is very apt! If you are looking for a book with an otherworldly horror vibe, look no further! I am excited to see what’s next for Rose Szabo, this is definitely an author to keep in your sights.
Have you had a chance to read What Big Teeth? Let me know what you think in the comments!