Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage is one of the most-talked about books out right now! From marketing campaigns, to seeing ARCs everywhere, to just now being published, and to seeing it discussed all over Instagram and Twitter, I knew I had to get in on this phenomena that was sweeping the book world.
On the surface, Baby Teeth is a story of a family where the daughter is sweet to her father and basically a hellion to her mother in private. She secretly wants to kill her mother so that she can be with her father forever. It’s got a little blend of The Bad Seed, We Need To Talk About Kevin, and The Omen (sort of).
While I enjoyed the story, I was really not into the characters and that drove down my thoughts on the book.
- Suzette, the mother, is just ridiculous. She keeps getting angry that no one (primarily her husband) believes her that something is off with her daughter, yet she doesn’t get anything on video via CCTV, Nanny Cam, cell phone, etc? Are you really even trying? Bye.
- Alex, the father, is so irritating and drowning in denial. He’s basically a flop of a shell of a human whose only purpose seems to saturate us in Swedish phrases and terminology (the same ones over… and over… and over…) If I wanted to learn Swedish, I would download Duolingo or some other similar app on my phone and practice. And the fact that he refuses to believe his wife ever just once makes me just question their entire relationship and what his purpose even is.
- Hanna is smart, I will give her that. But on her POV chapters, I just refuse to believe some of the things she thinks/says as “a child” would or should. She can be super naive at times but then, as if a switch flipped, extremely articulate, observant, and articulate. I just couldn’t buy into the back and forth of her aptitude and intellect.
Another thing I did not really like so much is how repetitive the story is. Mommy and Daddy talk. Daddy leaves. Hanna does something weird. No one believes Suzette. More doctors. Go home. Wake up. Repeat. Over and over and over. While the acts that Hanna carried out became more deliberate and more severe, the structure and formula of the story never changed.
What I DID enjoy: Stage’s way of writing and choice of words and descriptions, alternating POVs, escalating threats and fears, and just how much she made me truly hate Hanna as the horrid, selfish, manipulative trash child she is.
In the end I am going to give this 3.5 stars. My review may seem harsh, but I did (mostly) enjoy the book aside from what I mentioned.