Baby Teeth: Book summary and reviews of Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Baby Teeth

by Zoje Stage

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage X
Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
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About this book

Book Summary

Sweetness can be deceptive. In the tradition of The Dinner and We Need To Talk About Kevin comes a "bad seed" debut about a mom desperate to find help for her mute young daughter, whose disturbing behavior grows increasingly dangerous.

Suzette is a devoted stay-at-home mother doing everything she can to connect with her seven-year-old daughter, who cannot - or will not - speak. But ever since Hanna was a baby, Suzette couldn't help but feel despised by her. Manipulated. And scared to death.

Alex, Hanna's father, wants to believe his wife's accounts of Hanna's cruel and unusual behavior. The only problem is that Alex has never really seen it, himself: Hanna shows him nothing but love. Which is driving Suzette literally crazy. Could it be that Hanna is just a typical, naughty girl - one whose everyday antics toward her mother point to intelligence, creativity, maybe even charm? Or is Hanna, as Suzette fears, actually trying to kill her?

A powerhouse, razor-sharp novel of psychological suspense from blazing new talent Zoje Stage, Baby Teeth raises more questions than it answers - and will leave you guessing until its shocking conclusion.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Stage expertly crafts this creepy, can't-put-it-down thriller into a fearless exploration of parenting and marriage that finds the cracks in unconditional love." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. A first purchase where suspenseful and offbeat psychological thrillers circulate." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. Stage fuses horror with domestic suspense to paint an unflinching portrait of childhood psychopathy and maternal regret." - Kirkus

"Zoje Stage's Baby Teeth is cunning, sharp, and nasty, and wickedly funny until it isn't funny anymore. This intelligent, unrelenting, layered shocker can stand proudly alongside classics like The Other and The Butcher Boy, with their 'evil' children uncannily reflecting our own sins." - Paul Tremblay, nationally bestselling author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World

"Every time we read the premise of Baby Teeth, all the hair on the back of our neck stands up. Simply put, it's about a sweet little girl who wants to kill her mother. And it. Is. Bonkers. Do you have goosebumps yet?" - HelloGiggles

"Imagine We Need To Talk About Kevin only with insight into what Kevin was thinking - and if Eva had fought back....You'll be desperate to discuss the ending once you've recovered from the shock of it. A must-read." - Catherine Ryan Howard, USA Today bestselling author of Distress Signals

"Baby Teeth is electrifyingly creepy. It calls to mind the great monster children of The Fifth Child or We Need to Talk About Kevin, but has a devilish tension all its own. Twisted, playful, and deeply unsettling, Zoje Stage's debut announces her as a new voice worth celebrating." - Colin Winnette, author of The Job of the Wasp

"Baby Teeth is deeply unsettling in the best possible way. Absolutely unforgettable and unflinching, it digs right into the painful nerve of family, obligation and dependence—it's a hell of a debut." - Kelly Braffet, author of Save Yourself

This information about Baby Teeth was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Betty Taylor

Another Bad Seed
If you are a fan of the old movie BAD SEED starring Patty McCormick, you will LOVE this book. This book would fit well in the horror genre, right up there with Stephen King and John Saul. I wasn’t crazy about the story itself, but I could not stop reading it. I had to see what happened next. The writing is intense.

Hanna is an intelligent, precocious seven-year-old. She has her daddy wrapped around her little finger. She has difficulty being understood as she does not talk. Hanna loves her daddy. Loves him so much she wants to marry him when she grows up and live with him forever. Come on, we have heard that before. Nothing unusual. However, Hanna wants her mother out of the way – permanently. This child wants to kill her mother.

Suzette, Hanna’s mother, loves her daughter – as well as she can. She didn’t grow up with a loving mother so struggles with the parenting role. But she finds Hanna exhausting. When her husband Alex isn’t around Hanna speaks to Suzette. As Hanna becomes more and more aggressive toward her mother while her father continues to see her as his little angel, Suzette suspects there is something seriously wrong with their daughter. Can her little girl really be so manipulative?

Through the masterful writing I could feel Suzette’s growing frustration and fear, Hanna’s hatred and determination, and Alex’s baffled reactions.

This is going to be a controversial book due to the subject matter. Can children be so evil? How far should parents go in defending their child? It definitely isn’t for everyone.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the advance reading copy. The opinion is purely my own.

Mal

Creepy
I found this book to be creepy. As a mother myself the thought of a child with psychological issues strong enough to want to harm their mother is downright scary. The family is dysfunctional, the mother stressed and overwhelmed by motherhood as well as trying to figure out her troubled daughter demonstrates appalling behavior. I understand the mother is on the brink, still not an excuse for her barbed words, gestures or approach. The dad is in deep denial, despite the volatile apex, he still can't comprehend his little girl has issues only professionals can help with, fingers crossed Hanna can be rescued and her thoughts and actions halted for good. I asked myself several times why this couple elected to have a child knowing it would alter their relationship dynamic. The couple views Hanna has an infiltrator as opposed to a welcomed edition to the family fold. Parents seemed a bit self absorbed and you can't tell me Hanna with her acute perception didn't pick up on this fact and run with it. Book runs along the lines of parenting albeit with a creepy edge. I am curious to find out what becomes of this wounded family and of Hanna's future. Fast read, your curiosity is piqued by Hanna and what will happen. Narrative reads as both believable and unbelievable.

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Author Information

Zoje Stage

Zoje Stage is a writer and former filmmaker. She was a 2008 Fellow in Screenwriting from the New York Foundation of the Arts and a 2012 Emerging Storytellers Fellow from the Independent Filmmaker Project. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA. Baby Teeth is her first novel.

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