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Sharp Teeth

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  3,469 ratings  ·  744 reviews
An ancient race of lycanthropes has survived to the present day, and its numbers are growing. Bent on dominance, rival factions are initiating the down-and-out of L.A. into their ranks. Caught in the middle are Anthony, a kindhearted, lovesick dogcatcher, and the object of his affection: a female werewolf who has abandoned her pack.
Paperback, 312 pages
Published January 29th 2008 by HarperTorch (first published January 1st 2007)
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Novels in Verse
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Eric K.
Mar 15, 2008 Eric K. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: irene & her posse
Toby Barlow writes
about the good things in life
and the bad.
Oh, you know:
Blood, sex, death, hunger, frenzy
But his
Is to structure his story
as 308 pages
of free-verse poetry
whose style this preview crudely mimics.

But wait!
Oh gentle goodreads friend
I haven't even told you
the best part.
For Barlow's
What do you call something
that defies all genres?
Anyway, Barlow's..
follows the lives
raping, feeding, and pillaging
in present-day L
Posted at Shelf Inflicted


The pack feels something’s up
things feel different, shifted


Knowing someone isn’t coming back
doesn’t mean you ever stop waiting.

Complex relationships

He would follow. He would, honest,
but when he held her, dancing,
everything felt good but
not everything felt right.

Love and hunger

Her appetite has become tremendous in every way
they make love in the kitchen, the living room,
and she eats huge plates of pasta.


Her teeth hit his neck
The last things he sees
D. Pow
Toby Barlow’s Sharp Teeth is weird, beautiful, and audacious beyond measure. Not only is it about tribes of warring werewolves tearing into each other up and down the coast of Southern California and into Mexico, it is also written in free verse. No joke. And it works. It works in spades; it’s a pleasurable, deep read filled with sex, death, longing, betrayal and revenge. And yeah, fucking werewolves and werewolves fucking.

They are not really werewolves or at least they are not your daddy’s were
He wanted to strip away the pain but not the sadness,
he wanted to breathe real life into every memory
but still somehow let go,
he wanted to become something else
while holding onto everything he had.

Maybe it is because I wasn't really expecting too much from this book that I was as blown away by it as I was. Sharp Teeth sort of reminded me of The Suitors (Karen's review of The Suitors is much better than mine for a feeling of the book).

At first the format of the book felt a little gimmicky. The

Werewolves legends have been around for a long time. Like vampires, they are a staple of horror novels and movies, creatures of the night, thirsty for blood, feasting on our fear of the dark and of the unknown. And just like vampires, they have become collateral victims of the rise of the supernatural teen romance genre, becoming recently cute, angsty and smouldering sexy. I hesitate now to pick a modern werewolf story, doubly so when I heard that Toby Barlow has written his novel in free verse
Los Angeles has always disturbed me. All that sunshine. Those über-toned bodies. Packs of werewolves roaming the canyons and arroyos. It's enough to make any catlover nervous.

In this awesome, exuberant, first book Toby Barlow strips away the city's thin veneer of civilization and lays bare its raw, violent, lycanthropic underbelly. It's the cross-species love story between dogcatcher Anthony and his damaged werewolf lover, which unfolds against a backdrop of drugs, murder, revenge, and the battl
May 26, 2008 Miriam rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Poets, sci-fi/horror fans, dog owners, Los Angelinos
I got this book because 1) awesome cover 2) who could resist at least trying a novel in verse about werewolves in Los Angeles? (Lots of people, apparently, because no one I mentioned it to wanted to read it. Oh well.) C'mon, the author is described as "If Ovid had been raised on a steady diet of Marvel Comics, Roger Corman, and MTV," that doesn't make you want to at least open the book?! Once I got used to following the plot I thought it was well-constructed, and the characterizations are amazin ...more
I am not
a fan of verse even free verse. I like proper grammar and
paragraphs and commas. So I was wary
reading this book when I saw
crazy staggering lines of text wandering around my nook screen.

a friend's review made me reconsider
and so I read the book and I mostly liked it.
Mostly because I still don't like verse
even when it's free. Also because I want to see the picture that is
being painted not just be told
what it's of. I feel like too much
of Sharp Teeth was
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
Actual rating: 1.5 stars

When I was assigned to read this book, I was told that it was a book about werewolves written in verse. Immediately, I knew that this concept could either be really cool or be really pretentious and annoying. Unfortunately, it was the latter for me.

Usually when I dislike a book, I can still kind of understand why it appeals to people. This is one of the few books that, no matter how many positive reviews of it I read, I just … don't really get it, to be honest. It's not t
Dog-owners, you may never look at your little canine friend the same way again.

I sure hope Quentin Tarantino is not too busy the year they decide to make this movie, because this is perfect for him. What the movie will lose – the book’s musical language – Mr. Tarantino could replace with his intense visual rhythms. It could be awesome. A noir-ish tale of werewolves in L.A., crime bosses and drug lords, a kindly dogcatcher, rival gangs (not human), and some sociopathic revenge. Lots of violence,
Like many who have reviewed this book, I was in love with the book cover without ever opening the book. I loved the red linen-y cover with that slickery black dog imprint... so cool!

Then I opened the book and thought "Poetry? WTF? I thought this was paranormal-romance-ish book about werewolves... Oh well, I'll give a try."

And I am glad I did. The story is fairly typical but the style in which it is told makes this book rate so highly with me. The free-verse format reminded me of the Ellen Hopkin
This a type of book that shouldn't work, but does.

Barlow tells the story of werewolves, drug dealers, pounds, and true love in free verse.

The craziest thing is that it works.

While not as good a poet as say Coleridge or Browning, there is something powerful in some of Barlow's verse.

"Anthony in love is unlikely/in its grace/like a drunk with a magic trick./There's no reason it should work, but it does."

Strangely in book that shouldn't work, Barlow comments deeply on the human condition.
Anna  (Bananas!)
Oh Toby Barlow, when will you write something again? There just aren't enough epic poems about weredogs to quench my thirst.

What I love about this book: There's nothing better than a weird-ass premise. This one is sublime. The beautiful flow of words drew me right in. I like that it begins with a song and ends with a song. I enjoyed the characters, every one, and related to them despite their foreign circumstances because you made them human.

What I love best is the poetry itself. A writer can m
Writing in verse has its drawbacks in that some people instantly recoil when they see something that reminds them of some poetry class where they got their heart smashed apart and the instructor didn’t care because he/she demanded that they interpret some form of verse which they didn’t want to not because they couldn’t but because it was too close to heart and they couldn’t go on….

Or they don’t like things that rhyme unless it’s rap or some children’s story, which of course means they like it b
Toby Barlow's version of Los Angeles is one that teems with werewolves who run in rival gangs, challenge Mexican crystal meth kingpins, change form at will and regardless of the moon’s cycle, and manage to go largely unnoticed by the human population. They infiltrate the city’s animal shelters, play bridge, surf, battle one another for dominance, build and destroy crime empires, and fall in love. And inexplicably, Barlow chooses to tell their story entirely in blank verse.

If you're anything like
Wart Hill
This review can also be found at Things I Find while Shelving

Mr. Barlow, I applaud you. You wrote an epic poem about werewolves. Well done, sir. Well done.

This book is really weird, but I really liked it. I suppose "epic poem about werewolves" is, by definition, going to be bizarre. So I'm not terribly surprised that it was weird. It was also really well done - there's a lot of great imagery and lines that really stuck with me. It didn't always read like a poem, but it didn't bother me in the le
Jul 19, 2008 max rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: folks who like graphic novels
Recommended to max by: Weekly Digg
Shelves: library
Judging by Toby Barlow's popular debut novel set in Los Angeles and crafted in free verse, the occupation of advertising executive is reasonable preparation for writing long poetry, and probably not a handicap in publishing the results. Our ad man first pressed his epic in the UK, where he built enough buzz to overcome us verse-averse Yanks. Equipped with quip-length lines and slogan-strength strophes, Barlow furiously tears down the page with more elan than poise, but this is perhaps befitting ...more
Ben Loory
this is an epic free verse poem about rival werewolf gangs in modern day los angeles. the first couple pages were absolutely fantastic, and the writing was great throughout. really clean, fast, hard, emotion-driven poetry-- the kinda stuff that makes you say, "oh yeah, the majority of so-called 'literary fiction' really does suffer from a clichéd sense of lyricism!" but then the story itself kicked in, and all of a sudden it was werewolves playing bridge tournaments with old ladies in pasadena? ...more
I initially gave this book 4 stars simply because I was being a snob, thinking "It's pop fiction, 'AWESOME' doesn't rank 5 stars, does it?"

To hell with that. It's probably hard to imagine a well-written book about werewolves, but you'll have to read to understand. Definitely inventive and an entertaining page-turner, but moving and beautiful at the same time. It'll transport you to a different (yet familiar) world while you're reading it.

Maybe it's my chemically-regulated hormones speaking, but
Laura Leaney
Aug 08, 2011 Laura Leaney rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Laura by: Suzanne Ridgeway
This book is hot and vigorous. It's a free verse epic poem featuring packs of lycanthropes - often ordinary rangy street dogs - who patrol the streets and warehouses of Los Angeles and San Pedro, but not always in dog/wolf/coyote form. Oh could meet these dogs playing bridge or poker, driving a UPS van, or working at the city pound. You might not notice anything too strange about them, since they're in human form, but they can smell each other, and that can be dangerous when the d ...more
When I first opened this book and saw that is was written in verse stanzas rather than straight prose, I groaned. "Oh no," I thought, "an epic poem."

In fact, the book's format turned out to be one of its greatest strengths, as I quickly gathered after the first few pages. The line breaks and pronounced rhythm of poetry make it perfect for emphasizing a choice phrase or idea, and the relatively small amount of text on each page contributes greatly to the feeling of motion.

The book is ostensibly
This is definitely one of the stranger books that I've picked up. Sharp Teeth is a werewolf novel, told in verse form. Imagine the old epic poetry of the Greeks, or even the ballads told in medieval times - you'll get a good idea of how this novel is told.

The epic nature, and the sheer length and subject matter of the book, had me doubting whether or not Barlow could make it work. He did. The story is worthy of the way it is told.

In the dead of night in southern California, the different packs o
Apr 08, 2008 George rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone - actually REQUIRE it for everyone, not just recommend.
OK, I'll admit it-werewolves are my favorite monsters, among the old-school/Universal Classic crowd. So I'll check out pretty much anything on the topic. But Sharp Teeth is something a bit different, and amazingly good.

The book reads like a noir thriller in an epic poetry style. It is one of the more quotable books I have read, and the reviews on the dust jacket deliver additional praise. And this is a first novel for the author, Toby Barlow. There are books that you start reading and don't want
Werewolves in free verse with carne asada tacos.

Now that I got my one-liner out of the way, Sharp Teeth is an original horror tale that never lets the reader off. I read it in two sittings, interrupted only by the fact that my wife and I had tickets for a jazz concert and she wouldn't let me stay home and read the book! The use of free verse was a bit daunting to me at first but after a few pages I got into the rhythm and stayed entranced. The book sometimes reads more like an organized crime no
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
I admit.
I grabbed this book due to the cover.
I also looked it up real fast and saw it had good ratings.

I normally would not read it as it's written in verse like paragraphs.
I want to start humming along with the story.
Or worse make it into a song.

So, if your looking for an interesting read.
Go pick this up.
Maybe it will suit your fancy.
Or maybe not.
I cannot recommend this book - written in blank-verse about werewolf gangs in East LA - strongly enough. Emotional, captivating, well-written and totally different than anything I've ever read before - highly recommended!
Esteban del Mal
What would you do
To protect the love you have?
Would you kill?
Would you hunt to kill?
Would you kill without mercy?
And if you wouldn't
Then how precious is your love?
Ich bin ein großer Werwolf-Fan auch wenn das Genre leider seit der Twilight-Saga erheblich gelitten hat. Mittlerweile müssen die armen Wolfsmenschen ihr Unwesen in dem unsäglichen und doch populären Genre "paranormal Romance" treiben.

Glücklicherweise gibt noch Autoren wie Toby Barlow, die sich vorgenommen haben Bücher mit mehr Anspruch und vor allem mehr Biss zu schreiben. Obwohl hier auch die Romantik nicht zu kurz kommt.

Kurz zusammengefasst geht es in "Sharp Teeth" um Werwolf-Gangs, die sich i
I never would have picked this up had a friend whose taste in books I very much admire not recommended it. The book is written in stanzas (non-rhyming, thankfully), though it could just as easily have been written in typical prose format. I would be cynical and say that the formating choice was made for marketing reasons, but it kind of worked for the story. I really enjoyed the plot--a bunch of werewolves in LA form various packs and basically try to destroy each other, all the while working to ...more
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Toby Barlow lives in Detroit, Michigan. He is the author of Sharp Teeth, winner of the Alex Award in Horror, and Babayaga. He is a graduate of St. John's College in Santa Fe, NM.
More about Toby Barlow...

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“he knows that it's impossible to tell a wolf
from a man if
he keeps his chin up
and his teeth clean.”
“The bullet we're running from is almost never the one that hits us.” 25 likes
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