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Baby Teeth

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Horror (2018)
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.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published August 9, 2018

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About the author

Zoje Stage

10 books2,045 followers
Zoje Stage's debut novel, BABY TEETH, was a USA Today and international bestseller. It was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award and named one of the best books of the year by Forbes Magazine, Library Journal, PopSugar, Barnes & Noble, Bloody Disgusting, and BookBub. Her follow-up novel, WONDERLAND, was described in a starred review from Booklist as a "beautifully choreographed and astonishing second novel." And with her third book, GETAWAY, the New York Times declared her "a writer with a gift for the lyrical and the frightening." She lives in Pittsburgh with her cats.

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5 stars
12,792 (21%)
4 stars
21,734 (36%)
3 stars
16,310 (27%)
2 stars
6,116 (10%)
1 star
2,442 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,058 reviews
Profile Image for j e w e l s.
307 reviews2,343 followers
July 17, 2018
ONE STAR ⭐️ for me because I finished it!

This book is trying so hard to be controversial. Instead, it's an epic fail. I'm not in the HATE it or LOVE it camp. I'm in the incredibly bored and what is the point camp?.

In case you've been busy reading a good book (lucky you!) and missed some of the pre-hype, BABY TEETH is the story of a creepy seven-year old mute girl, Hanna, who hates her mommy and wants to kill her. She wants mommy out of the picture so that she can have daddy all to herself. That's it. Seriously, that's the whole book! Hanna: silently plotting and planning her next mean thing to do to mommy. Mommy: wringing her hands and worrying why her daughter is so evil. Daddy: humming and happy, oblivious to the actual pain his adorable Hanna causes on others around her.

Brace yourself, folks! St. Martin's Press is amping up for a full-on publicity assault to promote their summer baby. BABY TEETH (UK title: BAD APPLE) is set to be released in July 2018. We are only human and you may become curious about all the hype on social media, DON'T BUY INTO IT!!!

Believe me. Don't waste your money or time on this dud. Stay strong. The book is deficient in every way. I heard it was shocking and disturbing...NO, it's not! I live for shocking and disturbing, this is not it! It's just dumb.

There is something missing with this book, there is nothing there to hold your interest. I feel like Hanna should have been written with more of a horror bent, at least it would have spiced up the plot a bit. I spent the first half of the book wishing I could chalk it up as mindless entertainment, but it's missing the entertainment part. I found myself skimming out of boredom. No plot twist. No thriller. I didn’t feel tension or suspense. Dull as dishwater.

I hate to finish like a negative Nancy. So, I add this: the cover is striking and I love the title! Too bad about the book.😕

Many thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read this book and post my honest review!
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews111k followers
July 30, 2022
Wtf was this book? LOL
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,923 reviews35.4k followers
October 23, 2019
HOWEVER... I QUIT! I’m throwing in the towel. I’ve read enough...stopping at 41% on my Kindle copy.
I appreciate the widget-offering from the publisher — but for me— I CAN’T compare this book to “The Dinner” ....or “We Need To Talk About Kevin”....Both of those two other books had a different quality and purpose IMO....
THIS BOOK seems to me - to be an intentionally disturbing novel - for the pure pleasure of the thrill. It’s ugly and non-inspiring. It ‘is’........absorbing.....but I’m not proud of myself reading it.
I choose to stop this nonsense- I don’t want to be a stand for books where children are evil — for the sake of psychological pleasure reading.
Even without finishing this book - I can already see the author isn’t accomplishing any attempts to portray what might lead a child to kill —- such as Lionel Shriver did in “We Need To Talk About Kevin”. It’s bumblegum chewing for the sake of chewing mindlessly. I’m not a fan— but many readers probably will be:

HERE’S MY REVIEW.... all little Excepts..... NOTE: I DO NOT KNOW HOW THIS BOOK ENDS - perhaps a girlfriend will tell me later - save me the reading time - so that I can move on to a book that is a better fit for me.....

Lots of SAMPLES to get a TASTE of what you’re in for if you choose to read this novel:
Mom says:
“She never liked me. No, that’s not true. When she was a baby…Suzette knew she was oversharing, but the words spelled out. But at some point the war began. And I’m losing. I’m losing it. And I can’t tell my husband, I try but…He doesn’t see it. And where would I be? I’m supposed to be a good mom, the mom I never had, that’s what I wanted. That’s what I promised him, what I promised myself”.

Mom says:
“ I thought everything would get better. Kindergarten. But she didn’t talk. That’s how it all started. We tried doctors, there’s nothing physically wrong. But every place I’ve tried to enroll her, and every babysitter, it’s like she wants to torture— just me”.

Dad says:
“How’s my squirrely girl?” ...... Providing optimistic perky happiness of possibilities? —- sure ..... deny deny deny.... no problems with his little angle —- HANNA LOVES DADDY! I’m guessing ‘Daddy’ will face up to the problems pretty soon....but for now - he prefers to deny them.

Hanna says: .....Thinking to herself
“It remained disappointing that Daddy hadn’t let mommy wither and die when he had a chance”. ( note.. Hanna saw her parents having sex - she was hoping with dad on top of mom, he would kill her). Oh well!
“As Hanna grew stronger she could take it advantage of Mommy’s weakness. Could mommy die if cleaning too much – – could she scrubbed to death? And
Mommy needed a lot of medication. If something bad happened to her medicine, would something bad happen to mommy?”
“Or maybe...Mommy was always fussing about how she looked, and she glowed whenever Daddy said she was beautiful.”
“Maybe If Mommy was uglier”
“Maybe Daddy wouldn’t love her as much”.

“She stuffed a grape in her mouth, a strawberry, a cheese cube, another cheese cube, another grape. And made a show at chewing, chewing.”
“When it was a nice mushy consistency, Hanna got up on her knees and spit the whole glob in Mommy’s face. It struck her cheek, then started to dribble down. Hanna giggled”.

“Mommy scooped the mash from her face. For a second Hanna thought she might cry. But Mommy got up and came around and forced the glob back into Hanna’s mouth.” She held her hand there, making it so Hanna couldn’t open her lips.
She couldn’t spit anything back out, but she could barely breathe.


1/2 STAR rating.

Thank You Netgalley— St. Martin’s who I always appreciate- ( I’m so sorry - this book just wasn’t healthy for my soul), and Zoje Stage... there is not much I can’t hear - but I’m sorry - I just didn’t want to read any more. The scenes you picked to write for the child - the language from the mom - I just didn’t feel well reading your book.
But - good luck to you - I think many people actually gobble your novel up.
Profile Image for Deanna .
655 reviews12.4k followers
June 8, 2018
My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...

OH MY ….

I have no words.

HA! Yeah right!!

Hanna LOVES her Daddy. Her Mommy?

Not so much….

This first thing I’m going to say about “Baby Teeth” is that it won’t be for everybody. And that’s OKAY! I’m not going to judge anyone for liking it OR not liking it. It’s a fiction book!

It does clearly say in the description:

“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.”

A book about a child wanting to kill their mother is not going to be light suspense…it’s likely going to be an uncomfortable read. So I knew what I was getting into…. for the most part.

The book opens with Hanna at the hospital having a CT scan. It’s not her first. There have been many tests.

You see….Hanna doesn’t speak.

“Words, ever unreliable, were no one’s friend”

Hanna knows how much Mommy wants her to talk.

“Mommy was failing her tests to prove her motherly love.”

Is Hanna choosing not to talk?

“if it’s a matter of her refusing…WON’T requires a different type of doctor than CAN’T.”

Hanna’s favorite game is “Scare Mommy” and she likes to make special projects for Mommy too. VERY special.

WOW! I have such conflicting emotions about this one!

Imagine having someone who you expect will love you, not love you. And not only do they not love you? They LOATHE you.

They wish you didn’t exist….

The story is told from Hanna and Suzette’s alternating perspectives. There are some terrifying and dysfunctional scenes in this book. I haven’t read “The Dinner” or “We Need to Talk About Kevin” (books that this has been compared to) so I wouldn’t know how it stacks up against them.

“Baby Teeth” seems to be in its own league. A ball of darkness and wickedness that will make you squirm. I couldn’t put this sucker down. I read it in two sittings and honestly, when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it.

I wondered if a seven-year-old was capable of some of the acts committed. Could a child be that diabolical and manipulative? I think this is one of those books that if you look at it closely, yes you will probably see a lot of things that push the believability envelope…right off the table. However, it ended up not mattering if things were all possible or believable…. I was pulled right into the story.

As I said earlier, this book won’t be for everyone. I do wonder if it would fit more into the horror genre. I found it diabolical and creepy and I’m really glad I read it. “Baby Teeth” is definitely a book I won’t soon forget. I’m very curious to see what Zoje Stage is going to come up with next.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,473 reviews9,394 followers
February 15, 2023
Baby Teeth was a blast for me to read. Perfect for fans of Horror movies such as The Omen, Orphan and Case 39.

When Suzette becomes a first-time mother, she is excited and anxious, as any new mother would be.

She didn't have the greatest relationship with her own Mum and feels this is her chance to do better by her daughter.

Suzette and her husband, Alex, work hard to provide, Hanna, a stable environment where she can grow and flourish in.

However, it becomes apparent fairly quickly that Hanna is no ordinary child. At least, it's clear to Suzette.

Due to Hanna being non-communicative and combative, Suzette is forced to keep her home and provide all of the child's schooling and care.

She doesn't want to do this. No one, including her husband, seems to understand what she has to go through every day.

She wants Hanna to go to school like other children. She wants her to learn how to play nice and interact with others.

And, yes, let's be honest, get her out of her hair for a while, but Hanna has other plans.

What transpired within these pages chilled me to the core. THE CORE.

This kid. Mmmmm, she is not messing around. I WANTED to get away from her and she's a fictional character.

This story is a story you think you know. It's a classic The Omen-style, evil child trope, which frankly, is one of my favorites.

I don't think I am giving anything away by saying that. You can deem that much from reading the synopsis, but this book is so much more than that.

It is unnerving in the reality of it. This could happen and probably does. I know there are parents out there who are afraid of their children.

This book made ME afraid of their children.

I loved this book. It disturbed me in such a glorious way.

I shall be singing its praises for quite a while and you better believe, I will be picking up anything else Zoje Stage chooses to write!

Profile Image for Crumb.
189 reviews517 followers
July 30, 2018
A Sure-Fire Hit! Not to be Missed!

This is going to be one of the most controversial books of the year. It has generated a whole lot of buzz on social media and has garnered tons of reviews here on Goodreads. Whether you hate it or you love it, you won't be able to stop talking about it. So, you may as well read the book and see what the big deal is, right?
 * * * * * * * * * * * * 

What would you do if your child hated you? Really and truly hated you? Hated you so much , in fact, that she wanted to eliminate you?

These are the questions that Suzette faces day in and day out. Her daughter is not her bouncy, red-cheeked little baby anymore. Her daughter, Hanna, is now a monster, a devil.

Here’s the catch: Hanna only behaves this way toward Suzette; nary a complaint toward her father, Alex.
The more alarming Hanna’s behavior becomes, the more sophisticated Hanna becomes at the art of manipulating her father, or as she likes to call him, her daddy. Her father is blind to Hanna’s cruelty and tricks. Hanna wants her daddy all to herself. But, Suzette is in the way.
As the house starts to become increasingly volatile and claustrophobic, Suzette begins to wonder if she will ever feel safe in her own house, alone with her “baby daughter.”

Zoje Stage is fearless. This book will surely be controversial and will likely be the subject of many heated debates among book clubs everywhere. I happened to love this book, but I recognize that this book isn’t for everyone. However, that’s why books are so special. A thousand people can read one book and have several different opinions and perspectives. I can’t imagine what Stage will turn out next, but, what I do know is, I will be the first in line!

Note: Carol and I read this together, as a buddy read. If you would like to view our discussion on this book, please Click Here Anything that could be viewed as a spoiler is marked accordingly.

I received this as a courtesy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for karen.
3,976 reviews170k followers
October 31, 2019
oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for best horror 2018! what will happen?

this is the story of a seven-year-old girl named hanna who loves her daddy SO MUCH that she doesn’t want anyone else taking up any of his time or attention. so, obviously, her mom’s gotta go. like, go in a “not be breathing anymore” way.

in what is either a chilling declaration of intent or a genius marketing strategy, the author has dedicated this book to her father, which cracked me up.

because that’s the best way to appreciate this book, as the blackest comedy center wrapped up in a thin horror candyskin. it’s compared to We Need to Talk About Kevin, which i haven’t read, and The Dinner, which i have read and did not like, but i’m not sure these books are all playing to the same crowd. because while, yes, they all have “kids doing reprehensible things” at their center, it’s carried out in different angles of approach. there’s a world of difference between The Bad Seed and gus van sant’s Elephant, even though they hold hands over the “kids do the murderyest things” campfire. We Need to Talk About Kevin, from what i understand, is an earnest attempt to understand what drives a child to orchestrate a school shooting, an exploration of parental guilt and culpability. The Dinner is just nihilism on parade where everything is shitty in different ways and who even cares about anything? whereas this book has the following note-to-self:

Maybe it had been a mistake, trying to set Mommy on fire. If only she’d known how long it took for things - or people - to fully ignite.

it’s not a fun campy romp, but it’s also not an incisive psychological examination of sociopathy. it’s a back-and-forth POV between an exhausted, reluctant mother and a deeply manipulative little girl whose refusal to speak, although she does not lack the physical means, is at the center of their rift. each is frustrated by their inability to communicate, to be understood, trapped in the house with each other all day in a silent battle of wills, until daddy comes home with his smiles and his loving indulgence of hanna’s silence, seemingly inexhaustible because he only has to trot it our for an hour or two a day. fuck that guy, basically.

it’s a strong, if somewhat predictable, offering in the “creepy kids” genre. hanna is perfectly menacing, and her voice and reasoning skills are usually appropriate to her age, Every win for Hanna was a you-lose for Mommy, but there are a few moments that seem a little too much for a seven-year-old:

Sometimes she wished she could remember being in Mommy’s tummy. Were they both really happy then? When their blood was all jumbled up and they shared a mystery?

the more childish the voice, the creepier it is.

suzette is a great dramatic counterpoint to hanna, and since the “creepy kid” is the constant in books like this, it is the parent’s reactions that determine where the book goes, so it’s all on her. which is a pretty constant theme in the book, along with parental breaking points.

It was hard to pour endless love into someone who wouldn’t love you back. No one could do it forever.

we do get insight into how this mother-daughter relationship has soured; the contributing misunderstandings, resentments, the unfulfilled hopes, plus suzette’s own poor excuse for a maternal role model and a life narrowed by illness in which she basically went from sickbed to marriage bed, so is more dependent on her husband than is seemly:

For a moment she was transported to the early days. The early nights. When he was everything. When she was someone. When the two of them were enough. And having a child meant the exponential increase of their love, because they wanted more ways to express it. Now they knew how a child divided them, as individuals, and a couple.

but really, this is all about a tiny monster, the people who love her, and why they totally should not.

fun creepy fun.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Felice Laverne.
Author 1 book3,199 followers
February 12, 2020
Mommy was only a shell of a person with nothing to give. She was like a store full of bright and tempting candies held captive behind a thick, transparent wall. It wasn't like Hanna hadn't tried to tap on the glass and grasp what was inside.

So, it’s possible that I’m just too much of a Southerner for this book, but Baby Teeth absolutely did not work for me. (Well, that's not 100% true: I think the book's title and cover art are phenomenal.) It was just so melodramatic and implausible that I found myself doing the deepest of eye rolls on more than one occasion, and turning the page became a harder and harder task the further I got along in this novel.

The premise of this novel is very simple: A seven-year-old terrorizes her mother but puts on an innocent face for Daddy, driving a wedge between the couple and driving the mom to desperation. Think The Orphan (2009) meets We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011). With that out of the way, we can move on to the merits and non-redeeming qualities of this book, shall we?

One of my pet peeves in fiction is when entire plot lines hinge on implausible circumstances. I heaved this book into that metaphorical pile pretty early on and it will remain there forever. Baby Teeth was kin to those horror movies where the pretty blonde girl is running through the night in her heels and instead of running outside of the house for safety, she runs upstairs to the collective annoyance of the audience. Like, the plot didn’t make ANY sense! Why, you may ask? Because the entire narrative would have been different if one of two SIMPLE things had happened: . That’s why I say I must be too much of a Southerner for this book, because I don’t know anyone, of any color or creed, who would let their kid get away with the things little Hanna got away with – and then crawl and grovel on their knees for this child’s forgiveness after THEY, the PARENT, have been assaulted . Seriously, implausible. And, so weak-willed that I started to really despise Suzette's spinelessness. Spine. Less.

Aside from the sheer improbability of this story line, it also wasn’t very well-written either. And, there are very few things more unforgivable than that to an avid reader. I mean, yes, there were words strung together in a way that made sense in the English language, but I didn’t feel that there was any remarkable skill on display whatsoever. I didn't feel like I'd stumbled across anything that I would take with me for more than 4 minutes after I turned the final page of that book. It read as a first-time novel for sure, clunky and clumsily done.

I’ve seen Baby Teeth listed as a thriller; it wasn’t that at all, but it COULD have been. It probably would have been a much more enjoyable read—cringe-worthy moments in the plot and all—if it had been written from Suzette’s POV only. Then we could have seen her mounting terror and desperation and feel it in a more pure form—the way that she did. But Stage decided to try her hand at writing in a child’s voice via Hanna's chapters and it Did. Not. Work. Honestly, a terrible idea given the level of skill she displayed in this novel. Not only did it take away from the suspense to know exactly what Hanna was going to do next from her POV, but the clunky and inauthentic way in which Stage wrote Hanna made reading her chapters a real chore. Of course, I understand that Stage was attempting to speak simplistically, as a child might, but it didn’t sound anything like a seven-year-old’s way of speech and mannerisms in the slightest. Her editor would have done better to tell her to hold off on that.

I nearly didn’t finish this book. I found it to be THAT ridiculous with nothing remarkable about the writing style to keep me hooked. But, as we readers often do, I just HAD to trudge on to see if my mind would be magically changed in the end. It wasn’t, though the end result of the book was one of the better parts of the plot, so at least there’s that, right? 2 stars **

*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, St. Martin's Press, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


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Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,563 reviews5,865 followers
January 21, 2018
One of my favoritest thing in the world to read about!

When my book bestie and fellow weirdo found the synopsis for this book, we knew we had found one that our little shriveled hearts would adore. So I'm deeply thankful for her begging on my part to get my grubby hands on a copy of this one.

Hannah loves her Daddy. He spoils her even if she doesn't say a word. She gets kicked out of all the preschools and the doctor's can't find anything wrong with her. She is still her Daddy's girl though and that would be even better if that stupid Mommy was not in the way.

Suzanne tries her hardest to be the mom that she never had herself. Her health problems have made her doubt herself but now she has that perfect marriage with a dream child. Except that dream child is starting to really freak her out.

This book takes you down a dark hole into a disfunctional family that might make you appreciate Aunt Bernice farting at the dinner table. Imagine if your child was showing signs of the full on cray-cray? You can't win. You might want to pick up your stuff and leave (in this case) stupid butt husband...but it's still your kid!

*would have packed bags anyways*

Booksource: I received a copy of this book from the Publisher. Because I have someone who doesn't hate me and begged for it! Pure win! (I loved it all on my own)

PS This book is on Netgalley as of 1/20/18 if you guys want to run and try and grab it. https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/boo...
Profile Image for Zoje Stage.
Author 10 books2,045 followers
January 24, 2023
Hello Readers!

As more reader reviews are coming in it's becoming apparent that BABY TEETH elicits strong reactions from some people, and a lot of debate. I am all for strong reactions and unfettered debate, but I would like to clarify something that I feel was misrepresented by a DNF-review and the reactions that followed:

There is absolutely NO child sexual abuse in this book!

There may be any number of reasons as to why BABY TEETH is not the book for you, but there is absolutely no gratuitous child abuse in my novel.

Okay friends, carry on!
Profile Image for Barbie.
109 reviews302 followers
March 17, 2019

My thoughts in a nutshell
It was way better than I expected. I started with low expectation and I really enjoyed it!

The story is about…
Skip over this point if you don't like the sneak peek.
Daddy thinks Hanna is an adorable child. Mommy knows Hanna is a nightmare. Hanna wants daddy and she will be able to do everything for his father even if she has to be a bad girl. She will ruin her mother's life and she doesn't mind it at all. Hanna will enjoy it.

What impressed me the most 😊
I love the evil child trope. I live for this kind of thriller in a book and the movie. My all-time favorite movie is Orphan. So I felt that I would love this book.
It is weird, but I like Hanna as a character. She is mad but the author did a fantastic job with her personalities. I wasn't afraid while I was reading, but Hanna's POV gave me a creepy vibe. When she stood in front of her mother with a hammer and her mother Suzette just creeps out, I thought that 'OK Suzette, you are more insane than your daughter. Just call the police PLS.'
I see why a lot of people hate this book; because of the characters, especially Hanna's parents. They were irritating. Her father doesn't want to believe that her cute angel is a monster. Firstly, I was pissed about it. Later I accepted it.
If Hanna's daddy would have believed immediately that her daughter hurts her mommy then it wouldn't have been a book because that was the whole point. This is a dysfunctional family. Everyone is doing their own things and they aren't communicating. I like the character development.
I really love the unfinished ending. I would be curious about a second book.
The writing style was gripping. I adored that the father was Swedish, and he usually used a Swedish word. It was special. I like that he calls Hanna his lilla gumman.

What I don't like at all ☹️
I have a problem with the pacing. I was bored sometimes and to my mind, the book was overwritten. It has some unnecessary scenes. If I cut it off nobody would notice. I don't like that Suzette has Crohn's disease. It was useless. I also don't like when the author collects the problem. Less is sometimes more. Hannah was just enough.

Make a conclusion
I gave it 3 stars because it was entertaining but not perfect. I will round up to 3,5 stars because the author deserves it.
This book is not for everyone. You will hate it if you don't like the insane child trope. So I recommend it to readers who love thrillers where the main character is a scary child.
To be honest, I really want a second book, don't judge me. :D

Atmosphere collage aka. how did I imagine the book vibes?
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
526 reviews57.7k followers
June 16, 2019
What the actual fuck did I just read?!

And not in a good way...
So I like me some weird books. I admit it. But this just felt a bit pointless in the end.

The book started with some potential. It gave me some similar vibes to the movie Orphan.
Basically a little girl that seems to hate her mom and doesn't act like she's 4.

You start wondering if there's something supernatural or if mommy is actually the crazy one or maybe daddy's abusing her?!

It just felt like it was trying to be shocking but without any actual substance.

No spoilers but... disappointing ending. Not fully terrible but I expected more.
Profile Image for Mischenko.
1,014 reviews97 followers
February 5, 2018
You can also see this review @ https://readrantrockandroll.com/2018/...

May contain mild spoilers…

Suzette, mother to Hanna, deals with illness on a daily basis. She has an autoimmune disease that makes her sick and causes pain. On top of this, she’s trying to be a good wife to Alex, Hanna’s dad, and all she wants is to have a normal family–a normal daughter. The problem is that Hanna is a complete psycho, doesn’t talk, and behaves so badly, she’s continuously kicked out of school and Suzette has no choice but to home school her. At home, there are even more problems. Hanna want’s to kill her mother, but has a deep love for her father and because of that, nobody believes Suzette when she tries to tell them that something is wrong with Hanna.

“Daddy was the most handsome man in the world. He dressed nicely, in crisp shirts and colorful ties, and his favorites were the ones she picked our for him. When she grew up she’d marry him, and then Mommy wouldn’t be competition anymore.”

The main points of view alternate between Suzette and Hanna throughout the book. As I mentioned, Alex, Hanna’s dad, never sees the disturbing behaviors. The person who deals with Hanna on a daily basis is Suzette and this is what made me so uncomfortable throughout the book. Alex refers to Hanna as his ‘squirrely girl’ or ‘lilla gumman’ and it seems like no matter how much he loves Suzette, he just doesn’t believe that his daughter is a psychopath and consistently makes excuses for her. Hanna exhibits aggressive and violent behaviors that almost go too far for me. It made me very uncomfortable and the constant instigating between Hanna and Suzette made me want to scream. This family is extremely dysfunctional and I kept wondering throughout the book what the real reasons for Hanna’s behaviors were. Surely something had to have happened in the past with Suzette or Alex, right?

“Sshh, lilla gumman…Daddy’s squirrely girl…”He cooed so softly Suzette couldn’t hear everything he said. But Hanna quieted. She looked so tiny in his arms, a rag doll.

I thought the book was written really well and it’s certainly a quick and smooth read. People who like thrillers will more than likely be pleased. Personally, I was on edge and completely thrilled all the way to the ��not so’ surprising end. I was expecting some major twists toward the end which never really came and made me feel like something was missing, however, the book for the most part kept my interest and I found it dark and very disturbing, so for that, I’ll give this book 4****. I’m looking forward to reading more books by this author.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (July 17, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1250170753
ISBN-13: 978-1250170750
Profile Image for Debra .
2,201 reviews34.9k followers
January 28, 2018
Baby Teeth is a "psychological" thriller focusing on a dysfunctional family and their child with disturbing behavior. Alex, the father, does not want to see or believe that his daughter has behavioral/emotional problems. His daughter behaves around him, she is loving and, although she does not speak, she has her own way of communicating with him. Suzette, the Mother, is homeschooling her daughter while dealing with the symptoms of her Crohn's disease. Suzette is the target or her daughter, Hanna’s, "bad" behaviors. Hanna begins to speak to her Mother and really wants her father all to herself. She is clever, manipulative, and unwilling to speak. She does not like going to traditional schools and engages in behaviors which result in her leaving the traditional school environment.

This book is told through POV chapters titled "Suzette" or "Hanna” The reader gets a glimpse into the mind of each. Hanna is the proverbial "bad" seed who acts out and has behaviors which get her into all kinds of trouble. Although she is seven years old, she had thoughts and actions, I would associate with a much older child. While reading the book, I kept waiting for the light bulb to go off over Alex's head and for him to finally "see the light". Suzette, being the target of most of her daughter's bad behaviors, struggles with feelings ranging from wanting to help her daughter, fearing her child, and wanting to not have to deal with her child anymore.

For me this book was a solid 3 stars. I thought of the movie, "The Good Son" while reading this book. Hanna has "evil" thoughts and is perhaps mentally ill. I won’t say more about the family or their family dynamic. Hanna is creepy, and this book is a fast read but most of the actions felt "gratuitous" and there for shock value to move the story along. There are a lot of negative behaviors, actions and thoughts in this book that it almost became too much. As characters spiraled out of control, the pace picked up but again things just felt gratuitous. Some may also be turned off by the way Suzette speaks to her child. I get that the Author is trying to show how frustrated Suzette is with her child and how Hanna has pushed Suzette to the breaking point. Still, it may not sit well with some. I would describe this book as good not great. For me there was something missing. Initially I really enjoyed the book but as I read more, I felt a disconnect but still wanted to know how the book was going to end. There was a battle going on and I wanted to see who won - even though no one really wins in these situations.

I am curious to see what future books this Author writes.

I received a copy of this book from St. Martin's Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

See more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,011 reviews15.7k followers
July 15, 2018
4 controversial stars🌟🌟🌟🌟

*** I am updating my rating to a solid 4 Stars for the following reasons....
• I read this book in February and it has stayed with me over the last six months and as much as I read that absolutely says something!
• I allowed other peoples opinions to sway my own when it came to this book, and that was not fair to the book or to the author!
*** I still stand by every word in my review, this was a very compelling and engaging read for ME!

I believe I’m going to bust out my complement sandwich for this review... as a refresher a complement sandwich is good/bad/good.... so in short the bad is sandwiched in between the good..... I also want to make it very clear that I read this with a group and I was in the true minority on this.... so the opinions in this review are absolutely my own and my review should be read with the understanding that this book is unquestionably not for everybody....

This book is about Hannah a seven-year-old who has some pretty major issues.... one of them being the fact that she wants to get rid of her mother.... for good....Suzette is an exhausted mother at the end of her rope, what has she done to deserve this child? As a mother I would love to believe that I would do all the right things in this situation, but next to Hana my children are absolute perfection (just don’t tell them that)..... I felt the author did a good job in the portrayal of the parents the overly stressed out mother and the oblivious father.... and the tension this would put on a relationship when Dad chooses to pretend that daughter is perfectly normal and mom wants to pull her hair out....

Now to the meat of the sandwich, the problems I had with this book.... hannah’s age was probably my biggest problem, I just found it very unbelievable that a child of her age was able to have the thought process and knowledge that she did no matter how gifted she was..... this I believe leads to the real problem if Hannah were 12(The age I believe A character who acted as she did was more apt to be) then she probably would have already been diagnosed and been in some major therapy.... however this also begs the question why was she not in major therapy at seven? Perhaps Alex and Suzette were not parents of the year, but they did take her to see several doctors and I’m not quite sure why more wasn’t done at a younger age? Although if something were done at a younger age we would not have had this book.... so perhaps that is the reason....

This was a quick page turning red that probably would be better classified as horror..... and if this is a genre you stay away from I’d definitely recommend staying away from this book.... this is a book that you can’t say you liked it, but I will say I appreciated it.... it definitely made me think, what would I do if I were this mother? And I believe sometimes it is hard not to judge in this situation, but I am a firm believer that unless you have walked in somebody’s shoes you really have no idea what is going on in their life and that’s kind of how I looked at this book....

So I’m going to take the easy way out and neither recommend this book or not recommend this book.... I’m going to leave it up to you, because this book evoked some pretty seriously strong reactions in people.... so if you choose to read it, read it knowing there is some disturbing content and it is 100% not for everybody....

*** thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for a copy of this book ***
Profile Image for Tammy.
506 reviews422 followers
October 10, 2018
Is it possible for a child to be a psychopath? Is aberrant behavior the result of nature or nuture ? These are questions I’ll leave to minds far better than mine. This is a deeply unsettling novel about the proverbial bad seed. It is told from the alternating points of view of the mother and child. Hanna is seven years old and silent which make her thoughts and consuming love for her father all the more chilling. Manipulative and malicious, Hanna has one goal and it isn’t pretty. We are talking about one very twisted sister here. On occasion I felt empathy for Hanna until she acted out in ways that were unimaginable. Child from hell aside, this book is also about the perfect facade of a dysfunctional family and the sinister telling of mangled psyches. Pathological behavior has to come from somewhere, doesn’t it? And the ending? I’m not going to tell you about that.
Profile Image for Larry.
76 reviews8,780 followers
August 28, 2020
Story well written, back and forth between mother and daughter perspective. Enjoyed most of the book, but have to admit the ending left me a little empty.
Profile Image for Taryn.
325 reviews294 followers
February 13, 2018
"There’s nothing scarier than loving a child and not understanding what they’re trying to tell you—”

There's not enough room in the house for both Hanna and her Mommy! Seven-year-old Hanna would be so much happier if Mommy would just disappear so that she and her Daddy could live happily ever after. Through Hanna and Suzette's (Mommy) eyes, we see their daily battles to maintain control in an unpredictable, ever-changing world and what it's like to maneuver through life when no one will hear you. The people in this story are permanently tied together by blood, but have toxic effects on each other. (Warning: After the ARC disclaimer, I get a little spoilery talking about a part of the book that came up in my comment section, though I don't really consider it a true spoiler. The content may be upsetting for some.)

It was hard to pour endless love into someone who wouldn’t love you back. No one could do it forever.

Yet another book for the "What the heck is wrong with me?" pile! I want to emphasize that I say that in jest! I don't actually think there is anything wrong with anyone who reads this book, whether they like it or not. I don't even think it's the most scandalous book to sweep through the Goodreads community (or middle school hallways lol)! However, it's horrific, creepy, and disturbing. I have always found value in disturbing stories. Sometimes it can make us more empathetic. Reading uncomfortable material has helped me avoid danger by exposing me to a wide range of situations and people I couldn't have possibly experienced myself. Sometimes it's more effective or "safer" to explore difficult concepts from a distance or through the filter of absurdity. I think disturbing books have less value to those who have close experience with the topics being addressed. There are certain topics I avoid completely or can only handle in certain formats (fiction over nonfiction, written over visual). This book will not be for everyone. Know your limits!

Baby Teeth is exactly what I expected from reading the description. I'm totally fascinated by terrifying kids: The Bad Seed, The Good Son, even Stewie Griffin from Family Guy! Hanna is a true terror. I live for the "Whaaaaaaat?" moments in horror and she certainly provided plenty of those. I questioned some of Hanna's actions due to her age, but the whole story is so over-the-top that I just accepted it within the context of the story. The controversy comes from Hanna's murderous antics and Suzette treating Hanna like an enemy combatant. I'll leave Hanna's shocking actions for you to discover, but there's actually a ton to analyze beyond her constantly escalating behavior!

• Suzette/Mommy - "Too many things in her life were tinged with horror." Suzette has suffered from unpredictable Crohn's Disease since she was a teenager. Not only is Suzette’s own body attacking her, but she’s being attacked by her own child. Motherhood is not measuring up to her expectations. She told herself she would never be like her own inattentive mother, but she's completely blindsided when she's dealt a different version of the same hand.
Hanna's parents can tick all the boxes on a “Signs that Your Kid Might Be a Sociopath” list. As creepy and devious as Hanna is, I actually developed a soft spot for her! She senses that her mom resents her and has a deep fear of abandonment. Even though many of her perceptions are unfounded, it's all very real to her. She's always reading the behavior of the adults around her, but it's through the distorted lens of her own limited experience. To be fair, the adults aren't so good at reading things either!
Alex/Daddy is in deep denial. He refuses to listen to his wife or any professional who dares to insinuate that Hanna is anything less than perfect. There's never direct evidence of her worst offenses and he dismisses the minor behavioral problems as the boredom of an extremely intelligent child. His peacekeeping attempts fuel the conflict between mother and daughter.


Body Horror
• Suzette's body has betrayed her repeatedly. She is under a doctor's care, but she's constantly worried about the next flare-up. When Suzette becomes pregnant she felt a loss of self. It's like an alien overtook her body! Pregnancy caused her to lose control of her body because she wasn't able to take her medications.
• Hanna expresses discomfort at the idea of her baby teeth falling out. I think aging—and the separation that comes with it—causes distress for her. She also notices Suzette's preoccupation with appearances and it colors the way she sees the world. She frequently attacks Suzette in ways that will disfigure her, in hopes that Daddy will see Suzette the way she does. She thinks if Suzette is unattractive, Daddy will finally see the light and leave.

• Hanna frequently describes seeing her Mommy's masks: Good Mommy and Bad Mommy. Everything is black-and-white in her seven-year-old mind and there's no room for complexity. In her mind, Bad Mommy is the real one. Daddy is the consistent parent who loves her unconditionally. Hanna panics when adults put on unexpected masks or act weird because it makes her feel a loss of control.
• Alex's denial of Hanna's behavioral issues is a costume of sorts.
• Born bad? Interestingly enough, Hanna has to conjure up a demonic pal to help her with her worst acts. Hanna feels more comfortable putting herself out there when her friend around. (Hanna's imaginary pal was a victim of self-preservation and other peoples' misinterpretations of the world around them.)

She didn’t like that they were both focused on her; their misguided expectations formed a black hole in her gut. Black holes were dangerous; they absorbed everything around them, and maybe some parts of her that she needed would tumble into the abyss. (Hanna)

Perfection/Desire for Control
• Suzette's life and body are in constant turmoil, so it's important that she takes care of the things she does have control over. She's obsessed with keeping a sterile house and making sure her family appears well taken care of. She finds comfort in completing mindless tasks. Suzette is tormented by her physical scars and she's terrified that she'll have to get an ileostomy bag.  She thinks that if she lets herself go, Alex might leave her.
• Because of Hanna's need for control, she finds comfort in solitude and math. Hanna knows she's different and not in a good way: "She knew what adults liked and didn’t like: rabbit-like girls who kept still and never raised their voice were good; dragon-like girls who roared and stomped and flew and generated their own fire were bad."  Mommy notices Hanna's failings the most, so she faces the full brunt of Hanna's wrath. The pressure to be something she's not is too much for Hanna. A fear of failure stunts her growth (refusal to talk, refusal to draw). She's terrified of going to school and freaks out at the mention of it. She's drawn to ugly stuffed creatures, relieved to have a friend that is "ugly, broken."

A vengeful pit grew inside her and it remained to be seen how it would grow—very possibly into a tree with snaking branches and claws. How fun it would be to be such a tree, looming like a giant on a neighborhood street. People would pass beneath her, and the ones she didn’t like—snap snap crunch! She’d snatch them up and tangle her branches around them, and their bones would break with little crunches that would be mistaken for the snap of a twig. Her bark-self would absorb their yummy blood and the tree would grow and thrive. (Hanna)

Communication/Inability to Communicate:
• Suzette's mother's inattention to Suzette's pain had disastrous consequences for Suzette. When Suzette met Alex, she finally found someone who would listen to her. But when it comes to Hanna, he's completely blind. He gets to be the fun parent, while Suzette has to deal with a defiant child and day-to-day child rearing. Now, it's Alex who's not listening to her. She's ashamed that her own child is rejecting her and is beginning to question her own perceptions. Throughout the story, she’s drawn to authoritative adults who take the time to listen to her and offer to help her take control of the situation.
• Hanna doesn't talk, but she has a vivid imagination. She's frustrated that words don't come out the way she intends. She hears her parents in the bedroom and is upset at this "language" that excludes her. She tried to communicate with them by grunting, but they STILL don't understand her. Hanna experiences overwhelming relief when she meets a person who finally finds a way to communicate with her effectively and takes the time to understand her.

Hanna would sit there, watching them, trying to decipher the puffs of smoke. How much had her young brain already misconstrued? Observing, absorbing. Warping, twisting. Drawing conclusions about everything they did.

THE BIG ONE: How perceptive young children are and how they process the world around them.
• There's a constant battle of wills between Suzette and Hanna, but they actually have a lot in common. In some ways, Suzette and Hanna's relationship seems like a continuation of Suzette's fraught relationship with her own mother. Suzette's mother was completely unmindful of the psychological and physical damage she was inflicting on Suzette. Like Hanna, Suzette was constantly disappointed by her mother and she wanted her mother to prove herself worthy of her love. Even when she was pushing her mother away, it was important to her that her mother make an effort to reach out: "It was a child’s selfish desire, but mothers were meant to be selfless."
• The pivotal moment in Hannah and Suzette's relationship is when Suzette is inappropriately candid with two-year-old Hanna. She doesn't consider how much Hanna can understand or how a young child with limited experience might process the information. It's a frustrating scene to witness, because of all the miscommunications that ignite the toxic cycle of Hanna and Suzette's relationship: Hannah is stressed out because Mommy is acting weird→Hanna tries to get her Mommy's attention the only way a two-year-old can→ Suzette interprets it as yet another one of her maternal failings, when Hanna is actually just being a normal toddler→The situation spirals out of control.


This is the story of mothers, daughters and the unmet expectations between them. Both Hanna and Suzette struggle with feelings of exclusion and fears of abandonment. Their similarities widen the gap between them. Was Hanna born sick or did her parents exacerbate the situation? Could this be the explosive reaction of nature and nurture? I didn't see any answers, but I couldn't help but wonder if Hanna would've turned out a tad different if her parents were better equipped to handle her.

Making me soften towards Hanna and harden towards Suzette was quite the authorial feat! I really liked this book because there was a lot to analyze and the characters are memorable. It reminded me to be careful when I talk in front of children because they are listening to every word! This book isn't for everyone and it's NOT uplifting! Recommended if you're in the mood to read about a fictional family's trainwreck of a life! :)

I received this book for free from NetGalley and St. Martin's Press. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. It will be available on July 17, 2018!

Since my morals were questioned due to my liking this book, I want to be very clear about what I liked and why some parts didn't shock me enough to ruin the book for me. Below I summarize one of the parts causing controversy and how I read it. It's just one more thing on the pile of things Hanna does, so it mostly just spoils the shock. Proceed at your own risk. It might be upsetting or spoilery to some.

..............................................SPOILER TIME!---
I hesitate to say that the following are the most disturbing scenes in the book because Hanna gets more determined and violent as the story goes on. However, the upsetting part for many readers occurs around 40%:
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,036 reviews3,555 followers
February 24, 2018
Tough call on this one. Enjoyed the author - well written. With that said, the over-the-top subject matter was so shocking to me it was difficult to keep my perspective. For that reason alone, it just wasn’t for me. Though I'm definitely in the minority here.

Mothers are daughters....

Hanna is 7 years old and Daddy’s little girl. Her world revolves around her love for dear daddy.
Now her mother...well, that’s another matter. If only mommy wasn’t around...if only she didn’t have to share daddy with her.

Suzette loves her husband more than anything in this world. They have a daughter, Hanna, who she desperately wants to love too. But she just can’t get there. No connection or bond whatsoever. No, this isn’t just your typical riff between a parent and a teenager. Hanna is only seven. So who’s to blame for this total disconnect? Sweet little Hanna, or emotionally exhausted Suzette?

As the hurtful acts between mother and daughter escalate, reading this book became more difficult. So hard to imagine a seven year old child plotting and carrying out the despicable acts that she committed. It was really just too dark and depressing for me. (Even though my inner-voice kept trying to remind me…it’s just a book!) Perhaps if the child was portrayed as older, capable of higher level of thought it might have been more palatable for me.

Many other readers and reviewers really enjoyed this book, so I hope if you do pick it up, it works for you too!!

Thank you to NetGalley, St Martin’s Press and Zoje Stage for an ARC to review in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Arah-Lynda.
337 reviews523 followers
February 26, 2018
Boy you can bet I am glad to see the back of this baby. Teeth or no.

Not going to lie I did not care for this at all.

For those of you who do not know, Baby Teeth is the story of Hanna, a little girl who is determined to kill her mother.

Of course any story of this nature is going to be an uncomfortable read and I was very aware of that hurdle from the onset. That said, no doubt I would have found this more unsettling than I did, had I bought into any of it. I did not.

The story is told through two perspectives; that of Hanna, the little girl and her mother Suzette. From the very beginning I had a difficult time connecting with these voices. They did not ring true for me.

I never found that what was happening on the page felt real, no tension, no drama.

It all seemed too contrived, too bent on shocking and horrifying the reader in as many gratuitous ways as possible.

Sorry folks but for me this was a shallow basin.

As always my thanks to St. Martin’s Press, NetGalley and Zoje Stage for an opportunity to read and review this book. :)
Profile Image for Theresa Alan.
Author 10 books1,001 followers
April 9, 2018
This novel is described as a thriller. I think it would be better categorized as horror. It’s told from the point of view of an exasperated stay-at-home mom, Suzette, and her seven-year=old daughter, Hannah. Hannah refuses to speak. When Dad is home, she is smiley and delightful. When he’s at work, she does her best to make her mom’s life a living hell. When Suzette tries to enroll her first in preschool, then kindergarten, then first grade, Hannah snarls at teachers and starts fires and hurts other children. Suzette has no choice but to do her best to home school her. She has battled debilitating health issues of her own since high school and having this out-of-control child is not helping her physical or mental health.

This is not a fun read. It’s gripping, but it’s really hard for me to imagine a child who hates her mother so much. I’ve read stories of kids who are physically and emotionally abused by a parent, and still the kid professes love for his or her parent. So to have a child so young purposely trying to do anything she can to destroy a non-abusive mother is extremely foreign to me.

This book is well written. It’s a tense, disturbing read. So, if you’re in the mood for that, you might enjoy this.

Thanks so much to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review this novel, which RELEASES JULY 17, 2018.
Profile Image for Tina.
495 reviews770 followers
March 11, 2021
4.5 *

What a book! This one has been on my TBR list for a very long time and I can't believe it's taken me this long to read it.

This story is dark and at times hard to read but I was fully engaged from beginning to end. The writing is easy and flows nicely together throughout all the chapters.

Hanna is seven years old and lives with her mom, Suzette and father, Alex. She has never spoken a word until one day she tells her mom she is a witch. The story takes a crazy turn. All throughout this book I was left wondering what was really happening with this child. Perhaps my only complaint is that I think Hanna was a little too young for some of the things she was doing. I think it would have been a bit more believable had she been a little older.

As a parent this book has left me stunned. It makes you think. Really think. All psychopaths and sociopaths were once children. Can this type of mental illness really be reversed if caught early enough? The writing was so good that I felt every emotion these parents felt. I hear this one will be made into a movie. I really can't wait.

I'd like to kindly thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for granting me access to this Advanced Reader Copy. I'm so glad I finally got around to reading this one!
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,415 reviews7,426 followers
July 17, 2018

Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

This book doesn’t come out until Summer of 2018, which really sucks - - - FOR ALL OF YOU!!!! Did you fall for that?????

In all seriousness, when I made a placeholder This Is America, I Want It Now “review” it was more like me channeling my inner Oprah and putting this out into the universe à la The Secret in hopes of winning the Goodreads Giveaway. When I received an e-mail from St. Martin’s Press offering me an advanced copy …. well, y’all probably heard me screaming across the entire planet. Then when it came I did really assholey super nice things like rub it in my friend’s face share my joy . . . .

Mitchell was happy to see me take a leap off the porn wagon and had much excite about our potentially stabby windfall as well . . . .

I was so excited I didn’t even remember to update my status that I was reading it. Since I never put it down until I was finished, there wasn’t much point. *shrug*

Being as Baby Teeth doesn’t come out for another seven months, I’m a little hamstrung when it comes to doing much more than singing its praises. To be honest, I’m not even sure if I’m supposed to be posting a review, but since I didn’t receive any blatant instructions not to, I will wait for my cease and desist letter before taking this down : )

The synopsis here is straightforward. Hanna loves Daddy. Hanna does not love Mommy. In fact, things would be perfect if Mommy wasn’t in the picture at all.

Now, before you even start naysaying about how this story has been told before I need you to kindly STFU. Even Mark Twain said, “There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.” So yes, simply put this story has been told before . . . .

And before that . . . .

And even before that back in the olde days of yore by a dude named Longfellow . . . .

“There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.”

I’m telling you it doesn’t matter. Obviously if you didn’t like any of those stories you should probably save your dollars and refrain from buying this one. Zoje Stage is quite the wordsmith, but I don’t think she has a magic wand that will make you like things you normally hate . . . (But maybe Marie-Anne does????) If you did enjoy those others, Baby Teeth will be a sure winner. And there is a fresh take here because Hanna isn’t a cookie cutter of those other children. Neither is her mother. I’d love to say more, but I’m pretty sure my next communication from St. Martin’s Press would go a little summin like . . . .

What I am going to do is break BEND (just bending please don’t send me that cease and desist) the rules and give you just a taste of an edited snippet in order to hopefully not piss off the powers that be of what Baby Teeth has to offer (and please remember, that I did receive an ARC, so this may change – but I hope it doesn’t) . . . .

Hanna giggled and kept writing. When she was ready, she held up her masterpiece.

‘Fuck Mommy. She is week and stupid.’

“… By the way, you used the wrong spelling – it’s w-e-A-k.”

One final note: You may be wondering why I haven’t talked about “Daddy” more. Here’s what I have to say to him . . . .

I’m going to go ahead and leave it at that before all the words start shooting out of my fingers. I’ll be breaking BENDING – JUST BENDING my own rule come summertime-summertime-sum-sum-summertime and floating this review in order to make sure it is on everyone’s radar. Then all you fellow weirdos have to go get a copy, read it and come back so we can talk about Hanna and Mommy under spoilsie code because I have sooooooo many things I want to barf out all over here about my thoughts and feelz.

Endless thanks goes to Jordan at St. Martin’s Press for this opportunity. I don’t know how a debut author convinces a major publishing house to go all in like it appears you guys are doing for this little story, but I think you hit the jackpot. Congrats in advance, you picked a good ‘un.


Have you SEEN this synopsis?????

Dear Zoje Stage: This is America, I want it now ; )

Profile Image for Matt.
3,673 reviews12.8k followers
March 1, 2018
First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Zoje Stage, and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

In her debut novel, Zoje Stage has made quite a name for herself. Exploring some dark and disturbing areas of the parent-child relationship, the reader is forced to see a seemingly calm little girl turn against her own mother. Hanna Jensen appears to be quite the average four-year-old girl, with one glaring exception; she does not speak and never has. Countless tests and examinations have left her parents, Alex and Suzette, baffled, as there is nothing physical wrong with her. With her muteness comes the added issue that she is unable to acclimate into any scholastic situation, leaving Suzette to homeschool Hanna. While there is no verbal communication, Hanna’s comprehension and written word is advanced for her young age. What no one has been able to see is that Hanna has another side, a darker side that is focussed on tearing Suzette down in a well-planned manner. Hanna internalises her struggle, but is happy to show her mother an evil side and purposely sabotage any progress that is being made. What begins as simple defecating on the floor turns to barking and, eventually, full-on violence in a school setting. While Suzette tries to come to terms with this, Alex is oblivious and sees only the princess-like girl that Hanna presents on a nightly basis. After Hanna tips her hand and shows off an alter-ego, Suzette is no longer prepared to go at this alone, but Alex remains uncertain that Hanna is to blame for anything. Hanna sets out her own plan to get rid of Suzette once and for all, allowing her to have Alex’s attention forevermore. While Suzette knows it is coming, she is helpless to slay the monster before her, seeing it has taken the form of sweet Hanna Jensen. Stage weaves together quite the disturbing tale here, pitting parental instinct against base survival. Fans who enjoy a diluted psychological thriller may enjoy this one, as its presentation has rounded edges and light spine tingles.

When this novel was recommended to me by a friend, I wanted to give it my full attention, not only because of its subject matter, but also because it would fit perfectly into a reading challenge requirement. It would seem that Stage has found herself with a great deal of Goodreads activity where reviews continue to grow on both sides of the fence. I can see where both the five- and one-star folks are coming from, having been able to situate myself somewhere in the middle. The characters found herein are perfectly crafted and complement one another so well. Hanna is that young child who has a love of her father and inherent dislike of her mother, partially because there is a need to share, but also due to the fact that Suzette is her primary caregiver. Hanna manifests her dislike from disobedience through to full plotting of injury and death of the woman who has nothing but confused love for her. As the story progresses, Hanna’s character turns darker, especially with the revelation of an alter-ego, though things always bounce back when Alex is in the room, which only perpetuates the tug-of-war between the parental units. Suzette, on the other hand, is a woman who has suffered much medical and emotional turmoil in her life and has had to wrestle with a mother of her own who could not care about her. Suzette seeks to be a better mother and person, but Hanna seems to bring out the worst and they battle regularly. While Suzette may seem the paranoid one, her significant time and experiences with Hanna fuels this push to have her daughter examined by professionals, while Alex seeks to protect his offspring. Many of the secondary characters work well here, especially in peeling back the onion and seeing just how destructive Hanna can be, even if her father refuses to see it. The story itself is well-done, choosing to alternate chapters from the perspective of Hanna and Suzette. One could see where things were going, but it was a matter of how swiftly they would get there and how outlandish things could get by the end. Where I struggled with this novel was the intensity level. True, not all books have to have “psychopathic serial killers” to be successful, but I felt Stage wanted to unveil the truly demonic side of Hanna on a regular basis, but diluted it for reasons unknown. I wanted to be shocked and feel Suzette’s pain, but it almost seemed as though some of the narrative chose to gloss over things, lessening the impact. Still, for a debut novel, Stage kept me curious, especially with the ongoing symbolism that the attentive reader will gather as they forge ahead in this piece. Well constructed and I would surely give Zoje Stage another try, hoping that she and her publisher take some of the criticisms that are coming out, to heart.

Kudos, Madam Stage, for this very interesting debut. I can see much potential within the genre and hope you’ll keep writing. Your fan base is sure to grow exponentially, especially with all the popularity this book is receiving online.

This book fulfils Topic #4 (Title/Author Beginning with Q, X, or Z) of the A Book for All Seasons (Equinox #2) Book Challenge.

Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,069 reviews2,673 followers
August 3, 2020
This is a book about a demented, cruel, entirely too precocious to be realistic, mute seven year old girl. It's about a mom who has no confidence in herself and a dad who is willingly oblivious to any fault in his child, placing his child before his wife, when there is any question about the child acting out. The ending could suggest a sequel, especially because it seems like the book ended when there was so much more to learn...when finally things were going somewhere.

Suzette grew up with a severely depressed, cold mother who did nothing to help her deal with her crohn's disease, until she had to have emergency surgery at 17. What followed was years of more pain and coldness from her mother, as she dealt with compilations of the surgery. Eventually she would go to college, got a degree and met her future husband at her first job. Alex is a loving husband but once they have their child Hannah and realize that she has some problems, Alex puts Hannah first in everything. Suzette, due lack of confidence in herself, from her life with a cold, uncaring mom, never stands up to Alex when what this family and demented child needed, was a united front from her parents, people who would put their foot down, and also would do anything to try to really help Hannah, rather than put the blame on any institution or person who would find fault with Hannah, where it rightly belonged. These parents are filled with guilt, thinking they are a cause of Hannah's problems while I believe she was born that way.

We read the book from the perspective of Suzette and Hannah, each chapter alternating that perspective. I enjoyed the book but was frustrated by some of the actions of the mom...her passiveness in the face of danger (she often destroyed evidence that could prove what Hannah was doing) and her complete lack of use of modern technology to help record Hannah's demented behavior (she could have easily made use of the camera, video and audio recorders on her phone), Alex was such a useless dad during most of the book, making things even harder in fact, as he coddled Hannah and made it clear he believed her over his wife.

Then there is Hannah, who refused to talk even though she is physically capable of doing so and does so as her alter ego. Her thoughts and actions are those of a much older person, not those of an isolated, mute seven year old. Hannah thinks that life would be perfect if she could murder her mom and have dad all to herself and her attempts to do so escalate until Alex finally has to believe that his daughter is a sociopath/psychopath. Once appropriate action has taken place, the book abruptly ends, just when I was hoping we could learn more. We do learn one thing from Hannah and that is that her mom had better watch out!

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this ARC.
Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews12k followers
July 20, 2018
4 Disturbingly Good and Twisted Stars to BABY TEETH!

Why I wanted to read this one……This book was a Traveling Sisters Group Read that I missed out on reading and with the so many strong reactions and thoughts towards this book I just knew that I had to read it! I don’t think I have ever been so interested in finding out what my thoughts would be over a book like I was with this one.

So what did I think…….Well, I quite enjoyed it! Now there were a few scenes intended to shock the reader which I think would definitely make this book not an enjoyable read for some but, for this reader to be totally honest once I read those scenes they were totally forgotten. Until, after finishing the book and then discussing it with Brenda then I was like oh right, I forgot all about those scenes. I was just so entertained in how devious and manipulative Hanna was towards her mother, Suzette that I really needed to know how this story would play out. When I wasn’t reading this book, I was thinking about it.

BABY TEETH by ZOJE STAGE is a disturbing, uncomfortable, and downright creepy tale about a 7-year-old girl named Hanna that wants her Daddy all to herself but her Mommy (Suzette) stands in her way of her happily ever after.

ZOJE STAGE delivers quite the chilling tale here that was well-written with an easy to read writing style to make this quite the fast-paced read. The story is told in alternating voices and perspectives between Suzette and Hanna, I enjoyed both of their perspectives equally. The things that Hanna was capable of was downright diabolical and creepy!

What I didn't like…..The only thing that I questioned here though was if a seven-year-old was actually capable of doing some of the acts that she did in this book.

I was totally immersed in this tale and found it quite the entertaining and enjoyable read but I do understand that this book will not be for everyone so with that I recommend with caution. If you love a good horror or a dark psychological thriller you should really enjoy this one though! I know I do and did!

Publishing Date: July 17, 2018

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Zoje Stage, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

Review written and posted on our themed book blog:
Two Sisters Lost In A Coulee Reading

Coulee: a term applied rather loosely to different landforms, all of which refer to a kind of valley.
Where I live I am surrounded by Coulees!
Profile Image for Shannon.
166 reviews326 followers
February 6, 2018
Okay okay okay... Let me ask you this. Do you have kids? Has your child ever freaked out in a restaurant or in a store? If you don’t have kids I bet you’ve thought “lady, get this kid out of here!” And I do! Because 👏🏼 mama 👏🏼 don’t 👏🏼 play 👏🏼! Now, a little tantrum every now and then is normal (believe me, my 5 year old still speaks whinese 🙄) BUT in Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage you get way more than a little tantrum!! Like, dayuum!!

Dennis asked me how I was feeling this story. My answer = “it’s nuts, weird, strange but I love it”. For real, this was one wild story and I ate it all up! It made me FEEL so many feels. I was pissed, grossed out, felt creeped out and had me looking at my own child like, huh🤔.

So, maybe I should get to the review. Sweet little Hanna is 7 years old and is silent. She loves her daddy, Alex, so much. Mommy, Suzette, is awful and she needs to go. Hanna wants daddy’s attention all to herself. This is told in alternating POV between Hanna and Suzette.

Suzette has to homeschool Hanna because she is mute and has been kicked out of multiple schools. She is starting to notice more and more that sweet little Hanna may not be so sweet after all. Her behavior is disturbing in and outside the home. Hanna’s manipulative enough to never let Daddy see her evil schemes.

Once Suzette starts mentioning to Alex about their daughter’s behavior he doesn’t believe it. How can his sweet little girl do any of the creepy things that are being described. Even when the schools tell the parents about Hanna’s schemes, Alex isn’t willing to consider it.

After reading the final chapter I was smiling. I was like, yassss, Suzette get it! To be honest, if I were Suzette I have no idea what I would do! Your child after you? Creepy AF. I would have set up a camera though and have her set up, but that’s just me and I’m all about that evidence!

All in all, I loved it. I like messed up books. Creepy child? Sign me up! Thank you St. Martin’s for sending me a widget of Baby Teeth for an honest review! I recommend! 4.5 stars! Out in July!
March 5, 2021
4 stars!

Highly disturbing yet undeniably addictive.

Hanna is seven-years-old and has never spoken a word. Doctors cannot find a medical explanation for Hanna’s lack of verbal communication. Hanna’s mother, Suzette, spends her days looking after Hanna and home schooling her while her husband, Alex, works long hours. Suzette dotes on Hanna’s every need, yet has never truly felt the mother-daughter bond she expected. In fact, Suzette has always felt pushed away and despised by Hanna. Suzette’s concerns become intensified when Hanna begins little acts of rebellion and harm on Suzette. Alex sees nothing but a loving, vulnerable daughter while Hanna saves her evil tendencies for her mother in secretive ways.

This book is extremely shocking and uncomfortable. I was on edge and in disbelief for much of this story. Can a child be born with evil inside? Or is the mother exaggerating her experiences? I was horrified while reading many scenes, yet glued to the pages to see how things would turn out. I thought about giving up on the book more than a few times because I wasn’t “enjoying” the storyline, but I honestly couldn’t stop reading. The writing completely sucked me in. I was invested and engrossed and could not put the book down regardless of the horrific subject matter.

The author does an excellent job portraying parents struggling to understand their child’s abnormal behaviour. I felt for Suzette and Alex. My thoughts and beliefs were challenged while reading this.

It is a book that has been on my NetGalley shelf for far too long. Some readers compare this book to the recent release, The Push, which I loved and is what enticed me to pick this up now. I can certainly understand the comparison. I am glad I finally got around to reading this as I think it was well done and is extremely thought-provoking. It’s a difficult book to recommend because it’s very disturbing and would be problematic for many readers. It’s one you need to be prepared for.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC. Thank you to my lovely local library for the loan.
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