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What Big Teeth

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  4,515 ratings  ·  1,275 reviews
Rose Szabo's thrilling debut is a dark and thrilling novel about a teen girl who returns home to her strange, wild family after years of estrangement.

Eleanor Zarrin has been estranged from her wild family for years. When she flees boarding school after a horrifying incident, she goes to the only place she thinks is safe: the home she left behind. But when she gets there, s
Hardcover, 394 pages
Published February 2nd 2021 by FSG
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Average rating 3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,515 ratings  ·  1,275 reviews

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Feb 05, 2022 rated it liked it
There’s a unique quality to the writing and the gothic atmosphere the author sets up throughout the story. My favorite part is the grotesque way that certain characters’ powers are depicted during the climax. I wish there had been a stronger direction with the plot and more development with the family members, as the majority of it ended up being overly dependent on one character (Arthur) - this made it feel like it should have been Arthur’s story rather than the protagonist’s or even her family ...more
Nilufer Ozmekik
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is bizarre, ultra disturbing, mind shattering, shocking!

After seeing this impressively beautiful but also extremely terrifying cover that gives you churning stomach, shaking hands, flabbergasted mental state : you truly expect something evil comes out to haunt you down!

You’re not mistaken my friends, this book froze my blood, I keep trembling since I read the impactful prologue! Somebody has wider teeth to create a true bloody massacre!

This book is creepier than entire Tim Burton movies
Feb 11, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It had to happen. 2021 was obviously going too good in terms of my reading. I'd already hit 10 books, two of which were 5 star reads (which I don't give out that frequently). While most of the books were 3 star reads, there was nothing particularly bad. It was looking like a pretty great reading year with not a bad book in sight.

Then I read this.

Let me state this flat out. I. Hate. This. Book. Very few books manage to actively make me mad while reading them, congrats book, you're one of the fe
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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Sometimes when I'm reading a book, I imagine the characters with real people, but this was a book I pictured in animation because it has the sort of phantasmagorical surrealism that can only really be achieved in the abstract. WHAT BIG TEETH has mixed reviews because it is a densely stylistic book that copies the moody, brooding atmosphere of 1970s Gothic melodramas and exploitation horror films, and the two books I can really think of t
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I don’t freaking know!!

I don’t buy very many books any more that I haven’t read through the library first. Once in a blue moon and I’m even skipping book boxes until I stop all together. BUT, this was one of those beautiful covers with an awesome synopsis.

And I’m not saying the book was bad! I loved the hell out of the characters and the weirdassness, but I don’t half know what was going on. Plus, I finally just wanted it to end, when before I was very intrigued.

I don’t think I’m going to eve
Sep 15, 2020 marked it as to-read
oh, this looks and sounds kinda perfect

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Katie Colson
May 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
What a weirdo. Hecka Addams Family vibes. And you KNOW we love some Addams Family in this house.
It reads like a fairytale of a family where some of them can turn into wolves, one is basically a bog person, some can make people do things with their minds/words. It is all quite odd and honestly a pretty great time.
I didn't end up thinking about it after it was over because none of the characters really stuck with me. But the premise and oddities of the over all story were so cool that I had
Amy Imogene Reads
3.5 stars

This debut is filled with teeth, ominous undertones, and horror-set vibes. A very interesting debut, even if it didn't jive for me personally.

Concepts: ★★★★★
Writing style ★★
Use of speculative elements: ★★★ 1/2
Pacing: ★★★
Overall Enjoyment: ★★★ 1/2

Eleanor Zarrin has been away at boarding school for many, many years. But it's time to come home—she has no choice. What greets her at home is her family...shapeshifters, eldritch horrors mixed with human features, the family friend who eats not
Tricia Levenseller
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
I should read more horror, because I really enjoy it. And this one was fabulous! Don’t miss it when it releases next year!
h o l l i s
This wasn't quite what I was expecting after being hooked by that absolutely incredible cover and then, very quickly after, by the pitch.

I honestly don't quite know what this was. It's such a hodge podge of so many things, and almost feels like twelve different stories in one -- a bizarre mix of everything in the pantry plus the kitchen sink -- and so sometimes I would love a taste, other times I would wonder who thought to mix such things together and why, and then even still I would just be hu
Chelsea Humphrey
DNF @ 39%

I can tell that this one isn't going to be for me, and I don't want to press on just for the purpose of writing a poor review when it could be the perfect read for someone else. My issues mainly lie in the fact that I'm so incredibly confused with what is going on and the purpose behind the story. Hopefully, this gorgeous cover will reel in the reader who will appreciate this book.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
**2.5-stars rounded up**

Here's the thing, normally when I finish a book, I like to let it stew for a while before I write my review.

Generally, I will rate a book, write a couple of quick thoughts and return at a later time to compose a full review; giving myself permission to alter that initial rating.

It doesn't happen often, but sometimes I will raise or lower the rating depending on how the story has impacted me more long-term.

Unfortunately, What Big Teeth is the type of story that I feel lik
This is such a gloriously atmospheric book, complete with old creaking houses perching on towering cliffs over damp seas, squabbling werewolf families and the looming threat of something stranger and older.

Having just run away from boarding school, heroine Eleanor returns home to her strange family and their grand old house tucked away in thick forests on the coast of Maine. Going into the book, I assumed it was a contemporary fantasy, but I believe it's actually historical? It's hard to place,
Hilly ♡
Mar 15, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror-gothic
2.5 stars

My love is a haunted house, a ghost possessing his own body, a fire that burns itself alive.

Since last year, after reading Wilder Girls, I’m always on the lookout for something that sounds sciency and weird on that same level. This book is in fact compared to WG (spoiler alert: that’s a total lie). Plus it sounded like a good time (and it was at first), but in the end it didn’t impress me at all. It leaves you groping in the dark for the majority of it with nothing to grab onto. You
Jan 26, 2021 rated it did not like it
Thanks a bunch to Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, the Fierce Reads team, and Netgalley for my copy of What Big Teeth!


What immediately drew me to this book was its absolutely stunning cover. A beautiful cover will always grab my attention, and the premise was full of promise that I was sure to enjoy.

But I didn’t.

In fact, this was unfortunately one of the most frustrating books I’ve read in a long time.

Something about Eleanor makes her an outsider in a family of monsters, enough to make so
Angela Staudt
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thank you to BookishFirst and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

What Big Teeth has to be the strangest book I’ve ever read. I honestly have never read anything like this, and the dark and bizarre atmosphere had me flipping pages to figure out what was going on. First off, let’s just take a moment to admire one of the creepiest, but most amazing covers out there. The cover is what first drew me in to this book and after the first chapter which was so weird, I knew this was
Valliya Rennell
2.5 stars
**This is a spoiler-filled review**

Yeah what was this? Full disclosure, it did get progressively better but overall it left me going "huh?". We follow Eleanor Zarrin, who just ran away from her school and is going back to see her old family home in a suburban small-town. The Zarrin family has secrets though, for one, they're werewolves. When due to mysterious circumstances, Eleanor is put in charge of the house, she starts making all the wrong choices and discovers that there is so much
Ashley Daviau
Before we get into things, can we just take a second to appreciate how amazing this cover is? I also loved that it was written by a non binary author, I’m always looking to diversify my reading with LGBTQIA+ authors because some of the best damn books I’ve read have come from those voices and they need to be uplifted. That being said, I’m right in the middle with this one, I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it either. Some parts were incredibly interesting and at times I was thoroughly enjoying ...more
Aug 08, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The first 75 pages were amazing: creepy, ominous, poetic, intriguing.

Then she started trying to explain the actual plot and it made little sense and I didn't care at all how it turned out.

By the end I was totally confused that the author seemed to think "family sticks together" was a message supported by this hot mess of jerks who are cruel and threatening and physically violent to one another.
Nov 28, 2021 rated it really liked it

On one hand, WhatBig Teeth is an astonishingly good horror novel about intergenerational trauma and family secrets. On the other hand, it’s blatantly homophobic. So although I absolutely loved this book…I feel bad about doing so.

First, what I liked. Rose Szabo’s debut novel is a beautifully written paranormal/horror tale that feels like a YA answer to last year’s Mexican Gothic, and it would be a good readalike for those who enjoy Rory Powe
Eva B.
Apr 26, 2021 rated it did not like it
This is one of the weirdest books I've ever read, and not in a good way. I found Eleanor to be an incredibly dull lead and the rest of the family far too underdeveloped to interest me. Arthur's story was really the only one that intrigued me, and even then I didn't really care. The prose was nice though. ...more
Carole (Carole's Random Life)
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit! I marked this book as currently reading weeks ago but it really only took me a few days to read it once I had time to sit down with it. I have to admit that one of the main reasons I wanted to read this book was the fabulous cover. The story sounded promising so I was eager to give it a try. Once I started reading this book, I was hooked and ended up having a fantastic time with it.

Eleanor goes back h
Alex (The Scribe Owl)
See this review and more at my blog, The Scribe Owl!

Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

3.5/5 stars

I've read a lot of books, but let me tell you--this is one of the most bizarre books I've read! And that's not a bad thing. I love books that are so out there that I've never read anything like it before! For someone who can't handle a horror novel, I love a creepy gothic read. This book fulfilled that perfectly! The atmosphere, the urban fantasy worldbuildin
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
An eery gothic experience, Szabo weaves an unsettling story of generational evils, grotesque people and actions, and the ones we let in our lives. It's horror, but Lite. There are many reasons to read this, but the atmosphere and setting was the icing on the cake - the Zarrin's secluded house, the surrounding woods, and the family who sent her away. What Big Teeth follows Eleanor returning to her estranged family after a mysterious incident forces her to leave her fancy boarding school. When one ...more
May 23, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
*throws money down aggressively*
A Book Shrew
Nov 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-reads
... What an utterly bizarre book. Like, without a doubt, probably the oddest thing I've read all year.

Full review at A Book Shrew

I dipped into this expecting a dark horror, especially given that fabulous cover. However, while the first few pages held some absolute god-tier haunted house imagery, things got weird pretty quick. The best word that comes to mind when I think about this book: kooky. A creepy, kooky, quirky story. Once I figured out that this was more The Addams Family than a
Charlie ~ Happy Pride Month!
Mar 19, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
DNF at 30 percent

I simply can't with this book. For three reasons. The plot, characters, and overall flow/writing style

First off, the plot is so boring.I could predict everything if I wanted to, and it was just so choppy. It was this happened, then that then that. There was no flow, no ease to the writing. It was very unoriginal and I was very excited for this book. Thanks hype, you let me down again. I wanted some dramatic twist that would hook me, keep me reading. And it tried, oh yes it
Sarah Jayyn

🛁🛁🛁🛁🛁 (five stars as rated in Eleanor's mother's bathtub)

What exactly is Eleanor Zarrin? Born into a family of *mostly* werewolves, one would think she'd follow suit. And yet, she has no fur or snout or shape-shifting ability to speak of. She is no witch like her aunt. Nor is she water dweller like her mother. In fact, no one at all seems sure of exactly what Eleanor is, least of all Eleanor herself. But she's about to find out.
And my, oh my,
what big teeth she has...

What's this, a Gothic horror
Apr 07, 2022 rated it liked it
Inventive, it contains enough Tim Burtonisms as to entice the casual reader. Ready for Hollywood, this one! (Only because the plot is foreseen entirely by the first third of the narrative!)

This is The Munsters meets Encanto... (and oh so PG-13!)
Dec 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Took me a while to decide what to rate this one. I wasn’t really all that into it in the beginning, but as things slowly started to ramp up and the mysteries took hold, I got more and more into the story.

It’s well written and the audiobook was a good listen. I enjoyed the narrator’s voice more and more as it got exciting closer to the end. There is such an eerie feeling throughout the read and it only becomes creepier as things continue. Honestly, I really got into this once we start exploring
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Rose Szabo is a nonbinary writer from Richmond, VA, where they live with an assortment of people and animals and teach writing at VCU. They have an MA in English from the University of Maine and an MFA in creative writing from VCU. Their work has been published in See the Elephant and Quaint magazines. What Big Teeth is their first novel.

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The kids are not all right! In young adult fiction, that is. The past few years have brought with them a serious spike in scary YA stories. So...
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“My love is a haunted house, a ghost possessing his own body, a fire that burns itself alive. A light almost too bright to look at, but I forced myself to look as long as I could.” 12 likes
“I sat with that for a long time. I thought of every person I had met, wondering how many of them had wolves inside them and just had never pulled them out. Or perhaps more horrible: how many of them, in a moment of fear, reached inside themselves for something to save them, and came up empty.” 10 likes
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