Book Review // Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Baby Teeth Book Cover Baby Teeth
Zoje Stage
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
St. Martin's Press
July 17, 2018
Hardcover, Digital, Audio
320 Hardcover

Suzette is unable to form a bond with her seven-year-old daughter, who cannot—or will not—speak. Ever since Hanna was a baby, she felt rejected by her. It’s as if the child hates her, leaving Suzette very frightened. Alex wants to believe his wife’s accounts of their daughter’s cruel and unusual behavior, but he’s never seen anything but her love. Is Hanna just a naughty girl whose antics reveal intelligence, creativity, maybe even charm? Or is she actually trying to kill her mother? A powerhouse, razor-sharp novel of psychological suspense from blazing new talent Zoje Stage, Baby Teeth raises more questions than it answers—and will leave you guessing until its shocking conclusion.

Baby Hanna had simple, intuitive needs. Girl Hanna was a box within a box, each layer wrapped in a bow that was really a trickster’s knot.

I am still at a point where I clearly have mixed emotions about Zoje Stage’s novel, Baby Teeth. I found the book to be well thought out and written clearly delivering a psychological thriller, yet, I felt incredibly uncomfortable while reading this story.

Author Zoje Stage understands writing the mind-screw thriller that twists the very questions that readers are throwing around in their own minds while reading. The relationship between mother, Suzette, and her daughter, Hanna, made for a layer of friction that I easily believe could happen to some extent in a family dynamic. The mother, Suzette, constantly questioning herself, placed me on a roller coaster of feeling that mommy was the crazy one and the twist would happen any minute!

Which one is crazy… mommy or daughter?

Hanna dragged a finger across her throat, then let her head loll as she flopped back onto the bed, dead.

I read a story interestingly weaved together enough to keep my attention, because there were so many areas of the story that almost lost me as a reader, completely. Why? It’s like a movie, when a scene is placed to cause shock and awe, and it does, but everyone watching is questioning it and possibly a bit confused as to why the scene even exists. I experienced this quite often in the second half of Baby Teeth.

Don’t get me wrong, there are moments in movies and reading where shock and awe has to happen to drive the story and really develop the upcoming twists, but I was thrown a bit off kilter at some of these WHAT moments. One moment in particular around page 131, when I really questioned as a reader if the scene needed to be quite that involved to get the point across, all I felt was uncomfortable.

I love psychological thrillers because they are a maze of elboarate turns that can lead you down a path of complete unknown. I am amazed at how well authors can piece together threads to develop the story in a way that the reader is constantly questioning themselves – as a reader. Zoje Stage does this. For that reason, I say go for it if you need a new read. I’m definitely interested in seeing what Zoje Stage delivers next in Wonderland due out in 2019 (via her bio).

An author of dark and suspenseful novels, Zoje lives in Pittsburgh, PA. Her debut novel BABY TEETH (St. Martin’s Press) will be released 17 July 2018. It will be released in the UK as BAD APPLE (Transworld).

Come back one the Baby Teeth is officially released, July 2018, and let us know your thoughts!