What Big Teeth
Published by: Farrar Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication date: February 2nd 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Gothic, Young Adult
Rose Szabo’s thrilling debut What Big Teeth is a dark, gothic fantasy YA novel about a teen girl who returns home to her strange, wild family after years of estrangement, perfect for fans of Wilder Girls.
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, she struggles to fit in with her monstrous relatives, who prowl the woods around the family estate and read fortunes in the guts of birds.
Eleanor finds herself desperately trying to hold the family together. In order to save them all Eleanor must learn to embrace her family of monsters and tame the darkness inside her.
Exquisitely terrifying, beautiful, and strange, this fierce paranormal fantasy will sink its teeth into you and never let go.
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After an incident at her boarding school, Eleanor Zarrin flees back to her family home in the small town of Winterport, Maine. Eleanor doesn't know quite what to expect upon her arrival after being sent away years earlier for being too dangerous. Eleanor can't remember the exact reason that her grandmother Persephone wanted her gone. Upon her return Eleanor is the one frightened of her sister Luma, cousin Rhys and grandfather Miklos' untamed wolf forms, her mother's half coral body and her Aunt Margaret's silent acceptance. As Eleanor tries to figure out her place within her strange family, her Grandmother Persephone dies, leaving her an ominous warning that she must now take care of the family. To do this, Eleanor seeks out her other grandmother and unknowingly unleashes an even larger monster upon the family.
What Big Teeth is a unique young adult fantasy horror that kept me on the edge of my seat as Eleanor unraveled the many strange elements of her family. The writing is immediately engaging, leaving the reading with a constant sense of wanting to know more and needing to dig deeper into the secrets of the Zarrin family. The Zarrin family is filled with many different types of monsters, yet they seem very familiar as they deal with family drama. Every aspect of the Zarrin family pulled me in and left me in a suspenseful state from Persephone's death, to Miklos' and Rhys' wild habits and the oddities of their family friend, Arthur who seems ageless, can only drink Margaret's special coffee blend and may be controlled by Persephone. The addition of Eleanor's other grandmother created yet another mystery and wreaked havoc on every member of the Zarrin family. With her other grandmother, Eleanor learns that she may be the most dangerous monster of them all; and yet, she may be the only one who can save what is left of her family. What Big Teeth is an unexpected gothic tale with many surprising twists and turns.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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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