Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

July 16th, 2018 Kimberly Review 38 Comments

16th Jul
Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
Baby Teeth
by Zoje Stage
Genres: Thriller
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
Goodreads
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Sweetness can be deceptive.

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.

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.

Scary thriller twisted WTF?

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage delivered a fast-paced and twisted tale that will set the reader on edge. Dark, creepy and disturbing you won’t be able to look away. What do you do when daddy’s little girl wants mommy dead?

Caffeinated Aspects

  • Baby Teeth was quite the creepy tale.  It is one I think people will either love it or hate it. I found myself teether precariously between them. One thing is for certain everyone will have an opinion.  We find ourselves inside the home of Alex and Suzette Jensen. They are a family of means, both artistic and parents of an only child,  seven-year-old daughter Hanna.
  • Hanna is brilliant and has a vivid imagination however she has never uttered a word. Rigorous medical testing from scans to hearing have detected no abnormalities. For her Daddy, she is a precious, adorable little angel in need of protection. For Mommy she is cunning, manipulative and dangerous. They attempted traditional school, but Hanna’s outbursts, and other incidents have her being turned away. Not going to lie Hanna was devious but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. She suffers abandonment fears and sees the world differently.
  • Suzette, the mother and wife has serious medical issues stemming from Chron’s disease. Her childhood was nightmarish, and she likes order, neatness and routine. She is also weary, and fearful she is a bad parent.  She wants to please Alex who is her center and worries she is failing Hanna. You could really feel how she struggled to handle a defiant child without spousal support. I felt for Suzette, and yet a part of me worried she was at the root of the problem.
  • Alex, is your typical bread-winning Dad and its clear he loves both his child and wife. However, he wants to believe there is a medical reason behind Hanna’s lack of speech and behavior.  He looks for explanations for unacceptable behavior and dismissed opinions of Suzette, medical professionals and Hanna’s prior schools. His denial of Hanna’s behavior and attempts at smoothing things over only widened the gap between mother and daughter.
  • Disbelief aside, the tale Stage shares is creeptastic, chilling and addictive. I needed bloody answers, and the author provided plenty of tidbits from Hanna’s friend to Suzette’s need for order.
  • The tale alternates between Hanna and Suzette’s perspectives allowing the reader insight.  I felt both were unreliable narratives, and I desperately wanted to answer the question, “Is this nature or nurture?” Hanna talks about the masks mommy wears. Good mommy, who cuts her bananas just right and, bad mommy, who hates her.
  • Swedish traditions, witchcraft, and lots of themes from nature vs nurture, communications, manipulation, and perception. I was utterly fascinating by how differently Hanna and Suzette perceived different situations.

Decaffeinated Aspects

  • I had trouble believing with all the medical testing done on Hanna that a psychological evaluation wasn’t performed. The demographics of the parents, despite Alex’s reluctance to believe anything is wrong with his precious little girl made it doubtful. Had they moved around a lot for his career etc, I might have believed it.  Suzette grasped at any knowledge professionals would give her. I don’t know maybe the doctors suggested it but the parents refused?
  • You will need to suspense belief at some of the actions of Hannah when comparing to an average seven year old. Zoje did try to address this. For example when she sets up a plan it doesn’t execute quite the way she envisioned. Her ability to manipulate seemed to complex for a child of this age, unless you accept she is being controlled or coached by an outside entity.
  • The tale takes dark turns which were creepy but also made me question where a home-schooled child learned of such things.  Hanna has a few scenes that strongly suggested a traumatic incident occurred.

Trigger Warnings: View Spoiler »

 

Baby Teeth explores the mother and daughter relationship with a chilling twist. While it raised questions, this is a story you won’t soon forget. This is a great novel for a book club or a buddy read. Is a child is born inherently good or evil? This is a question I find intriguing and is one scientist debate. Baby Teeth explores this topic but leaves the question unanswered allowing the reader to decide. For those who need closure the ending might unnerve you. This is Zoje Stage’s debut novel and I look forward to reading more from her. Fans of You by Caroline Kepnes will want to check out Baby Teeth.

What do you do when daddy's little girl wants mommy dead? Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage Click To Tweet

 

About Zoje Stage

Zoje Stage

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)

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. She's a self-professed Whovian, as well as a Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat...Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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38 Responses to “Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage”

  1. Laurel-Rain Snow

    I have been wary of this book from the moment I first heard about it. As much as I think Suzette must be a really inept mother, I cannot believe that Alex is so blind to Hanna and her issues. He seems oblivious, and his attitude definitely contributes to Hanna’s desire for the family to exclude Mommy. Uh-oh! Get that family to a shrink right away!

    I think I will skip this one. My blood is already boiling, hating on Hanna and Daddy and their happy little duet. LOL

    Thanks for sharing….

    • Kimberly

      Thanks Laurel. Yes some people live in denial, but to be fair, Hannah never showed Daddy her other side until she did.

  2. Debbie Haupt- The Reading Frenzy

    Holy Bad Seed Batman. Wow creeptastic to the ninth degree Kim. But like you I like verifications and validations in my thrillers and if it sounds too unbelievable then I tend to lose interest unless the blood seeps through the unbelievability. 😉 Great review! I’m putting this on my wish list because a 3.5 from you is still a fantastic read!

    Debbie Haupt- The Reading Frenzy recently posted: Review Wyvern's Angel - Interview with Deborah Cooke
  3. sjhigbee

    Hm… interesting concept. In my teaching career, I encountered three children where their wiring was plain wrong and they were shunned by their peers, who were reluctant to interact with them. Worryingly, two out of the three were excluded before the age of 10. I often wonder where they are now…

  4. Sophia Rose

    Oh my, it would get one’s attention and make one wonder, I think. I can see where the unreal elements would be a tough sell. The chill factor seems right on.

  5. Greg

    Oh my gosh I can’t wait to read this! I like that there is at least some attempt made to make Hanna at least a little sympathetic, rather than just evil kid full stop. And yeah it sounds like it needs some suspension of disbelief lol but I’m still looking forward to it for the creepiness!

  6. Tyler H. Jolley

    Wow, this is creepy. And thank you for the trigger alert. That scared the crap out of me, and usually only baby dolls scare me.. *shivers* Happy reading, Kimba. I hope you’re feeling better.

  7. Heidi

    I read a DNF review of this book and decided it is definitely not for me, especially after reading your spoiler, it just sounds icky. Thanks, but no thanks!

  8. RO

    This one sounds really scary, and I think I would pass on this one. (lol) Hugs…RO

  9. Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra

    I really enjoyed this book when I read it, but completely agree with you about the need for suspension of disbelief at times. It reminded me of one of those movies that would have me screaming at the screen because some of what was going on was so implausible, and yet I’d still not be able to stop myself from watching, lol.

  10. Daniela Ark

    ‘m reading this one now so I skimmed to the end of your review to avoid spoilers. I did see the first sentence of your review on GR and agree this is a love or hate.! I’m also find myself “teether precariously between them” 🙂 Hannah’s voice is such a turn off. There is NO WAY a four year old would think like that, unless she is possessed. I guess I will find out soon LOL

  11. JJ @ This Dark Material

    Lovely review Kim! I also really enjoyed this in spite of a little suspension of disbelief. I actually had the hardest time with Alex. I’m sure my own childhood influences my outlook, but it was so frustrating and a little unbelievable at times how clueless he could be! Still, I’m really looking forward to what Stage chooses to write next 🙂

    JJ @ This Dark Material recently posted: book review: sanctuary by caryn lix
    • Kimberly

      My sister’s husband traveled and worked long hours, he had no clue about the daily goings on, but it bothered me that he questioned his wife.