22 December 2012

Review: Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

Expected Publication: 1 January 2013 by Simon Pulse

Pages: 288 (hardcover)

Genre/s: YA, Magical-Realism

Source: Publisher for review


Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house.

Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life.

My Thoughts

I always thought a mermaid book would be a little too romanticised for me to actually like them.  Memories of The Little Mermaid and a rash of mermaid books that were either loved or hated by the book blogging community had me feeling pretty jaded when I started reading.

It took me more than a few chapters to really get into the story and to want to know more about the characters, but once I was into it, the author's intense, almost erratic writing style really pulled me in.

Rudy is a difficult character to put into words, simply because he was so much of a contradiction.  At one moment he was the doting older brother to Dylan, the next he was an aloof slightly odd teenager and I really couldn't predict where he was going next.  But as the book progressed I started to like him more and more, and by the end, I really appreciated what Ms. Moskowitz was trying to do with him.

Teeth is a far more fascinating character, and his story is revealed gradually, and had me swinging from overwhelming compassion to morbid curiosity.

One character I didn't really connect with, and although I'll freely admit I may have missed something, nor see her real relevance to the story was Diana, although I enjoyed her passion for books, and the occasional bookish pop-culture reference that she bought into the story.

The plot itself is a mixture of magical realism and contemporary, and at times I almost believed that this could be a true story - an isolated, secret island where magical fish really do exist.  At other times I felt like I was living in a dark fairy tale and it was a fantastic, if slightly overwhelming combination.  There are some tender, poignant moments particularly towards the end of the book, where Rudy has to make some difficult decisions, and comes to realise that it's hard to balance family, friends and his own feelings.

World-building wise, I thought Ms. Moskowitz did a fairly good job in creating an isolated island community, the feeling of small-town gossip and secrets, although I did wonder how they managed to keep their secrets just so secret.

I'm still not sure exactly how I feel about this book, which I know is completely unhelpful, but I did like the intensity, the fact that it wasn't a cheesy, cliched romance and the fact that I was almost convinced the magical gay fish could actually be real.  I'll definitely be checking out some more of Ms. Moskowitz's work because I enjoyed her style, and if you're looking for a unique, dark mixture of magical realism with a good dose of food-for-thought then I can certainly recommend Teeth.


  1. This is one I've really wanted to read, your review confirms that it will be worth giving a go once I get my hands on a copy.

    1. I think you'd really like this one Kristin - it's pretty unique!

  2. Great review! I love a book where you're not 100% sure how you feel about it after you finish, as that means it's intense and worth reading!

  3. Well, I have read a couple of reviews about Teeth. And they are very promising.
    I didn't know that there was a paranormal aspect to the story, but as you pointed out, it sounds very well-created and the characters look real superb. I love the idea of boy-fish!
    I am so adding this to my TBR
    GREAT review, Kat!
    Your constant reader,

  4. This book was actually a DNF for me, because I couldn't get into the world and characters. I didn't find them likeable enough. I guess it just didn't work for me :) Pitty, because the whole concept of the gay fish was fascinating. I'm happy you liked it much more than I did!

    My haul - Mel@thedailyprophecy.

    1. I think this is a love it or not book - it did take me a while to get into it, but the fascination was higher than the confusion ;-)

  5. This one sounds king of interesting! Definitely different from anything I've read.

    Great review.

    1. So different from anything I've read recently, that's for sure!

  6. Oh hey, I just read this, so I can actually leave a thoughtful comment...maybe. Let's see!

    Oh man, this one's not romantic AT ALL. Most of them are, though, it's true, even when they have killer mermaids.

    Yes, that was why this book got four stars from me. I think the other characters (the ones not Rudy or Teeth) really got neglected. I wanted to know more about why Diana and her mom are the way they are. It really doesn't make any sense to me.

    Loved the magical realism! I really just love that style I'm learning. Have you read any Sarah Addison Allen? She has happy magical realism, and it's BEAUTIFUL.

    1. I really need to read Sarah Addison Allen!

      I liked that there wasn't really a romance - I don't think I could have stomached it with Teeth's looks ;-) Very good point about Diana and her mum - that was never really explained!



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