Book Review: What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo

Good morning! Happy Monday everyone. I hope you had a relaxing weekend and are starting the week off strong (read: reading blog posts instead of working). πŸ˜‰ I have a feeling I’m going to need a little extra coffee this morning, how about you? Grab a cup and enjoy my book review for What Big Teeth!

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Title: What Big Teeth
Author: Rose Szabo
Publisher: FSG
Publication date: February 2, 2021
Genre: YA horror, thriller, mystery, gothic

An incredible YA horror with unique monsters and a mysterious family full of secrets

At a glance: Eleanor is coming back home after being sent away for years, but after being away for so long, her family of werewolves seems much more terrifying than it used to.

  • 🌳 Family Focused
  • πŸ’« Atmospheric
  • πŸ’₯ Dramatic Ending
  • 😱 YA Horror

Read this if… love unique monsters, gothic horrors, spooky atmospheres, good horror books for teens (because your scare tolerance is that of a teenager like me)

Diversity Representation: NB author, queer cast

Content Warnings: Death, murder, slavery, violence, gore, manipulation, death of animals, body horror, cheating, miscarriage, child death, poisoning

Book Review

Spooky, atmospheric, clever, compelling, intriguing, mysterious, and fun

What Big Teeth was recommended to me by Sarah at Girl on Books (go read her review too!). She told me to read this book so many times before I finally gave in and got it. And even then, it sat on my bookshelf for a long time before I actually got to it. I’m so glad that I let it keep staring at me, because it was really good. It’s so atmospheric, and it feels like the house is alive, which is one of my favorite things! It was written so well and I loved it a lot!

Quick Summary: What Big Teeth follows Eleanor on her way back to her home after she had been sent away to school for years. Once she finally gets home, she hardly recognizes her family. Though they have always been monsters, she used to fit in with them, even though she knew she was something different. Now, after being away for so long, her family is no longer comforting like they once were, but terrifying. Eleanor must figure out how to live with and deal with her horrifying family now that she has been left as head of household.

My absolute favorite thing about this book was how unique the monsters were. I loved that the family were werewolves, but with added creativity. That Eleanor’s mother was some kind of partial sea creature, but we never really know what. That we are not sure what Eleanor is herself. Every monster was so interesting, and we never got a full understanding. We got just enough information on the monsters that we were left curious the whole time, but they still remained mysterious. The amount of detail we were given for the creatures was absolutely perfect to maintain the mysterious and spooky mood of the book.

Tied for favorite piece of this book that the author was able to breathe life into the house. I’m a huge fan of anthropomorphism, especially when the object is large, like a house (or a neighborhood, which you can see me talk about how cool it was in my review for When No One is Watching). It was lovely in What Big Teeth. The gusts of wind that blew through the house felt like the house was breathing. The floorboards creaking felt like the house was getting restless, like it’s veins were pumping blood. I love when places or things feel alive because of the writing, it’s always so astonishing and impressive to me. The life of the house was enhanced even more by the story, and the story enhanced by the life of the house. It was a perfect symbiotic relationship and it was beautiful.

Of course, the story itself was also stunning because of the story. I didn’t see any of it coming, and I was left guessing the entire time. The book is so atmospheric that a lot of the book feels like floating through a story, like a ghost watching the family. You become an outsider just trying to understand what is going on, why there are secrets, and what the secrets are. You become part of the living and breathing house. I fell into my role as the spectral observer, living within the walls of the breathing house, until I was brought in as an active participant at the end. Once the secrets start to be revealed, you have a place in the book as well. The more that I think about this book, the more that I love it.

Summing it all up

What Big Teeth is a highly impressive book. It’s so unique, atmospheric, and alive. Everything connects in the way you always wish books would connect every dot. The writing, the house, the characters all came together in the end in an absolutely stunning way.

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About Rose Szabo

Queer writer from Richmond, Virginia. Obsessed with horror, tabletop games, and material culture, particularly fashion. I’ve written some short stories about monsters and some essays about the intersection of gender, sexuality, and clothes. I’m represented by Azantian Literary Agency.

My first novel, What Big Teethis about family secrets and werewolves. My editor is Trisha de Guzman.


Let’s Chat!

✨ Do you love anthropomorphism as much as me?
✨ Is What Big Teeth on your TBR (to be read)?
✨ What was the last spooky atmospheric book you read?

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Looking for more diverse reads?

Check out the rest of my blog! I’m dedicated to sharing books with you that include diversity, so feel comfortable that any books on Bookish Brews will include some diversity.

If you liked this review or thought you might like this book, check out some of my other reviews for books with similar spooky, atmospheric, and encompassing moods:


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What Big Teeth sounds like such a good book! I love books with unique monsters!

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