Saturday, January 26, 2013

Book Review: Teeth

TeethAuthor: Hannah Moskowitz
Publication Date: January 1, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse

A gritty, romantic modern fairy tale from the author of Break and Gone, Gone, Gone.

Be careful what you believe in.

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.

“He’s only about twenty feet from me. And before I notice anything else about him, I realize he’s about my age. And then the rest of him hits me: webbed fingers, the scrawny torso patched with silver scales, and a twisted fish tail starting where his hips should be, curling into a dirty fin. A fish. A boy. The ugliest thing I have ever seen.” – Paperback Copy pg. 15

“Ms. Delaney clears her throat and says, ‘It really is amazing what the Enki fish can do. We came here when I was fourteen, when the cancer’ – she waves the word away like it’s a fly – ‘was close to killing me. My grandfather had written us letters about the place before he died, but we had no idea the effect the fish would have. And since I’ve lived here, I haven’t been sick a day. My grandfather lived to be a hundred and sixteen.’” – Paperback Copy pg. 21

“But Fishboy just smiles and says, ‘I’m their dirty secret.’ He wiggles around a little until he’s free, then gives me a nod and pushes himself into the ocean without my help.” – Paperback Copy pg. 30

“It’s going to tell me that everything has paused since the second I left, and nothing has changed, and my girlfriend misses me, and there’s a set of lungs for Dylan, and none of this has even happened. And that fish don’t do magic and they don’t talk.” – Paperback Copy pg. 49

“Spoken like someone who lives her life in books.” – Paperback Copy pg. 104

Teeth is the story of two lonely boys struggling to find their place in the world. One is human while the other is only half human and half fish. Rudy is depressed, lonely, and even a little frustrated with the fact that a short while ago his family packed him up and moved him to this remote island far away from his friends and the life he once knew. His younger brother, Dylan, is sick and his family has been told that eating the Enki fish on this magical island will heal the sick and dying. Rudy and his family have made the ultimate sacrifice for Dylan’s health and Rudy is starting to resent his younger brother and his parents, until he meets someone just as equally lonely and dysfunctional as he is; Teeth.

The complexity of Teeth’s character is unfathomable. Hannah Moskowitz has this uncanny ability to write some of the creepiest characters who seem the most real and almost tangible. At first I was wondering if Hannah intended for both Teeth and Rudy to be unreliable narrators, but then I caught onto the fact that she had written them as parallel characters. Both Teeth and Rudy are lonely and have the same sense of charm despite their noticeable weirdness. The first scene in which Teeth is introduced I could feel distinctive chills run up my spine and an image of what Teeth may looked like popped into my head. I was frightened of Teeth at first and warned Rudy to stay away from him, but Moskowitz has this uncanny ability to make readers feel sorry for the characters that seem like the bad guys. By the end I was utterly and completely devoted to Teeth and realized just how misunderstood he really was.

The story/plot had its moments where I was like “WOW! That did not just happen!” I was really impressed with Moskowitz’s ability to write things that are so absurd and out of this world, yet believable. She definitely embodied the voice of a young teenage boy as his thoughts often wonder and he uses a lot of foul language and slang terminology. Teeth was written in an entire different way, but with equal spark. He used the word “whatever” when he didn’t understand a word or know its meaning, and small touches like this made this mermaid/human all the more real for me. I was astounded by the world building even though it is nothing like Harry Potter, you still see a world where fish are the cure for everything and this is not something you read every day.

This book was nothing like what I imagined but will have a place on my shelf for a long, long time. I highly suggest picking up a copy, but beware that tears may fall once you reach the end!

***The awesome publishers at Simon Pulse provided me with two copies of this book, one is up for giveaway now, in exchange for my honest, unbiased review***



  1. I loved this book! It was so unusual and beautifully written.

  2. Great review! I'm a little scared to pick this one up because I know that I will cry no matter what happens. But thanks for reviewing it with your honest opinion. :)

  3. That looks interesting! Great review I have not read it yet. Unfortunately I think the last review I saw of it wasn't that great :( Your really shed some different light on it.

  4. I recently finished this and my review is coming up soon. Glad to see we share the same opinions. Teeth is a real gem.