Thursday, December 20, 2012

ARC Book Review: Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

Title: Teeth
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: Jan 1, 2013
Rating: 3/5

Cover Impressions:
I really like the cover of this one.  I received an EARC, but I really wish I could see the physical copy.  I am rooting for shiny and textured scales. 

The Gist:
Rudy's brother suffers from Cystic Fibrosis.  In an attempt to save his life, the family moves to a remote island that is famed for a special type of fish that can heal and prolong life.  Without the excitement of friends and frivolity, Rudy finds himself longing for a companion - and then he finds Teeth, and begins to discover the dark secrets of the island and its inhabitants.


I requested Teeth because I had heard great things about Gone Gone Gone and it has been sitting on my TBR pile for quiet a while.  Those who love Hannah Moskowitz seem to RAVE about her.  However, if Teeth is indicative of her writing style, perhaps I best stay away.
I loved the premise for Teeth.  The mysterious island with magic fish that could heal and prolong life in otherwise terminal cases, was fascinating.  I longed to find out what made the fish so special and what secrets were being hidden by the inhabitants of the island.  Unfortunately, much like Rudy, once I began to receive my answers, I wished I had never asked the questions.  The setting was interesting, the morality issue that made up much of the first half of the book was thought- provoking.  Had the novel continued in this frame of mind, I would have been left much more satisified.

To be honest, I am finding it difficult to write about what bothered me, and that is a testament to how much it bothered me.  SPOILERS AHEAD:  Teeth involves numerous incidences of rape.  We see both a woman raped by a fish, and a mermaid/fishboy raped by men - over and over again.  Once this plot point was revealed, I could no longer enjoy the story.  Even now, it leaves a sick taste in my mouth to recall the details. 

Moskowitz is certainly a writer who can evoke strong emotions in the reader.  She is skilled at writing in a way that is raw and heart-wrenching.  I do believe that most readers will recognize the beauty that can be found in this story.  Teeth is well written, and I can recognize the genius in it - I just didn't like it.  I felt like I was watching a car crash - I knew that continuing would result in seeing things that I could never forget but I just could not look away.  In the end, I could not get past the pain.  I ached for Teeth.  I wanted so badly to rescue him and by the last page, I was left feeling sad and empty. 

Due to the nature of the rape in this book, as well as the frequent swearing, I would not recommend it for my teenage students.

Teaching/Parental Notes:

AT LEAST 16 and up
Gender: Both
Sex: Kissing, talk of masturbation
Violence: Rape, Physical fighting/abuse, gunplay, murder
Inappropriate Language: LOTS! Fuck, Shit, Slut, Bastard, Bitch, Asshole
Substance Use/Abuse: Smoking


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