REVIEW: Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

12024430Title: Teeth

Author: Hannah Moskowitz

Publication Date: Jan 1, 2013

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Rating: ★★★★/ 4 Stars

Genre: Fantasy (mermaids!), Contemporary, YA

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.

And I know I need to stop caring about people just because they make me feel better about my life.

Trigger Warning: Rape and abuse, please be aware.

I’m going to keep this short because I have no idea how to transfer my many emotions and thoughts about Teeth into a comprehensible essay. Teeth is a fascinating book that straddled fantasy in an urban setting of an Island where the fish had magical healing powers and were very evil.

Since this is my fifth Moskowitz book to date, I went into Teeth knowing the style of writing and the way Moskowitz wrote her teenagers to be so alive. This was no different. Another case of intense family ties and a teenage main character whose heart I could touch due to how raw he was.

Rudy’s story in Teeth felt like a giant metaphor and it terrified me.

From the beginning, we got the sense that Rudy was not happy with moving into an island where his kid brother Dylan could survive only by eating the Enki fish the Island provided. But what is amazing about Rudy is his sense of devotion for his family. Yes, he’d get distracted by the Fishboy who winked at him, but in the end of the day, his motivation was to save Dylan. Saving people is Rudy’s tragic flaw.

Teeth was a very different book than what I expected. The fantasy aspect kind of terrified me because it involved a lot of violence. It’s extremely tragic and again, metaphorical.

Rudy grew curious about Teeth’s story and so he asked Diana, the only other teenager on the island, who was trapped in her mansion because her mother didn’t like her going out. Diana is fascinated by so many things she can’t learn about in books, since we got the sense that books were her only source for anything. The girl knew how to threaten someone with a gun probably due to her well-read-ness (Is that even a word?)

Overall, I liked this book, but I don’t know how exactly to rate it so I’m gonna give it four stars and blame it on myself for not being eloquent enough. I might come back to edit this one day but I don’t know. The book left me with strange feelings. Not sure if good or bad.

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