cover image What Big Teeth

What Big Teeth

Rose Szabo. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-374-31430-9

Comparable to The Hazel Wood, Szabo’s uneven debut features a pitch-black fairy tale atmosphere and rich, mid-century gothic descriptions. Returning home to Maine after a violent incident at her boarding school, Eleanor Zarrin reunites with a family unlike any other. With a mother who is half woman, half marine life; several werewolf-shapeshifting relatives; and Grandmother Persephone, who can see the future, Eleanor is not sure how she fits in or why she was sent away for eight years. When her grandmother dies, first instructing Eleanor to care for and protect the family, the girl uncovers long-buried secrets and calls on her maternal French grandmother for help. But Grand- mere’s incredible powers threaten them all, and Eleanor must decide whether to defend the family who abandoned her or become the creature her Grandmere insists she is inside. Fragmented worldbuilding leads to labored plotting, yet Szabo introduces an intriguing cast of characters—particularly Arthur, a vampirish family guest and paramour to many—alongside meaningful explorations of identity and belonging. Ages 14–up. (Feb.)