With all the big name authors out there, it's hard to get heard through all the noise. Over the past year or so, I've made a conscious effort to read more debut authors. And, for the most part, I have not been disappointed. So, if you're looking for a new book to read, give a rookie a chance.
Baby Teeth, Zoje Stage.
First of all, in the About the Author section, it literally says. "Zoje Stage lives in Pittsburgh. This is her first novel." That's it. That's the whole dang thing and I love it. Also, Pittsburgh is dope; I wouldn't mind living there myself.
Baby Teeth is about a very well-off family with what you assume are going to be very well-off people problems. Boring, right? Except their biggest issue is their daughter, Hanna. She's a mischievous, precocious little girl who happens to be straight up insane. By day, Hanna is a monster child who is trying to kill her mother. By night, she's daddy's little girl. Which, understandably so, infuriates the mother. There are accusations that the mother is jealous of her own child, that she's abusive, she's blowing things out of proportion, Hanna is just special. As the parents fight, Hanna sits there, looking all cute and thinks of new ways to torture mommy. One explanation for her behavior could be that her name is almost a palindrome, but isn't. Palindromes are next level and use them every chance I get.
As the book progresses, Hanna's mind games and schemes get more and more elaborate. She's brought in help, you see. I won't give it away, but Hanna may not be doing this all on her own. Baby Teeth is creepy - I mean, just the title is creepy - full of surprises, and I can already see a Lifetime Original Movie happening. Child of Rage 2: The Remix. I can also see potential for a sequel. I'm a big fan of the open ending. It gives the reader a chance to decide what happens next. Maybe Stage is simply letting us figure out what's next for Hanna. We'll see. No matter what she writes next, I'll be reading it.
Books in the same ballpark:
We Need to Talk About Kevin
If you're a fan of psychological thrillers at all, you need to read Baby Teeth. I read it in roughly twelve hours. I haven't had a book grab me like that since Gone Girl. So, do yourself a favor and check out Zoje Stage. You won't be disappointed.