After spending multiple years at boarding school, Eleanor Zarrin is coming back to a home filled with family members she used to understand but doesn’t anymore. She never fit in with any of them, as all of them appear to be monsters when she was just normal. At least, she doesn’t think she’s a monster. As Eleanor sorts through family secrets and feelings, the questions are raised: Does she trust their version of reality? Or does she trust herself more? In this novel, fantasy and horror are combined to reveal a story about a young woman learning to understand the people she once loved.
I adored the puzzle aspect of the story. Eleanor was clearly an anxious character that couldn’t even admit her actions to herself, so she uncovered secrets slowly and carefully. I wasn’t able to figure anything out before it was revealed. The character dynamics were enjoyable and I loved the way they interacted with each other. Eleanor, as a character, was frustrating, but understandable. She made incorrect decisions without question, but no one can get upset with her after seeing her reasons. Character development is essential to the plot as well, which explains all the annoying scenes where Eleanor refused to believe her family members. The book itself was a bit dark, and I admit that I felt a bit depressed after reading it. I still really liked the writing style though. It was descriptive and painted an effective picture.
What Big Teeth caught me off guard. You would expect the story to be scary in a way that makes you afraid to be alone at night, but it doesn’t do that at all. The book is scary in a melancholy way. It displays the supernatural, but it’s the supernatural portraying something much more commonly seen: a family broken apart by misunderstandings.
One thing about the story that will stay with me was the family’s behaviors. They were unapologetically outlandish and demonstrated violent acts without a second thought. That’s quite different from any boarding school environment, so I can see why it affected Eleanor so much. But they were also kind in their own way, so you can see the love behind their actions.