What Big Teeth

All in all, there’s a lot to unpack, and it reminded me of the functional dysfunction of The Munsters, with their odd character cast and strange behaviors.


  • Want a werewolf retelling
  • Like The Munsters
  • Want a little bit of Hocus Pocus

TitleWhat Big Teeth Author: Rose Szabo | Rating: 3.5/5

Admittedly, this is best as a Halloween read than a February read, but it wasn’t quite what I expected. I got The Munsters vibes, with a dash of Hocus Pocus, which made it a quirky, fun, and, oddly, light read.

Eleanor Zarrin has been estranged from her wild family for years. When she flees boarding school after a horrifying incident, she goes to the only place she thinks is safe: the home she left behind. But when she gets there, she struggles to fit in with her monstrous relatives, who prowl the woods around the family estate and read fortunes in the guts of birds.

Eleanor returns to her family’s estate almost a stranger. Her family greets her lacklusterly, she fails to remember most things, and even guesses as to which man is her father when she first meets the family. She left for boarding school when she a much younger, and so is returning older, with fresher eyes as to the strangeness of her family.

What’s more, she’s sensing stranegness in herself, though it’s nothing like the lupine behaviors of her grandfather, sister, and cousin.

Her grandmother is a witch, making love and death potions out of plants she grows and then sells to villagers. Therefore, the villagers both need but mistrust the Zarrin family, though tolerate them because of their wealth and lineage. El’s mother spends most of her time soaking in the tub, and likes to stay wet, with her clothes soaked through, suckers on her body, and a general disinterest in whatever’s going on in the house.

El’s father is the worst. He is beyond disinterested and almost seems to hate El, though I never quite understood why. Her sister both tries to get close to El, but also seems annoyed with her. El’s cousin is similar to the sister.

Then, El’s maternal grandmother comes to visit, and everything starts going from bad to worse.

All in all, there’s a lot to unpack, and it reminded me of the functional dysfunction of The Munsters, with their odd character cast and strange behaviors. That made it much more fun and quirky, which I ended up enjoying more than I thought I would. With a strange corpse wandering the premises, and villagers coming to visit the house, there is always something going on in the Zarrin home.

The book was described as “terrifying” and “gothic,” but I got neither of those. It’s mostly a good YA read, with a quirky cast of characters and a slew of family secrets.

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