Tag Archives: YA fantasy

Emma Maree Reviews: Teeth


Book: Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Fantasy

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..

I’ve never read Hannah Moskowitz’s work before, though I’d heard great things about her contemporary writing. She’s also a regular contributor to the AbsoluteWrite forum’s YA sections (and an advocate of never holding back when it comes to language or content in YA — her post on ‘edgy YA’ is well worth a read).

So when I heard she had a fantasy novel coming out nicknamed the “magic gay fish” story, I added it straight onto my preorder list. I wanted to try out her work, and that nickname sounded like it would be strange, shameless and right up my street.

Hannah’s style is easy to read, dialogue-heavy and snappily paced. The dialogue feels very honest, which means very profane, and while some readers may find that off-putting I enjoy it. It makes for the most realistic teenage male narrator I’ve read in YA fiction.

There’s only a small cast of main characters in this story, and they’re all flawed and dysfunctional in one way or another. Rudy is a lonely boy, worrying about his future and his little brother, and Teeth is an ugly, angry fishboy who learned most of his words from the local fishermen and can barely construct a sentence without a f-bomb in it.

The secondary characters are less fleshed-out, which is a shame as I’d like to know more about some of the parents struggling on the island.

Trigger warning: There’s also some very frank, bleak scenes of repetitive sexual abuse. This whole book is dark to the extreme, and though the abuse is portrayed extremely negatively I think it would be just too difficult and depressing for some readers.

The ending really caught me off-guard. The twist that led to it was brilliant, completely shocking me, but the actual closing chapter left me feeling disappointed. I wanted more of a sense of closure, and instead I got quite an abrupt cut-off.

I think the ending is supposed to tie into the underlying metaphors and hidden meanings in the story, but I wasn’t reading this book for the metaphors about the environment or government — they were nice elements, but not what drove me to pick this book up. Also (and I fully acknowledge that this is an issue with my personal tastes and expectations as a reader, not the writer’s fault) I really wanted things to turn out differently.

Despite my dissatisfaction with the ending, I really loved Moskowitz’s style and her way with describing characters. I hope to check out her contemporary YA very soon.

This book was a personal purchase. I have no connection to the writer or publishers involved.

Pantomime Release and Dissident TV Pilot!

Man, today was a crazy day for my writing friends. It was the US release of Pantomime by the lovely Laura Lam!


R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass – remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone – are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimeras is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star. But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.

Available on: Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes and NobleThe Book DepositoryWaterstones

The official UK release is tomorrow (February 7th), but Amazon have been shipping out orders early which means I’ve been snuggling up to read it every night… when the dogs don’t steal my armchair to have a read, that is.


And that’s not the only awesome news happening on our writing front! My friend John Dixon’s YA Thriller, Dissident PHOENIX ISLAND, comes out in 2014 and he’s sold the pilot of Intelligence, a show based on it, to CBS! John’s been working hard to get this far, and it’s great to see it pay off for him. Go stop by his blog and say congratulations, because when Dissident hits the shelves it’s gonna be huge.

Man, it’s great to see good things happening to my writing friends. 🙂 But now, it’s time for me to settle down with a cuppa tea and read more of Pantomime.

Cover Reveal! “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” UK Paperback

On 16th August Hodder Books will publish the paperback edition of Laini Taylor’s brilliant YA fantasy novel “Daughter of Smoke and Bone”.

The book itself is wonderful, and you can find my review and the hard back cover over here. I have a bias towards the original cover, because it’s the cover I own and love — and I adore designs that use feathers. but there’s plenty of interesting aspects in this new cover. It seems to be aiming at an older audience (crossover?), reminding me a lot of some women’s fiction covers while still keeping the story elements obvious, and I like that the font is almost identical to the original.

Ryan Graudin’s Awesomeness is Recognised

Ryan Graudin’s LUMINANCE HOUR, in which a partying prince falls for a Kate Middletonesque fae, who has been protecting the royal family for centuries, and who must make an impossible choice amidst a backdrop of a palace murder and paparazzi mayhem, to Alyson Day at Harper Teen, in a very-nice deal, in a two-book deal, by Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Trident Media Group.

I’ve done some beta reading work for Ryan, and was stunned by the professionalism of her work. It’s fantastic to see her writing recognized with a two-book book deal  to a major publisher.

Or, to put it another way:

I don’t think there’s any information about a UK release yet, but with those brilliantly topical monarchy themes I can imagine it doing brilliantly here. I can’t wait to pre-order and read “Luminance Hour”.

Ryan discusses the announcement here, with a fun video discussing the wait and how she coped here.