Book Review: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Baby Teeth - Zoje Stage

This title is released in the UK as Bad Apple. But, I’m reviewing it under the title of Baby Teeth as I won my copy from the US publisher, St. Martins Press, in a giveaway on Instagram.


Sweetness can be deceptive. 

Meet Hanna.

The sweet-but-silent angel in the eyes of her Daddy. All she wants is to live happily ever after with him. But she can’t until Mommy is gone…for good.

Meet Suzette.

A stay-at-home mother who longs to have a career again. She loves her husband and daughter but years of expulsions and homeschooling have brought Suzette to the brink of in sanity. Not to mention her growing suspicions that something is disturbingly wrong with her child.

Hanna is a demon. There, I said it, someone had to. This seven year-old-girl has some serious issues, her behaviour is so far gone, not even Supernanny (Jo Frost) can save her! Satan, come and get your child! So, that pretty much sums up my thoughts on Hanna, and her parents are far more patient than me, because that demon seed would have [*mumbles incoherently about burying a child in the woods*]. As you can see, Hanna is a protagonist you love to hate; she was designed in the image of evil, and it was so much fun to read about. This constant battle, back and forth, between her and her mother, Suzette. Hanna doing all that she can to push her mother’s buttons, Suzette trying not to let it break her, but secretly coming to hate her child, and then feeling guilty for doing so.

Now, if that sounds like your idea of an entertaining read, then you may enjoy Baby Teeth. But, be aware, that’s pretty much all this book is, there isn’t any real plot development until the very end, and even then it’s minimal. This novel is episode after episode of Hanna pushing boundaries, causing harm and being a straight up terror, and Suzette struggling to cope. As much as Hanna was a dislikeable protagonist, her character brought the darkness. But, I’ll tell you who bugged the hell out of me and would have had me calling for an instance divorce (and take your child with you!) was Suzette’s husband, Alex. What a wet blanket he was, implausibly blind to the ways of his daughter. This plot does require you to suspend a lot of disbelief, in the events that occurred and the parents handling of it. So if you can’t get on board with a pair of unbelievable parents, you’ll really struggle with this one.

If you want to get all philosophical, you could argue this novel address themes of parenthood and how it must be for a mother to not like, and even fear, her own child. But really, that’s pushing it, this book isn’t a character study as much as it is an entertaining read, a creepy child that you’ll be glad isn’t your own, and one mother’s battle to get through the day with said child. I enjoyed Baby Teeth because my morbid curiosity had me wondering what deranged thing Hanna would come up with next, also I was secretly hoping Suzette would lose her shit and kill everyone!

But, seriously, if you’re looking for a fun read around the delusions of a seven-year-old girl who hates her mother, this may be the novel for you. Due to the lack of real plot development, this novel won’t be for everyone, but it’s fun, not to be taken too seriously, and I look forward to Stage’s next book.

This book is available to buy from Amazon UK / Amazon US / Book Depository

34 thoughts on “Book Review: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

    1. I’m glad I could entertain you 😏😂 I found the book such a fun read, I wanted my review to reflect that so I’m glad that was achieved! But real talk, if Supernanny can’t sort out a child’s behaviour, then all hope really is lost! 🤣

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    1. It’s called ‘Bad Apple’ in the U.K. but I do think ‘Baby Teeth’ is a sweetly sinister title given the story written. Hanna is like a new breed of child evil 😂🤣 I’m so glad you enjoyed my review 😊x

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  1. I hadn’t been interested in this one just because it felt too out there to me, too sensationalized (a little girl with this many difficulties), but you highlighted exactly what is the strength of the novel, the entertainment, and that most definitely has its place. It was never intended to be realistic, and that’s an important thing for me to remember sometimes! Thoughtful review, Janel!

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer. This one’s success definitely lies in its entertainment factor. It has had such a huge marketing push behind it and I’m not too sure they pushed how much this book is a fun read, not to be taken too seriously and as a result its fallen short for quite a few people.

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  2. Fabulous review! And I love the UK title I think it’s better fitting! I am in complete agreement with you on this book it was entertaining and not to be taken too seriously, unfortunately a lot of people did this book definitely rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, but I had empathy for Suzette and Alex needed to be slapped into reality! Made me grateful for my own kids, and had Hannah been my kid I would’ve pulled all my hair out and probably hers too! Can’t even imagine! Thanks sorry for the long rant😂

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    1. Thank you! I like the UK title but once I read the book, I really liked the US title, I think ‘Baby Teeth’ suddenly becomes sweetly sinister once you’ve read the book!

      There is definitely a divide in reviews for this one, maybe due to the marketing push behind it, setting such high expectations. But I think as long as you take this as an entertaining read, have fun with it, you’ll enjoy it. And yes, it certainly made me even more grateful for my son!!

      And rant away, I love a good rant 😂

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      1. Oh I read this in February with a bunch of people who hated it, LOL I was the only one who enjoyed for lack of a better word! I can see the beauty of baby teeth as well, both very apt titles!

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  3. Fab review. Yeah, this book was definitely not for me, I personally couldn’t see the point in it 😦 I’m glad you enjoyed it though! It’s definitely one of those books that I’m in the minority for 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did think of you as I read this one, and I can completely see why it didn’t work for you, there is very little plot growth! I don’t think you’re in the minority as I’ve seen a 50/50 split on this one – it’s like The Roanoke Girls all over again – a marmite book!

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      1. This one did have a huge marketing push behind it, so I think the majority of people had high hopes 😅 I think sometimes it’s best for publishers to let readers create the mass hype rather than selling something as a major hit, before it’s guaranteed

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  4. Hahaha… that’d be something. Supernanny vs. Hanna. Would actually pay for it to see that 😀

    I did enjoy this book, but i must say, my uterus curled up on itself and died by the time i finished…

    Liked by 1 person

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