Wednesday 30 January 2013

Review -- Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

Title: Teeth
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publisher: 01 January 2013
Date Read: January 2013
Rating: ★★★★★

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 didn't really know what to expect from Teeth. Not a clue. I was just going by the cover because look how pretty that looks. And I had heard everyone shout such high praises for Moskowitz but after reading Gone, Gone, Gone, I thought she was just... ok. She's good, yes, but certainly nothing to be so damn excited about.

Never have I been more wrong. And never have I been more happy to be wrong. After reading Teeth, I literally smacked my head on the forehead and went, "Ohhhhh..." It's like the veil was lifted and gone is the false truth I believed in. I finally understand.

What I learned very early on (pg 4) in the novel is that Moskowitz writes so damn beautifully.

We are a groan away from a watery death and, we'll all drown without even waking up, because we're so used to sleeping through unrelenting noise.
It's the kind of beautiful that doesn't even realize it's beautiful because it's too busy not realizing how beautiful it is. It's also very dark and gritty with dry humour that made me cringe because that really wasn't an okay thing to make fun of but dammit I'm chuckling anyway. The writing is raw, simple and had the power to knock the breath out of my lungs and rip my heart out. But it's ok. I mean, it's not like I needed a heart to function. Go ahead andkeep it, Moskowitz.
He would know that without him, nine of us will be as good. Me, without a friend; and the fish, without a brother; and the island, without a story; and Diana, without her something real, we will all be a little but less than we were before we knew him.
Rudy's family hears of legends about magical fish who can cure any sort of illness. Dylan, Rudy's little brother, suffers from cystic fibrosis and they're desperate to try anything. Desperate enough to move to the little lonely island and leave their life behind for a legend. Rudy is an instantly likeable character. He's sixteen and his voice felt so real. His mannerisms, his speech, his thoughts were ones I could so easily relate to. Rudy is a lonely teenager and he always has been, even in the presence of his old friends. He meets Diana, the only other in the island close to his age. He thinks that Diana will fill the void the lack of human contact created. He thinks he will be happier with her around. He thinks they will develop a romance, at the very least a close friendship, because they're of the same age and who knows when they'll get off the island. But it's not with Diana that he finds these things. It's with Teeth, a fish/human/merman/fishboy. Some might not be content with the explanation Moskowitz provides regarding Teeth's origins but like she said in the book, sometimes it's not about the transformation. It's just happened and you just have to accept that because, that's not what the story is about. The story is about the loneliness, friendship, family, sacrifice and above all, love.

Kudos to Moskowitz for crafting such realistically developed and interesting band of characters. Rudy, I just can't get enough of. His love for his brother, Dylan and his even greater love for his whatever, Teeth. That was the most heartbreaking of all, the relationship between Rudy and Teeth. I wasn't really sure what to make of Teeth at the beginning. He did flirt with Rudy during their first encounter and in my experience, flirty creatures of the fish variety are something to be very wary of. But, like Rudy, I can't believe I used to doubt, even be scared of Teeth. He is one of the sweetest, most loveable, most fucked up character I've ever had the pleasure of reading. His past and predicaments are slowly revealed throughout the novel but it's long before that when I've completely fallen in love for him. I don't know how many times I cried for and because of these characters. Is it too much to ask for these people to exist in reality as my friends?

The romance is so different. Rudy didn't really like Diana. She was just there and so was he. It doesn't sound like a particularly nice incentive to be with someone, because they were there, and it's not at all. They craved human touch and for someone to want to be with them for a change instead of some responsibility they felt they needed to fulfil. They were just so lonely.

There's just so much in this tiny little book with its 246 pages that whatever I say couldn't possibly be enough. Nowhere near enough. You just have to read it for yourself. Please, you need this in your life. Just... read it, okay? Because that fucking fishboy.

Oh, who am I kidding? I would go through all that pain again. I'm a sick masochist that way.

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