Published October 4, 2022 by Berkley Books A  young woman in need of a transformation finds herself in touch with the animal inside in this ...

Review || Such Sharp Teeth by Rachel Harrison

Published October 4, 2022 by Berkley Books

A young woman in need of a transformation finds herself in touch with the animal inside in this gripping, incisive novel from the author of Cackle and The Return.

Rory Morris isn't thrilled to be moving back to her hometown, even if it is temporary. There are bad memories there. But her twin sister, Scarlett, is pregnant, estranged from the baby's father, and needs support, so Rory returns to the place she thought she'd put in her rearview. After a night out at a bar where she runs into an old almost-flame, she hits a large animal with her car. And when she gets out to investigate, she's attacked.

Rory survives, miraculously, but life begins to look and feel different. She's unnaturally strong, with an aversion to silver--and suddenly the moon has her in its thrall. She's changing into someone else--something else, maybe even a monster. But does that mean she's putting those close to her in danger? Or is embracing the wildness inside of her the key to acceptance?

This darkly comedic love story is a brilliantly layered portrait of trauma, rage, and vulnerability.

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A darkly comedic love story about a girl turned werewolf by Rachel Harrison? Yes, please. I couldn't wait to get to this one. Harrison previously covered zombies in the gruesomely funny The Return and the fellowship of witches in Cackle. One would think that werewolves would be a logical next step.

The first few pages throw the reader right into the fray as Rory leaves a bar on a misty night and hits an animal on the dark road. We all know from the cover that this is going to be a werewolf story so no one is really surprised (except for Rory) when it's divulged that what she hit was a freakin' werewolf. It attacks, leaving Rory bleeding in the woods, but somehow still alive the next day. Rory knows that people will think she's totally nuts if she runs screaming about being attacked by a werewolf so she creates a story about a bear attack. 

 As Rory manages all the physical and emotional changes along the way, there's plenty of sarcastic banter with others and inside Rory's head. She's a completely chaotic mess but she's going through a lot right now, okay? Becoming a werewolf is tough! Rory approaches all the crazy changes with a can-do attitude. She's leaking silver blood, she's stronger, has a craving for all things meat, and her hair is looking Ah-mazing. Sure, she's thinking WTF the whole time but she's learning how to vibe. 

The dynamic between main characters is always at the forefront of Harrison's books and Such Sharp Teeth is no different. Rory and her twin sister Scarlett have a close relationship; close enough that Rory drops everything to head back to her hometown when Scarlett calls saying she needs her. Rory loves the freedom of her life in the city but willingly stepped away from it all temporarily to give support to her pregnant sister.  

It might sound very strange to call a werewolf book endearing, but that's somehow just what Harrison manages to evoke. The addition of romance might put a lot of people off as horror and romance aren't often themes merged but I enjoyed it. I appreciated that it wasn't love at first sight and it wasn't easy. Rory's complicated internal conflicts kept her from being completely honest with herself. 

Before you think it's a Hallmark movie, Harrison manages to tackle some tough subjects. (TW) Rory is dealing with the trauma of a sexual assault as a child and she still harbors resentment towards her mother, leading to a tumultuous relationship. Bodily autonomy is also wrapped up in the narrative as both Rory and her sister navigate their changing bodies—Rory's lycanthropy and Scarlett's pregnancy changes. 

While it's more little horror light or cozy horror, Such Sharp Teeth is fast-paced and hilarious, while still being beyond adorable. It's very female forward and about loving who you are. Comedy and horror is one of my favorite combinations and Harrison does it right.