Rory Morris has a perfect life. She is the youngest VP at her company ever, she has flings every week with a different D-list celebrity, and most importantly, she escaped her tiny little backwoods town. Until her twin sister, Scarlett begs her to come back. Scarlett is pregnant and the daddy seems to have split. Being a good sister Rory packs up everything to stay with Scarlett. But it’s only temporary, she is going back to Manhattan as soon as she can.
Then she hits something with her car. Something big. And it’s not happy about being hit. The creature attacks her and Rory is sure she’s dead. But she wakes up in the hospital with only minor cuts and scrapes. Everyone says she’s so lucky after her bear attack. Rory isn’t so sure she is lucky though, and she isn’t sure it was a bear either.
Come along with Rory as she deals with her quickly changing life in Such Sharp Teeth: A Werewolf Novel by Rachel Harrison.
[Note: While I am reviewing this novel independently and honestly, it should be noted that it has been provided to me by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin House, for the purpose of this review. Warning: My review of Such Sharp Teeth: A Werewolf Novel contains some spoilers!]
Our heroine hits an unexpected obstacle in Such Sharp Teeth
Rory is happy with her life. She worked hard, went to college, and got out of her small town. She lives in Manhattan, has a great job, and has zero attachments. And that’s how she likes it. But when her twin sister calls her and says she needs her, Rory takes a leave of absence from work, sublets her apartment, and high-tails it back to her hometown.
A couple of weeks after she arrives Rory heads out to the bar for a few drinks. She runs into an old friend, Ian. Ian always had a crush on her but Rory never returned the feelings. But now Ian is looking good. He’s cute and funny and Rory starts thinking maybe. But no, she is leaving town as soon as she can so she leaves the bar and heads home.
As Rory is driving home she checks her phone for a split second and slam! She hits something and loses control. When the car stops she makes her first big mistake. She gets out to check what she hit and is attacked by a huge, furry, gruesome creature. In her shock and panic, she refuses to name it. She feels it rip chunks of flesh from her body and knows she’s dead as she passes out.
Amazingly she wakes up in the hospital with only minor bumps and bruises. She tells them a bear attacked her because what else could it have been? But then she starts noticing things aren’t quite right. After some hard denial, the full moon comes back around and there’s no denying it anymore, that wasn’t a bear that attacked her.
Major changes (It’s not called “A Werewolf Novel” for nothing)
Now everything is changing fast for Rory and she can’t quite get her feet under her. At first, she hopes she can go back to her old life in the city but it quickly becomes apparent that isn’t happening.
Making things worse is Ian. Rory slowly comes to the realization that she cares about Ian a lot more than she cares to admit. She even starts thinking they could have a life together in the sleepy little town she tried so hard to escape. But the timing couldn’t be worse. She can’t have a healthy relationship with Ian while hiding such a big secret and if she tells him the truth he’ll never want to see her again. Plus, She can’t control herself when she changes and she doesn’t want to hurt Ian or anyone else. How can she possibly live a normal life now?
As her sister gets closer to giving birth more secrets come out about why and how she and her husband split. This causes strong tension between the sisters. Then their mother comes to visit before the baby is born. Rory and her mother have a strained relationship, to say the least.
Rory finds out just who is responsible for turning her and she feels even more betrayed. All of the compounding stress nearly undoes Rory. She searches feverishly for a cure or at least a way to hold on to herself during the change. One thing keeps tickling the back of her mind “there’s usually a little truth to those legends” and silver is supposed to kill werewolves. Maybe, maybe there’s something there. Maybe she can find a way to have everything she wants, once she decides what it is she wants.
A different kind of love story in Such Sharp Teeth: A Werewolf Novel
Such Sharp Teeth has a traditional love story where the girl goes off with big city dreams only to find that love was waiting for her back home the whole time. It’s cute and wholesome. But it also has a better love story. The real love story, arguably what the whole story is about, is Rory learning to love herself.
Rory goes through something really awful as a kid. The initial event was traumatic enough but it’s made worse when neither her twin sister nor her mother believes her. In an attempt to cope she tries to be perfect at everything and she puts up walls to keep everyone at arm’s length. She appears to be happy and confident but inside she’s lonely and hollow.
After she gets bit, she starts facing all those emotions she hid away because the wolf won’t let them hide. She comes to terms with what happened and her feelings about it and all the people around her. She looks close enough at herself to realize what she wants and she comes to love herself enough to get it. It really is some great character growth and development wrapped up in a monster story.
All important humor
Rory’s story could have been really heavy to read through. There is a lot of trauma and growth and that can weigh down a story and a reader. Thankfully Harrison uses humor to help combat that dangerous pitfall. There are a lot of rapid-fire quips between the different characters that keep the mood elevated throughout the story. When Rory and Scarlett get to bounce off each other it’s hilarious. Rory and Ian have a similar interaction style most of the time.
Such Sharp Teeth is a great monster read
Such Sharp Teeth is a great book to put on your read list this October. Harrison’s monster story will give you chills, and Rory’s story of growth and change will warm you right up. I think pretty much anybody will enjoy Such Sharp Teeth. I definitely recommend it for this spooky season or any time of year.
My rating for this book: 7/10