What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo is not for everyone. It has an odd theme, with odder imagery (though no illustrations). Yet, while it is interesting nonetheless, it does have several weaknesses. Some plot point holes are one of them, and another (for me) was that the characters are not overly likable.
One would assume that werewolves would not be likable, but you would hope that as a family unit you could empathize with them. But I have little empathy for a family that sends a child away without letting them know why. Then when she comes back to the (as one reviewer I saw said) unwelcoming arms of her family, they ignore her and almost consider her equal to the plague. And a family who does some other really not nice things (to say the least) to the villagers and even each other.
However, I am not the only one who felt this. Several reviews said that while the writing was lovely, the story was flawed. And (to tell them is to tell the story) those flaws play into why these people are not nice. Another point that is slightly redeeming is that this is not your usual werewolf story. There is no hiding “grandpa in the closet” (that’s the cousin’s job, figuratively and literally; besides I would love to see someone try and put that man in a closet if he didn’t want to!), therefore, there is no BOOM! Surprise honey, your gramps has some fangs and extra body hair!” revelations.
There are some revelations about why Eleanor (our narrator) is like she is, there are some questions about sexuality (are the father and cousin of Eleanor at least bisexual? Or is it magically induced? Our heroine seems to have some Sapphic feelings towards a schoolmate. Not to mention the author is non-binary), maturity (the older daughter and cousin seem to be still child-like, but far from innocent) and how family can be both a blessing and curse. One issue that I felt was only partly solved was the timeline. When is this set? At first it feels like “now” (if now is late 1990s to the mid-2000s), but there is a 50-year-story arc that seems to have started around 1908. The technology of the time, the mentality of the time and the manners of the older sister, would then make this fit solidly in the 1960s.
When I was reading, I was getting hints of old school thriller/horror/supernatural of Richie Tankersley Cusick (or Richie Cusick, as I have seen both, and not sure what they go by now) and what I think VC Andrews might be like (without some of the oogy family dynamics). It is for teens, but at least 14 and up would probably be best as the ending in particular has some odd points.