Book Reviews: The Institute & Baby Teeth


Hello HAHC Blog readers!  I’m back with a couple more book recommendations that I’m 99.95% sure you’ll love!  First up is The Institute by Stephen King.  This is a book I added to my Goodreads list awhile ago, and I finally got around to reading it.  The book jacket for The Institute says it’s “as psychically terrifying as Firestarter…with the spectacular kid power of It.”  I never read Firestarter but enjoyed the movie, and I was underwhelmed by It.  I never found it to be as scary as the world claimed.  But I can see the comparisons with The Institute.  This book is about a bunch of kids with telekinetic and/or telepathic powers who are kidnapped and basically imprisoned by a bunch of absolutely horrible adults who experiment on them for some super-secret purpose.  The Institute (like Firestarter) is more sci-fi than horror, but the way the adults treat the kids is pretty horrific.  This was a fun read that actually opens with a drifter character who lands in a small town before turning to the story of the kids and the “institute.”  I was a bit surprised by this opening since the book jacket description did not mention anything about this drifter, so it was very interesting to see how this story unfolded and how everything tied together.  The Institute is a little over 500 pages, so it’s no small feat.  But I didn’t really come across any slow parts. The kid characters were interesting and well-written with unique and non-annoying personalities, and the adults in the institute made for some great villains.  All in all, a great turnout for King!


My next recommendation is one I am truly excited about and it’s Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage.  This was another book that had been on my Goodreads list for awhile, but I never got around to buying it.  But thankfully, Craig gave me the book as a Halloween present and I’m glad he did because I probably would’ve continued to procrastinate.  This debut thriller from Stage was AMAZING and I absolutely loved it! The blurb on the cover of my paperback copy from Entertainment Weekly says, “We Need to Talk About Kevin meets Gone Girl meets The Omen.”  I mean, how could this description not spark your interest?  Baby Teeth is the tale of Hanna, a seven-year-old who doesn’t speak, and her mother Suzette.  Hanna is the apple of her father’s eye – he adores her and she adores him. But Hanna hates her mother.  And she doesn’t hesitate to make this perfectly clear over and over, all the while hiding her sinister side from her father.  The story plays out by going back and forth between the third-person narratives of Hanna and Suzette, and it was truly creepy to see how Hanna’s mind worked.  I never really had that maternal side that every woman supposedly has, and Baby Teeth definitely didn’t help with that.  But it did help me to discover a new voice in horror fiction!  Her next book, scheduled for release in June 2020, is called Wonderland.  From the publisher’s website, “If Shirley Jackson wrote The Shining, it might look like this novel.”  I’m in!

Happy Reading!

Kia is a cohost of the Half Assed Horror Cast. Her favorite horror novel is Scott Smith’s ‘The Ruins,’ fave slasher is Freddy Krueger, and her favorite TV show of all time is ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’