The Reading Room- The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters

Posted August 9, 2021 by stuckint in The Reading Room / 0 Comments

Hello everyone and welcome back to The Reading Room where I talk about the upcoming/recent releases I’ve read recently and am excited to talk about.

Today I am excited to wrap up my three post series featuring Erica Waters and her latest release: The River Has Teeth.

*I received a free copy of The River Has Teeth in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own and do not reflect that of the publisher or author.

About the Book

The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters
Published by HarperTeen Pages: 400

Lush and chilling, with razor-sharp edges and an iron core of hope, this bewitching, powerhouse novel of two girls fighting back against the violence the world visits on them will stun and enchant readers.

Girls have been going missing in the woods…

When Natasha’s sister disappears, Natasha desperately turns to Della, a local girl rumored to be a witch, in the hopes that magic will bring her sister home.
But Della has her own secrets to hide. She thinks the beast who’s responsible for the disappearances is her own mother—who was turned into a terrible monster by magic gone wrong.
Natasha is angry. Della has little to lose. Both are each other’s only hope.
From the author of Ghost Wood Song, this eerie contemporary fantasy is perfect for fans of Wilder Girls and Bone Gap. 

About the Author

Erica Waters grew up in the pine woods of rural Florida, though she now resides in Nashville, Tennessee. She has a Master’s degree in English and works as a university writing tutor. When she’s not writing books, you can find her hanging out with her two dogs, Nutmeg and Luna, and forgetting to practice her banjo. Ghost Wood Song is her first book, and you can visit her online at  

My Thoughts

I like a creepy wood as much as the next person. There’s something so deliciously eerie about something watching from the dark and lurking in the shadows. It is this aforementioned setting that drew me to Erica’s work, first with Ghost Wood Song and then with her latest release: The River Has Teeth. 

By now, you probably know what the novel is about. Della has lived in the woods all her life. Her family mixes potions for those looking to change their luck or fix problems in their lives- be they people or situations. In the opening pages of the novel we meet Della’s mother, who spends her days in a state of psychosis and her nights as a swamp creature that might just be the reason that some girls in the area have gone missing recently. Every morning, Della brings her mother breakfast and occasionally finds blood and dirt under her nails. While she fears what her mother might have done, her one thought is to protect her and her alcoholic father from outsiders that might do the three of them harm or upset their current way of life. Enter Natasha, whose sister Rochelle, has bone missing in the woods. She is determined to get to the bottom of what happened, no matter the consequences. It’s at this point that the two girls’ paths cross, intertwining their fates irrevocably 

As characters, both Natasha and Della grow a fair bit throughout the novel. Their relationship starts off quiet rocky and a bit hostile, but as Natasha pushes against Della’s attempts to create distance and starts to suspect that she knows more about Rochelle’s disappearance than what she lets on, walls begin to crumble and romance blossoms. I found their developing relationship both believable and not overdone. I think frequently that’s the danger with romance in dark fantasy and horror, it can sometimes take you out of the story. But Waters handled the relationship skillfully and carefully and it never felt contrived in my opinion. 

But hear me out, the atmosphere is so immersive and haunting. It’s the kind of book that makes you look over your shoulder as you turn the pages, wondering what could possibly be stalking you from the shadows. While Erica has said that she doesn’t love horror, she writes the horror elements of her novels well as both Della and Natasha go traipsing through the woods, urged on by their respective machinations.

This southern gothic dark fantasy novel is more than just a good mystery though. It simmers with feminist rage and female power as Della and Natasha unravel the truth behind the evil that stalks the woods.

Overall, I gave The River Has Teeth 4.5? and would recommend it to fans of books like Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand and Strange Grace by Tessa Bratton.

What About You?

Have you read The River Has Teeth? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

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