The Spirit Bares Its Teeth

New York Times bestselling author Andrew Joseph White returns with the transgressive gothic horror of our time!
Price: $19.99
  • ISBN: 9781682636114
  • Publication date: 09/05/2023
  • Page Count: 400
  • Size: 5-1/4" x 8"
  • Age Range: 14-18
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A Stonewall Honor Book in Young Adult Literature!

A blood-soaked and nauseating triumph that cuts like a scalpel and reads like your darkest nightmare.

New York Times bestselling author Andrew Joseph White returns with the transgressive gothic horror of our time!

Mors vincit omnia. Death conquers all.

London, 1883. The Veil between the living and dead has thinned. Violet-eyed mediums commune with spirits under the watchful eye of the Royal Speaker Society, and sixteen-year-old trans, autistic Silas Bell would rather rip out his violet eyes than become an obedient Speaker wife.

After a failed attempt to escape an arranged marriage, Silas is diagnosed with Veil sickness—a mysterious disease sending violet-eyed women into madness—and shipped away to Braxton’s Finishing School and Sanitorium. When the ghosts of missing students start begging Silas for help, he decides to reach into Braxton’s innards and expose its guts to the world—so long as the school doesn’t break him first.

Featuring an autistic trans protagonist in a historical setting, Andrew Joseph White’s much-anticipated sophomore novel does not back down from exposing the violence of the patriarchy and the harm inflicted on trans youth who are forced into conformity.


Andrew Joseph White


Andrew Joseph White is a queer, trans author from Virginia, where he grew up falling in love with monsters and wishing he could be one too. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from George Mason University in 2022  and has a habit of cuddling random street cats. Andrew writes about trans kids with claws and fangs, and what happens when they bite back.


★“Redefines the concept of a ‘visceral’ book. . . . parallels to the dangerous pressure to conform (especially for trans or autistic teens) and the importance of being seen and understood are masterfully shown. . . . readers, take care.”—Booklist, Starred Review

★ “White brings such raw agony, power, and desperation to his complex and layered characters that it is impossible to not feel immediately sympathetic and deeply invested in their survival.”—The Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books, Starred Review

★ “White wields prose like a scalpel, cutting deep and spilling guts with gruesome precision. . . . Visceral and vindicating.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

★ “Via precise, intentional prose, White (Hell Followed with Us) crafts an unsettlingly horrific tale that boasts a rich and fully realized world, propelled by a champion of a protagonist whose determination to fight for his right to survive is both uplifting and empowering.”Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

★ “[A] riveting, spellbinding Victorian horror about a neurodivergent trans boy desperate to escape the life his family has planned for him. . . . White shows in this sharp, tense novel the same kind of visceral prose that garnered such acclaim for his debut, Hell Followed with Us.”—Shelf Awareness, Starred Review

“Readers’ sympathies are fully engaged. Secondary characters are rounded as well, creating intriguing dynamics.”—The Horn Book

“This novel provides a valuable lens into the historical perspective of trans identity.”School Library Journal


Stonewall Honor Book in Young Adult Literature ―American Library Association, 2024
Locus Awards Top 10 Finalist ―Locus Science Fiction Foundation, 2024
‘Best of the Best’ Book― Chicago Public Library, 2023
Best Young Adult Book of the Year Kirkus Reviews, 2023
Blue Ribbon Book― BCCB, 2023
Editors’ Choice― Booklist, 2023
Best Book of the Year― Shelf Awareness, 2023
Best Book of the Year― School Library Journal, 2023


Reading Group Guide
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More Details

BISAC 1: YAF019040 Young Adult Fiction – Fantasy – Historical
BISAC 2: YAF031000 Young Adult Fiction – LGBTQ+
BISAC 3: YAF045000 Young Adult Fiction – Paranormal, Occult & Supernatural