In a taut, unusual fable, narrator Rudy's family has moved to a remote island where a rare species of fish has magical healing properties when eaten.
Rudy is glad to see his brother Dylan's cystic fibrosis symptoms clear up, but he finds the island stifling. Then he discovers that there are two other teenagers on the island: Diana Delaney, who rarely leaves her home, and the fishboy. Human from the waist up and sporting a bedraggled fish tail below, Teeth describes himself wryly as “their dirty secret.” Whose? The islanders'? The Delaneys'? The cruel, miserly fishermen's? As Rudy becomes closer to the fishboy, he not only learns disturbing truths about the island's history, but also becomes embroiled in a fundamental conflict: To the islanders, the fish are salvation; to Teeth, the fish are family. Short paragraphs, evocative imagery, and simple, sometimes curse-laden sentences give the story a breathless feel. Rudy's choices are impulsive but believable, and the consequences for both betraying Dylan and betraying Teeth are immediate and physically brutal. Throughout, the book leaves unanswered the question of what Rudy ought, morally, to do, and the nature of Rudy's intense emotional attachment to the fishboy is similarly ambiguous.
Provocative, unsettling, complex and multilayered. (Fantasy. 14-18)