The River Has Teeth

Girls have been going missing in the woods….

When Natasha’s sister, Rochelle, goes missing on the Bend—the second girl to disappear from the wildlife preserve—Natasha will do anything to make sure she’s found.

As the case turns cold, Natasha’s desperation takes her to Della, a local girl rumored to be a witch, in the hopes that magic will bring Rochelle home.

But Della has her own secrets to hide. Because Della thinks she knows who is behind these disappearances—her own mother, turned into a terrible monster by a spell gone wrong.

Natasha is angry. Della has little to lose. Both are each other’s last chance.

HarperTeen/Harper Collins, July 27, 2021

Read an excerpt here

Content Warnings

The River Has Teeth is available in Spanish and French.


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“Potent, atmospheric, and wholly satisfying.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review

The River Has Teeth is a backwoods murder ballad of a book that draws from the old songs and legends that underpin so many areas of rural America. Its girls are rough around the edges, products of fractured families that should have done better by them and tougher than they should have to be. It’s impossible not to root for the love they find in each other, even as their own lies and shortcomings jeopardize it.”NPR

“Waters weaves a spell on the page, seeped with dark and murky magic, both beautiful and terrifying, just as her girls are beautiful and terrifying. Set loose upon the Bend, Natasha and Della are two forces crashing into one another with a strength that makes their world tremble.” 
— Emma Berquist, author of Missing, Presumed Dead

“Soft and seething, with an undercurrent of longing and rage, The River Has Teeth is the perfect story for anyone who is tired of feeling helpless. This book has teeth, too.” — Hannah Whitten, New York Times bestselling author of For the Wolf

“Packed with monstrous magic and a wicked bite, The River Has Teeth is the perfect read for fans of Beware the Wild and Wilder Girls. Fierce and flawless.” — Kat Ellis, author of Harrow Lake

“Full of fierce women and wild magic, The River Has Teeth is a captivating story of love, grief, and the power of anger. From its eerie opening pages to its gripping finale, it kept me enthralled.” — Kate Alice Marshall, author of Rules for Vanishing

“With its witches, monsters, and missing girls, The River Has Teeth is a hypnotic, suspenseful read.”  –Wendy Heard, author of She’s Too Pretty to Burn

The River Has Teeth is one of those books I could not put down—even when I knew I should. The lush, haunting story gave me the most gorgeous nightmares I’ve ever had.” — Kylie Schachte, author of You’re Next 

“Eerie and chilling to the bone, The River Has Teeth holds back no punches. Unique magic and two girls set on their own quests for vengeance will keep readers turning these pages — and looking over their shoulder for any monsters in the night.” — Brad Sells, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN (Kids Indie Next List)

“Full of dangers both magical and mundane, The River Has Teeth delivers ferociously good thrills.” BookPage

“Waters’ southern gothic thriller cleverly uses magic as a metaphor for the ways women resist the harm that men do.” Booklist

  • Winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
  • YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults nominee
  • American Booksellers Association Indie Next Pick
  • Amazon Best Book of the Month
  • Kirkus Best Young Adult Book of 2021
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