on February 4, 2014
Genres: fantasy, Magical Realism
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Francesca Lia Block, critically acclaimed author of Weetzie Bat, brings this eerie and redemptive ghost story to life with her signature, poetic prose. It's perfect for fans of supernatural stories with a touch of romance like the Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
After Julie's grandmother passes away, she is forced to move across town to the not-so-fancy end of Beverly Hills and start over at a new school. The only silver lining to the perpetual dark cloud that seems to be following her? Clark—a die-hard fan of Buffy and all things Joss Whedon, who is just as awkward and damaged as she is. Her kindred spirit.
When the two try to contact Julie's grandmother with a Ouija board, they make contact with a different spirit altogether. The real kind. And this ghost will do whatever it takes to come back to the world of the living.
Francesca Lia Block's latest young adult novel is a haunting work about family, loss, love, and redemption.
When I first picked up a Francesca Lia Block at 16 years old it was at a time that I felt lost and felt those typical teenage feelings like no one understood me. (This book brought me back to my teenage self so much that I was even inspired to catch a few Buffy the Vampire episodes for old times on Netflix…will explain as to why later on:) ) Block has the remarkable ability to make me see the beauty in my life and to see the beauty in myself even through all my quirks and eccentricities! Reading the book “Teen Spirit” resurfaced those feelings for me again. Francesca Lia Block’s writing style has always been prevalent in all her books but this book, in particular, reminded me of her Dangerous Angels series in so many parts of the book. After reading this book I think that Francesca Lia Block should continue a series and show Julie in college and so on. The story was so entertaining and the characters were so complex and intriguing that I could not get enough!
The story begins with Julie…
Julie is an awkward teenager with a pension for vintage clothes who is absolutely content with her life living in her 1940’s Spanish style house with her mom and grandma. Her mom is a writer for a television show and her grandmother is Julie’s rock and she is always the person that Julie can confide in when it comes to her high school woes, boys and their common love for vintage clothing. Julie takes comfort with her simple life until things don’t become as simple as they used to be. It all started when her grandmother is just having a conversation with Julie and she is about to reveal something important and then without warning Julie’s grandmother passes away in front of her. Julie and her mother are completely shocked and lost without her and things take a turn for the worse after the grandmother’s passing. Julie’s mother loses her writing job and they are forced to foreclose on their house and move to an apartment and Julie had to change schools.
Julie slowly gets deeper into her depression and realizes that she can’t function in her life without her grandma. Julie doesn’t even have the support from her own mother who is going into online dating and begins to date a loser middle aged guy in a band with a pension for “fishnet stockings.” Julie is desperate to see her grandma and find a way to communicate with her. Then once she starts her new school she meets a goofy guy named Clark whose trademark staple is wearing zany hats such as moose hats, monkey hats, porkpie hats, obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and he enjoys eating “kicharee.”
As Julie gets to know Clark she discovers there is more to Clark than his wacky hats and his culinary talents. She shares with him her loss of her grandmother and expresses a desire to contact her grandmother. As soon as Julie mentions the ouijia board to Clark he is reluctant to do it with her and tries to keep her away from it. Soon enough Julie finds out his real reasons for staying away from the ouija board…
Julie evokes an unexpected spirit and therefore begins a twisted love triangle that involves Clark and a boy named Grant who claims to be Clark’s twin brother. Grant is the bad boy version of Clark and is more of the sexy 4.0 version of Clark minus the nerdy hats…
One of the main aspects of the book that really intrigued me were the supernatural scenes such as the auras that Julie had the ability to see with each person she met, the rituals, the glass bottles of flower-and-gem essences, and not to mention the aura ring that Julie was instructed to wear that resembled a mood ring which is something that I have always looooved to wear as a kid.
This book brought back memories for me of when I first began to read her books and her writing of this book made me realize why I love Francesca Lia Block so much! Teen Spirit was everything that I hoped for in a supernatural read and more! I felt like I was on a journey right there with Clark and Julie and I was loving every minute of it! I loved how Francesca Lia Block wrote the characters of Julie and Clark because they were easy to love but they were real teenagers with their flaws, insecurities, and angst to go along with it. She delved into the characters stories so fluidly and I was rooting for Clark and Julie to finally have their own happy ending every step of the way! The most important lesson that I learned from this book is that death is something we shouldn’t dwell over and obsess about because our beautiful and complicated lives are right in our very own fingertips…