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Necklace of Kisses
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Necklace of Kisses

4.4 15
by Francesca Lia Block

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Where are the kisses?

Weetzie Bat wondered. When her relationship with Secret Agent Lover Man turns cold, the forty-year-old post-punk pixie packs up, jumps into her mint-green '65 Thunderbird, and leaves to take refuge in L.A.'s enchanted Pink Hotel—with its blue-skinned receptionist, invisible cleaning lady, seductive faun, and sushi-eating mermaid who


Where are the kisses?

Weetzie Bat wondered. When her relationship with Secret Agent Lover Man turns cold, the forty-year-old post-punk pixie packs up, jumps into her mint-green '65 Thunderbird, and leaves to take refuge in L.A.'s enchanted Pink Hotel—with its blue-skinned receptionist, invisible cleaning lady, seductive faun, and sushi-eating mermaid who gives Weetzie the first kiss that sets the wheel of self-discovery spinning madly in motion. Though she faces some very adult problems, anything is still possible in Weetzie's world—angels, magic . . . even true love.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Readers who remember Weetzie Bat and My Secret Agent Lover Man's first kiss (a "kiss about apple pie a la mode with the vanilla creaminess melting in the pie heat") from their YA incarnation may be crushed to learn that they've shared no kisses since September 11, 2001. My Secret Agent Lover Man, though Weetzie's long-time lover, "was now just Max"; Weetzie, whom readers first met in 1989's Weetzie Bat, is now 40. As the novel opens, Weetzie packs a small bag and checks herself into a pink hotel in L.A., "seeking the kiss she had lost." There Weetzie embarks on a quest of sorts. She meets Shelley, whose kiss reveals that she is a mermaid and is the first of the title's necklace of kisses. Each kiss injects a bit more enchantment into Weetzie's life. Block carefully construes the kisses as complete in and of themselves. Weetzie never betrays Max; this is a novel of healing. Weetzie's many fans will most appreciate this reunion with the heroine and her Secret Agent Lover Man, Dirk and Duck and many more. But those just meeting Block's whimsical entourage and sparkling prose will also appreciate the book's message: that magic can be found in stolen moments and, in Dirk's words, though "love is a dangerous angel," it's well worth the risk. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Weetzie Bat is forty and the kisses have stopped. Her secret agent lover man laments "the unfathomable sadness of the world" following the September 11 terrorist attacks, obsessed by the never-ending, streaming news reports. Weetzie packs a small suitcase with her favorite clothes, leaves Max sleeping and checks in at a pink hotel-the scene of her high school prom. Magic abounds at the hotel, a place populated with a captured mermaid, an invisible housekeeper, a horny bellhop named Pan, and Lacey-a spidery dressmaker who reminds Weetzie that all women "weave our stories out of our bodies. Some of us through our children, or our art; some do it just by living." A kiss from the mermaid results in a pearl; other gems are added to the necklace through various kisses as the days pass, while Weetzie wonders if Max misses her. Weetzie leaves behind much of her slinkster-cool slang but remains a master on food, fashion, and feelings. Seemingly a stream of magical consciousness, this novel is really a tightly plotted, well-structured story about self-discovery that also explores the ability to find hope. Teens familiar with the Weetzie Bat books will enjoy peeking in on familiar characters almost twenty years later, relating to the need to evaluate romantic relationships for staleness. Cherokee and Witch Baby attend college, and readers will demand more of them in future books. Adults and mature teens who missed Weetzie the first time around will be drawn to the chick-lit cover. The Block-head legion will grow. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults).2005, HarperCollins, 227p., Ages 15 to Adult.
—Cindy Dobrez
Library Journal
Fifteen years ago, YA readers were introduced to the funky mystical world of Weetzie Bat, a lovable punk flower child. Now, followers of the controversial but popular "Dangerous Angels" series will rejoice as Weetzie and her cohorts are brought back magically to life in Block's first adult novel and sixth series entry (after Baby Be-Bop, 1996). Rising self-doubts over life choices send 40-year-old Weetzie into a midlife crisis. Escaping from her once passionate and now staid relationship with longtime boyfriend Max, she books herself into a pink hotel inhabited by mythical creatures. Dreamlike interactions with a captured mermaid and a sexy room service faun, among other beings, are interwoven with the emotional realities and support of her friends and family. With vivid imagery, Block, the 2005 recipient of the ALA Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement in young adult fiction, has conjured another enchanting and lyrically surreal journey of love and self-discovery. Recommended for popular fiction collections.-Joy St. John, Henderson Dist. P.L., NV Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Author of the acclaimed Weetzie Bat series, YA novelist Block gives her YA heroine a mid-life crisis for the adult market-with mixed results. Fifteen years ago, Block, the 2005 recipient of the American Library Association Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement, brought to life Weetzie Bat, a punk-rock L.A. princess with an internal lightning rod for modern magic. With a devoted following, the novels are both heralded and attacked for their edgy content (in the first novel Weetzie conceives daughter Cherokee in a menage a trois with best friends, and gay lovers, Dirk and Duck.) The question is whether her outcast characters and titillating scenarios will play to an adult crowd. Weetzie at 40 is now wondering if she's too old for her Hello Kitty watch and orange pants. Her daughters Cherokee and Witch Baby are in college, her Secret Agent Lover Man has turned into just plain old Max (a Cassavetes-like director obsessed with the attacks of 9/11) and though she loves her vintage clothing boutique, Weetzie is wondering where all the magic and kisses have gone. Weetzie packs up her suitcase (the contents of which are listed, indeed much space is given to what Weetzie is wearing) and runs away to the pink hotel. There, Weetzie begins a surreal journey toward healing, or as the hotel's hermaphroditic lounge singer Heaven/Haven suggests, growing up. She meets Isis, the blue-skinned woman at reception; Shelly, a former mermaid and now trophy wife longing for the sea; Esmeralda, the invisible maid; and the aptly named Pan, in room service. At each encounter, Weetzie gets the kisses she's longing for, and then left behind in her mouth she finds a precious gem. She was initially drawn tothe place as it was the setting of her high-school prom, and now Weetzie finds that Zane Starling, the date she was too afraid to kiss, has a gallery opening at the hotel. Maybe this one last kiss will make all the difference. Lovely language and ambitious ideas aside, the novel's emotional content is thin, and entirely too much relies on some very pretty window dressing.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.54(d)
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Necklace of Kisses

Chapter One


Where were the kisses? Weetzie Bat wondered.

Even after almost twenty years, Weetzie and her secret agent lover man still threw each other against walls, climbed up each other's bodies like ladders, and attacked each other's mouths as if they were performing resuscitation. The kisses had been earthquakes, shattering every glass object in a room. They had been thunderstorms, wiping out electricity so that candles had to be lit; then, those kisses extinguished the candle flames. They had been rainstorms on the driest, thirstiest desert days, causing camellias, hydrangeas, agapanthus, and azaleas to bloom in the garden. Those kisses, Weetzie remembered--they had been explosions.

Now there were no kisses at all.

Weetzie dressed in a pair of cropped, zippered, pale orange pants, a silver-studded black belt, a pair of high-heeled ankle-strap sandals, a black silk-and-lace camisole, a white satin trench, a pink Hello Kitty watch, and a pair of oversized rimless pink glasses with her name written in rhinestones on the lens. Then, carefully, thoughtfully, one by one, Weetzie took out of her closet:

a lime green, pink, and orange kimono-print string bikini she had made herself
two fresh, unopened packs of men's extra-small white tank tops from the surplus store
new-fallen-snowy-white Levi's 501 jeans
men's black silk gabardine trousers from the Salvation Army, tailored to fit
a pair of orange suede old-school trainers with white stripes
orange-leather, silver-studded slides
some bikini underwear and bras in black, white, pink,lime green, and orange
a pink-and-green Pucci tunic from her best friend Dirk's Grandma Fifi

Weetzie put everything into a small white suitcase covered with pink roses and fastened with gold hardware. It was very important that everything was just right--fabulous, actually. She'd read an article in a fashion magazine, "Aceness at Any Age," and realized that she had already zipped through her twenties and thirties--only ten short years each--wearing Salvation Army finery mixed with her own wacky creations. She liked the jacket made of stuffed-animal pelts and the necklace of plastic baby dolls, but at forty she wasn't sure that either looked particularly ace. And there was less and less time left to be fabulous now.

Why was fabulousness important? The world was a scary, sad place and adornment was one of the only ways she knew to make herself and the people around her forget their troubles. That was why she had opened her store almost five years ago. Everyone who entered the little square white house with miniature Corinthian columns, cherub statues, and French windows seemed to leave carrying armloads of newly handmade and spruced-up recycled vintage clothing, humming sixties girl-group songs, seventies glam and punk, eighties New Wave one-hit wonders, or nineties grunge, doing silly dances, and not caring what anyone thought.

Weetzie loved the old dresses she found and sold, because they had their own secret histories. She always wondered where, when, and how they had been worn. What they had seen. Old dresses were like old ladies. Except that the Pucci tunic, Emilia, still shone like a young girl.

In her white purse, Weetzie put her tiny pink Hello Kitty wallet, her huge black sunglasses case, a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss, deodorant, a bottle of jasmine-and-gardenia perfume, a tube of pink lipstick, a heart-shaped powder compact, travel-size bottles of sunscreen, moisturizer, hair gel, and shaving cream, a razor, a comb, and her cell phone. She smacked on some pink lip gloss and dumped that in, too. Then she went to look at Max, who was asleep with a newspaper covering his face.

Who was he? she wondered. This man with his head in a newspaper all the time. This man who had been her secret agent lover for so long and was now just Max. They had hardly said a word to each other in days. There was nothing left to say. There were no kisses or even the ghosts of kisses floating through the air, waiting to be caught.

Weetzie caught a glimpse of herself in the heart-shaped mirror as she walked out of the door of the cottage where she and Max had been together for over two decades. Her hair was short and bleached platinum blonde, as it had been since she was a teenager. Her nose, chin, and ears were pointy, as a petulant fairy's, but her mouth was wide, soft, and affectionate. Her eyes were hidden under pink sunglasses, so she could not see the little lines that revealed her age, or the tears that were not there.

Necklace of Kisses. Copyright © by Francesca Block. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Francesca Lia Block, winner of the prestigious Margaret A. Edwards Award, is the author of many acclaimed and bestselling books, including Weetzie Bat; the book collections Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books and Roses and Bones: Myths, Tales, and Secrets; the illustrated novella House of Dolls; the vampire romance novel Pretty Dead; and the gothic werewolf novel The Frenzy. Her work is published around the world.

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Necklace of Kisses 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First novel of Francesca Lia Block's that I've read and I read it up in like 4 hours over 3 consecutive days. I dug it totally up even being probably somewhat out of her demographic of readers. I hadn't even read a Weetzie Bat series before this one and look forward to the previous ones. I hope she continues writing even more on her two daughters Cherokee and Witch Baby. Lots of soul searching in everyone and that's what I loved about it and reading on to know what other jewel she'll kiss up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just loved this book, after reading everyone of her books multiple times I was so happy to get to read another. The 'Weetzie Bat ' series is my favorite ,and to see weetzie going on more adventures was so exciting!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely adore all of Block's books - I see them more as epic poetry. This one is another fantastic excape for the reader as well as Weetzie from a very 'real' life problem.... she excapes to a very surreal place where through extraordinary experiences, everything falls into place. Pick this book up and enjoy - you won't want to put it down.
miztrebor More than 1 year ago
Necklace of Kisses is the book in Francesca Lia Block’s Weetzie Bat books. I read the first five books in the Dangerous Angels collection and loved every minute of it. While Necklace of Kisses differs from those books, in my opinion, Block’s writing is just as captivating. As I said, I found this book to have a different feel than the rest of the Weetzie Bat books, though this wasn’t a thing that turned me off. One thing that made this change (that I’m not really sure I can accurately put into words) feel natural is that Weetzie is now 40. She’s grown up. She’s a mother of college kids. And she is just now finding herself. As readers, we’ve aged with Weetzie, as well. And behind the beautiful language, magical characters, and otherworldly experiences Weetzie has in this book, there is a story that we can all relate to. I may not be Weetzie’s age, but we all have a time in our life when we need to go out and find ourselves. For her, it just happened a little later in a magical, crazy life. I’m not going to come out and say this was my favorite book of the series. I think the first book will always hold that place for me for many reasons. However, the fact that Block has shared this cast of characters’ lives with us over many years, and still can keep the magic in her books, that’s what’ll keep me reading her work. It’s also what’ll keep me coming back to this series (I still have the prequel, Pink Smog, to read next) for as long as it may go on. I wouldn’t be opposed to reading about Weetzie, Max, Dirk, and Duck all in rockers watching grandchildren grow up before their eyes.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Midlife crisis sparks a journey for Weetzie Bat, one in search of the 'kisses'. Her quest takes her to a strange motel where a blue woman runs the front desk, an invisible woman cleans, and the room service clerk is willing to fulfill her every desire. As she learns about the various inhabitants of this odd place, Weetzie begins to learn about herself. Could she settle into this pink world, or will she find her kisses and follow her dreams back home? If she does, can she take the magic with her? .................................. Readers will find a strange odyssey of lyrical allegory. If one lacks a background in the Weetzie series, like as not it will seem even stranger. Yet there is a message here, for those who are willing to look.