Pink Smog: Becoming Weetzie Bat

Pink Smog: Becoming Weetzie Bat

4.3 68
by Francesca Lia Block
     
 

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Despite how much Louise insists, no one will call her Weetzie. It's her dad's nickname for her, but it won't stay put. Neither will her dad. Charlie left Louise and her mom and he took everything with him: her family, her home—and her understanding of who she's meant to be.

But Los Angeles is a city full of strange angels, and Louise

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Overview

Despite how much Louise insists, no one will call her Weetzie. It's her dad's nickname for her, but it won't stay put. Neither will her dad. Charlie left Louise and her mom and he took everything with him: her family, her home—and her understanding of who she's meant to be.

But Los Angeles is a city full of strange angels, and Louise embarks on a journey to sift through the smog of her heartbreak, to grow her own wings, to become Weetzie.

Editorial Reviews

Maggie Stiefvater
“Pink Smog sparkles and obscures; it’s a glorious mirage, like the city it pays homage to.”
Shelf Awareness
“Teens... will relate to the heroine’s universal feelings of being on the fringe. Louise’s uplifting example proves that only from the outside can one forge her own true path.”
New York Times Book Review
CRITICAL ACCLAIM for WEETZIE BAT and the DANGEROUS ANGELS collection:“Transcendent.”
Village Voice
“Magnificent.”
New York Post
“Shimmering.”
Los Angeles Times Book Review
“One of the most original books of the last ten years.”
Booklist (starred review)
“An intoxicating mix of mystery, fantasy, and romance told in her signature poetic style and peopled by guardian angels, witches, a goddess, and a demon.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“This canny introduction to Weetzie is the perfect prep.”
Publishers Weekly
In this prequel to her genre-shifting 1989 debut Weetzie Bat, Block peels back the glittering surface of that hip teen fairy tale to reveal a heartfelt portrait of the artist as a grieving seventh-grader. After Louise’s father abruptly decamps for New York City, she must cope with her mother’s depression, a clique of mean girls, and the sinister family in Unit 13 of the Starlight Condominiums, where she lives. An attractive older boy—possibly a guardian angel—offers help and solace, as do two new friends from school, who are outcasts as well. As anonymous notes propel Louise on a mystery tour of her beloved hometown, Los Angeles, magic shimmers ever brighter. By the novel’s end Louise leaves her given name behind and begins to grow into Weetzie, the girl who can spin pain into gold by always seeing beauty, “no matter how bad things get.” Newcomers and longtime fans alike will find much to savor in this nuanced meditation on what is lost, and what is gained, in the process of becoming an artist. Ages 14–up. Agent: Lydia Wills LLC. (Feb.)
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“This canny introduction to Weetzie is the perfect prep.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"This canny introduction to Weetzie is the perfect prep."
Booklist
"An intoxicating mix of mystery, fantasy, and romance told in her signature poetic style and peopled by guardian angels, witches, a goddess, and a demon."
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“This canny introduction to Weetzie is the perfect prep.”
VOYA - Paula Willey
Thirteen-year-old Louise is friendless and flat chested. Bad luck and worse decisions have torn apart the cozy canyon life she shared with her parents, B-movie director Charlie Bat and starlet-turned-homemaker Brandy-Lynn, and now she lives in a courtyard condo down below the smog line. Instead of her tiny, hippie elementary school, she is attending a big public junior high where everything seems like a competition. And then, after one too many drunken arguments with Brandy-Lynn, her dad leaves. Pink Smog is the prequel to Block's popular Weetzie Bat stories—this is Weetzie before she becomes fully Weetzified: not yet blonde, only partially sparkly, showing barely a hint of the wistful siren to come. With some of the glitter swept away, the emphasis is on Louise's feelings and encounters, which have always been well written but can be overshadowed by the feathered, flowing, Mod Podge fabric of Weetzie's later life. Heartbroken, teased, neglected, and possibly hexed, Louise begins to learn about risks that are worth taking and people who are worth cherishing. She is a peaceful child who, when faced with cruelty and loss, develops into a young woman who is pliant but not wimpy, strong but not aggressive. A fresh gem for Weetzie fans, Pink Smog stands comfortably alone as well, and although marketed to ninth grade and up, this book could be wise comfort to a reader as young as fifth grade whose family has undergone sudden change. Reviewer: Paula Willey
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Back in 1989, readers fell in love with a whimsical teen named Weetzie. But in the eponymous seminal young adult novel (Harper Collins), Weetzie was glamorous, open-minded, artistic, and whimsical. In Pink Smog, Block introduces readers to a 13-year-old Weetzie, back when her mom was still calling her Louise. When her dad leaves for New York, the young protagonist decides to start living differently. No small feat when you're living in L.A. with an alcoholic mother. She befriends two outcasts, crushes on a mysterious guy who seems to know a lot about her absent father, and suspects a creepy neighbor is doing some serious damage to her life through voodoo. The story has an ethereal feel to it, with the flavor of Weetzie's world taking precedence over the plotline. In the early '90s, Weetzie was Teen Lit's alternative princess, and Pink Smog aims to introduce a new generation to her fantastical world. It remains to be seen whether today's teens will be as enchanted with it.—Emily Chornomaz, Camden County Library System, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
Does this failed prequel to the Phoenix Award–winning Weetzie Bat (1989) at least succeed as a standalone novel? It's 1975, and 13-year-old Louise Bat is mourning the death of her parents' marriage. In a first-person voice that breaks any possibility of the magical realism that made the original Dangerous Angels series so powerful, Weetzie explores the scariness of her apartment complex. At school, she forms an outcasts club with anorexic Lily and (requisite for Block) gay best friend Bobby, having friends can protect her only so much from bathroom graffiti and gum in her hair. Worse, the mean girls of junior high have nothing on the scary witchlike inhabitants of unit 13: purple-eyed Hypatia Wiggins and her nasty, Jayne Mansfield–loving daughter Annabelle (any possible connection to Weetzie Bat's purple-eyed, Jayne Mansfield–wannabe witch, Vixanne Wigg, is left undeveloped). But perhaps Weetzie has a guardian angel at both home and school: Winter, Annabelle's brother. Is it Winter who's leaving her the notes that show her L.A. at its most sparkly, mysterious and flavorful? Inexplicably, Weetzie's story concludes by cutting off any possibility of magic in this realism. A dreamlike tale of bullying and coping that owes slightly too much to nostalgia to work. (Fiction. 12-15)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061566004
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/04/2014
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
699,928
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

What People are saying about this

Maggie Stiefvater
“Pink Smog sparkles and obscures; it’s a glorious mirage, like the city it pays homage to.”

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