Pretty Dead
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Pretty Dead

3.7 40
by Francesca Lia Block
     
 

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PEOPLE PITY ME, BUT MOSTLY THEY FEEL ENVY. I HAVE ALL THE LUXURY AND FREEDOM A GIRL MY AGE COULD WANT.

Something is happening to Charlotte Emerson. Like the fires that are ravaging the hills of Los Angeles, it consumes her from the inside out. But whether it is her eternal loneliness, the memory of her brother, the return of her first love, or the

Overview

PEOPLE PITY ME, BUT MOSTLY THEY FEEL ENVY. I HAVE ALL THE LUXURY AND FREEDOM A GIRL MY AGE COULD WANT.

Something is happening to Charlotte Emerson. Like the fires that are ravaging the hills of Los Angeles, it consumes her from the inside out. But whether it is her eternal loneliness, the memory of her brother, the return of her first love, or the brooding, magnetic Jared-she cannot say. What if it's something more...

Something to do with the sudden tear in her perfect nails. The heat she feels when she's with Jared. The blood rushing once again to her cheeks and throughout her veins.

For Charlotte is a vampire, witness to almost a century's worth of death and destruction. But not since she was a human girl has mortality touched her.

In what way will you be transformed?

Until now

Editorial Reviews

The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“With her characteristic flair and seductive prose, Block makes this tangled story of betrayal and love a standout. Sensuous and heartbreaking, sure to both satisfy and challenge fans of the supernatural romance.”
Publishers Weekly
Known for lyrical, intoxicating prose and magical realism, Block delves into the vampire mythos with a racy story that sizzles and satisfies. While the story she spins (century-old vampire lives as Charlotte, a 17-year-old girl who has everything except true love, real friends and mortality) offers nothing new to the overstuffed niche, its simple beauty—and its slight heft—lies in its lustrous details (Paris of the 1920s comes alive in Charlotte’s “celery-green silk crepe sheath”). Many iconic moments from this past century—the bombing of Hiroshima, Woodstock, John Lennon’s murder, Kurt Cobain’s suicide—are given brief but vividly described due. Charlotte’s master-and-servant relationship over several decades with her “maker,” William Stone Eliot, is overtly erotic (“death in the guise of love, a dark-haired man... who bows his head to your breast, and bares, and punctures, and raptures and drains until you are empty and he is full”), as is her twisted and only slightly less sultry romance with the tragically handsome Jared Pierce, which acts as the perfect contemporary foil. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Michele C. Hughes
Charlotte Emerson has the perfect life, yet she is miserable and lonely. Living in an immaculately decorated seaside mansion in Southern California, her designer clothes, bottomless bank account, and gorgeous figure are the envy of all. Yet beneath her facade is a sad, isolated 100 year-old vampire teen who resents the transformation she chose so long ago. Charlotte is attracted to Emily, a girl at school, and gets to know her boyfriend, Jared, as well. When Emily is found dead in the bathtub with her veins sliced open, authorities rule it suicide. Jared and Charlotte are overwrought with grief, which bonds them as friends and later as lovers. Jared suspects Charlotte's secret and asks to be transformed, too, but she declines. Charlotte notices some changes in her body after Emily's death—her nails break, she begins menstruating again, and she is able to cry. Could it be that she has regained her mortality, as she had wished for decades? The plot grows darker when William, the calamitous vampire who created Charlotte, reappears in her life. She is horrified at his role in—and her own suppressed memory of—Emily's death. Charlotte must come to terms with the envious monster she has become and the wicked bargain she has made to get her life back. A tense battle for Jared's soul ensues. Sensual prose and lambent sexuality infuse every scene, from recollections of Charlotte's relationship with her late brother to her affection for Emily to her romantic relationship with Jared. Details of Charlotte's lavish life paint a picture of a life lived so artificially as to hinder sympathy for the narrator. Her longing to be human is palpable, but the way she squanders her wealth andtime on personal consumption erects a wall between the mortal reader and the character. Then to see Charlotte prevail in the wake of her wickedness is unsatisfying and formulaic. Reviewer: Michele C. Hughes
VOYA - Jennifer Hubert
Block's latest novel chronicles the chain of events that cause reluctant teen vampire Charlotte Emerson to regain her mortal status. Charlotte was a beautiful 1920s debutante who succumbed to the charms of vampire William Eliot while mourning the death of her beloved twin, Charles. But Charlotte soon tires of the incessant globetrotting, the luring of victims, and the natural disasters that seems to dog William's undead steps, so she leaves him. Now Charlotte lives alone in an oceanside California mansion filled with priceless antiques and vintage clothes. She lies about her nonexistent parents and attends high school to cover her true identity. When Charlotte's best mortal friend, Emily, dies in an apparent suicide, Charlotte is drawn into a guilty romantic relationship with Emily's grief-stricken boyfriend Jared. As she falls deeper in love, her undead body begins to ripen into mortal flesh. Meanwhile William manages to find her, his dark purposes unknown. She wonders what is happening to her and whether her true love for Jared will save her from William's sinister advances? Told in flashbacks and Block's trademark poetical prose, this novel is a lyrically wrought treatise on art, death, life, and love. Here the vampire is a metaphor for the death of art, and as Charlotte recovers her humanity, she also regains her creativity. Blockheads will be giddy over this latest dark-tinged fantasy romance, and teens who are not up to wading through the lengthy pages of that other vampire tome will find just as much angst here at half the page count. Reviewer: Jennifer Hubert
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Charlotte Emerson is tall and beautiful, and lives by herself in a gorgeous mansion. She's also a vampire. Before she turned, she was a bright young woman with an idyllic life. Then her beloved twin died, and his death so devastated her that she had to find a way to dull the pain. Thus, she became a vampire, a decision that has haunted her for nearly 100 years. Now she is faced with another tragic loss: that of her best friend, Emily, to an apparent suicide. Lost and lonelier than before, she seeks comfort and solace in Emily's boyfriend, Jared. At first, he is bitter and angry with her, but she opens up to him, telling him about her past, and they eventually fall in love. But there is one secret that she keeps from him: she suspects that she may, somehow, be turning into a human again. When Charlotte's maker, William, returns to taunt her, Charlotte is forced to face a horrific mistake from her past that may cost her everything. In Pretty Dead, Block takes what has up to now been the norm among vampire novels for teens and attempts to turn it on its head. This is a startlingly original work that drives a stake deep into the heart of typical vampire stories, revealing the deep loneliness and utter lack of romance in eternal life.—Necia Blundy, Marlborough Public Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Charlotte has been a vampire for 80 years, and for the first time she wants something she thinks she can have: beautiful Emily Rosedale. But Emily kills herself, leaving Charlotte alone but for a growing friendship with Emily's boyfriend and the terrifying return of the vampire who created Charlotte in 1925. That's pretty much it for plot, but this being Block, every element of the narrative is really about sex: food, clothes, death, disaster, siblings and, of course, sex itself. Luckily, sex is enough to provoke character growth. Charlotte's coming-of-age-more apropos for a young woman than for a teenager-may have taken 80 years, but it's no less satisfying for all that. The people who surround Charlotte are caricatures of need whose actions follow no logic, but Charlotte's internal journey is what is important, so the senseless plot doesn't detract significantly. Wine-drinking, brand-name-adorned and gothically tormented, Charlotte provides a nice interlude for those readers who'd rather be a vampire than marry one. (Fantasy. YA)
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“With her characteristic flair and seductive prose, Block makes this tangled story of betrayal and love a standout. Sensuous and heartbreaking, sure to both satisfy and challenge fans of the supernatural romance.”
Booklist (starred review)
“A true original…[Block] has created something psychologically complex, erotically charged, and unusually poignant.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"With her characteristic flair and seductive prose, Block makes this tangled story of betrayal and love a standout. Sensuous and heartbreaking, sure to both satisfy and challenge fans of the supernatural romance."
The Horn Book
“Will be gobbled like candy by teen readers.”
Booklist
"A true original…[Block] has created something psychologically complex, erotically charged, and unusually poignant."
Claudia Gray
“I love the lush, melancholy world of this novel, and its heroine, with her century of secrets.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“With her characteristic flair and seductive prose, Block makes this tangled story of betrayal and love a standout. Sensuous and heartbreaking, sure to both satisfy and challenge fans of the supernatural romance.”
VOYA - Kim Carter
Emily Rosedale and Charlotte Emerson are close friends—very close. Charlotte has beauty, money, clothes, and "all the luxury and freedom a girl could want." Emily has "sad brown eyes . . . ballet lessons . . . a mother who loves her . . . and a boyfriend named Jared Dorian Pierce." What Emily wants most is "to live forever with the one I love." Charlotte has lived a century and walked away from the one she loved, a vampire named William who turned her when she was sixteen. Now Emily is dead, found in her bathtub with slit wrists, and strange things have started happening to Charlotte. She has a broken nail, and a zit. And she has feelings for Jared, feelings that go beyond worry about his grief for Emily. As Charlotte and Jared's relationship deepens, neither of them suspects what really happened to Emily or what is about to happen to them, as William returns to reclaim Charlotte. With her classic flair, Block presents an original intersection of love triangles, mortality and immortality, and human and vampire desire, while blending classical culture and style with modern zeitgeist. The result is somewhat uneven, especially for those enamored with Block's Weetzie Bat (HarperCollins, 1989/VOYA October 1989). A retrospective of Charlotte's century of life comprised of historical vignettes of the twentieth century feels like an interjection, needing to be either longer or shorter, and Block's poetic phrasing is less evident than usual. Still, Pretty Dead will appeal to Block fans as well as lovers of vampire fiction. Reviewer: Kim Carter

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061547850
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/22/2009
Pages:
197
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

What People are saying about this

Claudia Gray
“I love the lush, melancholy world of this novel, and its heroine, with her century of secrets.”

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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Pretty Dead 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Dana_W More than 1 year ago
I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this book and it was well worth the read. The artful writing of Ms. Block was a joy to experience and the story a real page turner. Watching Char experience what is was like to be a vampire going through the ages was like looking at a painting. You could feel her emotions-grief, rage, love radiating through the pages. Her anger at her maker, the grief of losing her beloved brother at such a young age. Her love for Emily and Jared and finally the betrayal that changed everything. Read this book. It is a keeper.
Sabrielle More than 1 year ago
I am an avid reader and Ms. Block is most definitely the most creative and magical writer I have read. I absolutely love every single book by her. Upon reading the synopsis of this novel I was not sure if I would feel the same about this one. It blew me away. From what I was expecting, it was much more deep and involved than your typical vampy book. I should have known and I will never underestimate this fabulous writer again. She never disappoints!
floppyyy More than 1 year ago
I liked this book, i just thought that since it was short; events moved a little too quickly in the story. But over all it was a good book. :]
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Charlotte Emerson used to be a teenage girl. She loved writing, clothes, and her brother, Charles. Charles meant everything to her - he was her world, her reason for living. Rheumatic fever took him too early, leaving Charlotte heartbroken and lost. Enter William, a dashing young man who offers Charlotte a life of immortality; free from worry, disease, and old age. Charlotte is exquisite as a vampire; her beauty is unparalleled, but she longs for something more - a companion - someone who can replace her Charles. She finds this in Emily - a teenage girl who has endured so many things. Emily wishes to be turned, but Charlotte refuses to damn her for all eternity. Inevitably, Charlotte loses Emily. She also begins to lose something else... I have loved Francesca Lia Block ever since the Weetzie Bat books came into being. Block's use of language and expression creates an incredibly beautiful, yet haunting universe for her characters to mingle in. It is like this in all of her novels. The words flow like liquid across the pages. With PRETTY DEAD, Block has joined the ranks of other great authors by putting her own twist on vampire mythology. Lovers of the undead will devour this novel...make sure to pick it up!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am definitely a fan of this book (I got it from the library first and now im going to purchase it), I feel its beautifully written and thoughtout, it contains so much rage and passion.  It is obviously not everyones cup of tea, however I mainly read 400 page books and I feel that this book though small contains the same if not more feeling and story as any other book iv'e read. I say give it a shot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is not only a book with complex characters, deep symbolism, and things we all can relate to, it is artwork. I have been there through all of Block's writings, and I can assure you that this is one of the best. I can not promise that you will love this book, but I did. To understand the deeper meaning I had to reread and even just sit and think about this book. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who can have the patience to understand it.
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JustinBieber More than 1 year ago
Man i love books that is out there and this one really hit the spot i read this and litterally was amazed on the way the writer put it all in words and made you feel rite there I was amazed. Buy this book it is great and hope you enjoy it as much as i did