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Teen Spirit

Teen Spirit

4.5 6
by Francesca Lia Block

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 11/25/2013
Poetry and pop culture, life and death—these are just two of the polarities that pulse through Block’s elegantly crafted novel. When Julie’s beloved grandmother Miriam dies, Julie’s life turns upside down. After she and her mother move from their cozy Hollywood cottage to a bleak apartment in Beverly Hills, Julie starts her senior year at a new high school. There she meets sweetly eccentric Clark, who is also mourning a loss. Their easy friendship grows complicated once Julie gets to know Grant, Clark’s beguiling, bad-boy twin. As Julie and Clark navigate their grief and forge a path through quotidian high-school life, Block (Love in the Time of Global Warming) makes a refreshing case for the virtues of the nice guy. Julie and Clark are fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and between the ghost-centric plot and Julie’s strained relationship with her mother, Block’s novel could pass for an episode of the show. While the spooky goings-on, eerie romance, and magical-hipster Los Angeles setting have broad appeal, the story has even richer treasures in store for readers who dig deeper. Ages 14–up. Agent: Laurie Liss, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Feb.)
Claudia Gray
“I love the lush, melancholy world of this novel, and its heroine, with her century of secrets.”
Maggie Stiefvater
PRAISE FOR PINK SMOG:“Pink Smog sparkles and obscures; it’s a glorious mirage, like the city it pays homage to.”
Booklist (starred review)
“A true original…[Block] has created something psychologically complex, erotically charged, and unusually poignant.”
The Horn Book
“Will be gobbled like candy by teen readers.”
Cassandra Clare
PRAISE FOR PRETTY DEAD:“An opulent, surreal world of strange beauty, sudden horror, and lush romance.”
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.”
Children's Literature - Toni Jourdan
In high school, Julie has always been a bit of a loner. She relies on her tight familial bonds with her mother and grandma Miriam for a sense of connection. With a retro style influenced by her grandma’s flair for clothing and love of poetry (especially Emily Dickinson), Julie keeps mostly to herself. She has never known her sperm donor father, and has heard only that he was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian. While reading the Dickinson poem, “A Visitor in Marl,” Miriam passes away in Julie’s presence. Miriam’s final words—“There’s something I must tell you...” —leave Julie full of questions. Not long after her grandmother’s death, Julie’s mom loses her scriptwriting job. They are forced to leave their artsy home in the Hollywood Hills and move into an apartment in the less-coveted area of Beverly Hills. On her first day at Beverly Hills High, Julie meets Clark, a quirky fellow who wears hats and brings a kicharee to lunch every day. Julie has found a Ouiji board in her new apartment, and she hopes to contact Grandma Miriam to find out about those last words. However, because Clark’s hands are also on the Ouija planchette, he also happens to connect with the spirit world. He also has a secret that he does not share with Julie, but one evening she meets this secret in the body of Grant Morrison. It seems that Clark has a twin brother that he never talks about. Julie finds that she enjoys both boys for their different qualities. She even lets Grant kiss her, which brings all kinds of tingles to her body. He is definitely handsome and self-assured; there’s just one glitch: he also has a secret. This is a quick read that envelops the reader in Julie’s haunting loss, voyage into the occult, tinctures, roses, auras, and of course the mystical world of teen romance. Reviewer: Toni Jourdan; Ages 14 up.
Kirkus Reviews
One haunted girl chooses between twin brothers—who inhabit the same body. Julie's best friend is her beloved grandmother, Miriam. But when she dies, everything falls apart. Julie's mom falls into a depression and loses her job and their home. Friendless and lonely, Julie must start her senior year in a new school while living in a terrible Beverly Hills apartment. Everything looks up when she meets Clark, a happy eccentric. Clark, with his wacky hats and his healthy suppers, sustains Julie even as her mother shows the clearest signs of mental breakdown: dressing attractively and dating. Still, what about the devilishly attractive boy who looks just like Clark and kisses like a dream? Could he truly be Clark's dead twin, Grant? She all too accurately compares her dilemma to preteens at a Twilight premiere; some of her thoughts "were on team Grant and some were on team Clark." Julie's quest to solve her boy troubles is tied inextricably to her grief over her grandmother; she must use her latent psychic powers to resolve both. Her quest takes her over a New-Age map of Los Angeles, where a multicultural mishmash of every ethnicity with a spirituality to appropriate teaches her that "maybe a shaman is just someone who understands that life is filled with loss and pain." Try Rosemary Clement-Moore's Spirit and Dust (2013) instead for a more substantial psychic teen. (Paranormal romance. 14-18)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Block returns with a haunting ghost story set in her beloved Los Angeles. In the course of a few months, Julie has lost everything. Her grandmother died. Her mother lost her job, and subsequently their house. And Julie's been forced to move into a cramped two-bedroom apartment in a new school district while her mother goes through a midlife crisis that involves dating an aging metalhead. When she meets Clark, an enigmatic and peculiar senior, the two form an instant connection until Julie convinces him to help her contact her dead grandmother via an old Ouija board. Unfortunately, their misguided attempt has lasting and haunting repercussions when a malevolent ghost possesses Clark's body. Suddenly, the teens are running all over Los Angeles trying to find herbs and roses to cleanse Clark of this spirit before he's lost forever. Told in Block's signature, flowing prose, Teen Spirit is a layered story that's more about grief than it is about ghosts. Julie's narration is fast paced and accessible; readers won't be bogged down by intricate plots or complex ghost mythology. This is just a story about two kids learning to deal with loss. Julie realizes she cannot cling to the dead; she must hold her grandmother in her heart as she tries to live her own life. A beautiful story from a legendary young adult author.—Kimberly Garnick Giarratano, Rockaway Township Public Library, NJ

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)
HL770L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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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Teen Spirit 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Take_Me_AwayPH More than 1 year ago
I have to admit, the reason I added this to my TBR pile was the cover. I saw it and was expecting a super creepy read. And what I got wasn't even close. Block delivers a really well written story, but it really lacks on the creep factor.  When I saw this cover and read this synopsis I was expecting a story that would keep me up all night. Not because I would stay up reading it, but because I was too scared to close my eyes in the dark. This was the exact opposite. It had a small amount of creepiness, but only enough for me to think "Ok, stuff is getting weird..." Ghosts books don't normally do it for me so I wasn't really surprised, but I really was expecting to like this story a little more. What I did like about it was the fact that it was a really well written story. It was the only thing that stopped me from not finishing. I liked her writing style so much that I've decided to find and read all the other books that Block has. There was so much grief and pain and love in this that its hard to think all her others won't be filled with that much emotion. But I must admit I was a little worried about the book later on down the road. There were a lot f musical references in there and I'm afraid its going t date the book. After a while it will be looked at as "back in the day."  With the plot, it was pretty steady but it wasn't really much going on. It wasn't really anything keeping me hooked to the story besides me wanting to know how they would get rid of a certain thing. And the characters. They liked some old tv shows that I liked as well as some old books that my mom liked. Because of that, it made me feel a little closer to them. And I was really proud that Block made her choose the nerd and not the super hot guy that everybody wants. First time I've ever seen that in a YA book! Although the writing style and characters were good, the non-moving plot and the missing creep factor kept me from actually enjoying this book. I'm a little disappointed because this one was heavily anticipated, but at the same time, it served its purpose as being the gateway for me to get Block's other books. Here's to hoping her other ones are just as beautifully written as this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It stops midsentence.. why would it do that!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quick read -- amazing story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
crayolakym More than 1 year ago
Why did this book have to be only two hundred forty pages? I was immediately pulled in from page one and couldn’t put it down. It is a quick read, but packed with a magical and memorable story of two kids who share a common ground – death. When they tempt fate playing with a Ouija board, things don’t go as planned leaving Clark sharing his body with his dead brother, and Miriam, who has powers she is only now realizing, who is torn between the guy she loves and her best friend. Making the right decision will weigh heavy on her as time is quickly running out. If only she could talk with her dead grandma. “Maybe my friend was crazy, psychotic crazy, pretending that his brother was dead or pretending that he was his dead brother.” Teen Spirit has a beautifully eye-catching cover which leads right into a very unique and engaging story. It is a story about finding your true self, not giving up, and doing what is right. The characters are genuine, and I am glad the author didn’t add “teen trash” as the majority of teens are more like Miriam and Clark. I felt connected to this story and I highly recommend adding this book to your must-have list! *Reviewed by Janessa *This book was provided in exchange for an honest review *You can view the original review at San Francisco Book Review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waits exitedly