The Waters and the Wild

The Waters and the Wild

4.4 7
by Francesca Lia Block
     
 

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When Bee woke up, there was a girl standing in her room. "You are me," the girl said. Then she was gone.

I am a thirteen-year-old double Gemini. I get bad grades, write poetry with my left hand, dance in my room, surf the net. I Google images of the tattoos my mom won't let me get. . . .

But my world belongs to someone else. Someone who lives below the

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Overview

When Bee woke up, there was a girl standing in her room. "You are me," the girl said. Then she was gone.

I am a thirteen-year-old double Gemini. I get bad grades, write poetry with my left hand, dance in my room, surf the net. I Google images of the tattoos my mom won't let me get. . . .

But my world belongs to someone else. Someone who lives below the concrete of Los Angeles, someone with wild eyes and twigs in her hair.

And I think she wants her life back.

Editorial Reviews

Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“Block’s trippy poetic prose and magical realism will enthrall her fans.”
ALA Booklist
“Short enough to be read in one sitting, but nonetheless has an impact that will be felt much longer…perplexing and ethereal.”
Publishers Weekly

Awash in a bruised and aching adolescent sensibility, Weetzie Bat author Block's new novel doesn't waste a word. Doubles abound: doppelgängers, past lives and dual worlds in which poetic truths can exist alongside the banal details of modern teenage life. Never quite at home-even in her own home-Bee is jolted out of her social isolation by a nighttime apparition of a girl who looks just like her: " 'You are me,' the girl said. Then she was gone." Seeking to discover the meaning of this vision, Bee throws her lot in with two other outcasts at school (one thinks she is a reincarnated slave, the other, possibly an alien). For a time, their new friendship buoys all three ("She had, if only briefly, belonged," Bee thinks. "The world she had never loved before had turned to gold"). Still, hints indicate that Bee's alter ego is intent on reclaiming her place, and Bee grows mysteriously ill. Fragments of poems by Yeats and Shelley are eerily apropos (and may provide an irresistible invitation for further reading). Haunting and thought provoking. Ages 14-up. (June)

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Children's Literature - Jennifer Lehmann
The only place Bee has ever felt she belonged was in her garden. When a girl appears, looking like a dirty, wild version of Bee and saying that Bee has stolen her life, Bee is inclined to believe her. In her search for answers, she finds Sarah and Haze, friends with equally unusual outlooks on life. Block explores the universal conflict of adolescence: the desire to fit in and the awareness of a different-ness. The idea of the changeling introduces an interesting twist on this struggle, as Bee simultaneously learns she really does not belong and finds people with whom she fits. Written primarily from Bee's viewpoint, her thoughts are clear and insightful. I was left, however, wanting more explanation of the process of being a changeling from a perspective outside of Bee's head. The unique qualities of this book may not be accessible to all readers, but with well-defined characters and flowing language, this book will ring true to many adolescents. Reviewer: Jennifer Lehmann
School Library Journal
Gr 7-9–Bee, 13, wants to eat the dirt in her mother’s garden; Haze believes that he is half-alien; and Stephanie thinks that she is a reincarnated slave girl from the 1800s whose name was Sarah. One day Bee sees a girl in her room who could be her twin. After the girl says, “You are me,” she disappears. Bee usually doesn’t talk to anyone, but decides to ask Haze about the vanishing figure. He explains that she is a doppelganger and that seeing one means your eminent death. Bee hears Sarah sing a Billie Holiday song about lynching and talks to her. The three loners become friends. They crash a party by deciding to be invisible and enjoy drinking and dancing before being caught. They grab hands, run out of the party, and fly away. When they land, Bee finds a poisonous plant in her pocket. The teens figure out that she is a changeling, and the real Bee is desperate to have her body back. The author does an excellent job of integrating background slices of paranormal history and poetry. This slim novel is comprised of short chapters, is quickly paced, and has a surprise ending. It will appeal to reluctant readers, fans of the bizarre, and teens who feel that they don’t quite fit in.–Samantha Larsen Hastings, West Jordan Public Library, UT
Kirkus Reviews
This brief novella, an overly pat melding of magical realism and metaphor, brings together three teens who feel so alienated from society that they believe themselves to be, well, alien. Protagonist Bee sees her own doppelganger and comes to believe she is a changeling. Her friends Sara and Haze are a reincarnated slave girl and an extraterrestrial, respectively. Together, the three don't mind their outcast status as much as they did apart. They learn to fly, or at least to pretend they do. They crash a party, either because they learn the spells to make themselves invisible or just because they're lucky. Perhaps the world is enriched by their friendship, perhaps not. Where Block's works once treated magic as metaphor but also as magic in its own right, this speedy read doesn't allow for any mystery that isn't mere allegory for adolescent emotional traumas. Bee's friends "had seen, or believed [they] had seen" amazing things, the tale concludes, nullifying its own magic. Neither fantasy nor a rich exploration of character. (Fiction. 12-14)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061452444
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/02/2009
Pages:
128
Sales rank:
471,248
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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