Blood Roses

Blood Roses

by Francesca Lia Block

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What shall we do, all of us?

All of us passionate girls who fear crushing the boys we love with our mouths like caverns of teeth, our mushrooming brains, our watermelon hearts?

What's real is what's imagined in nine tales of transformation by Francesca Lia Block.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061732577
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/01/2008
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 1,101,472
File size: 612 KB
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About 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.

Read an Excerpt

Blood Roses

Chapter One

Blood Roses

Every day, Lucy and Rosie searched for the blood roses in their canyon. They found eucalyptus and poison oak, evening primrose and oleander but never the glow-in-the-dark red, smoke-scented flowers with sharp thorns that traced poetry onto your flesh.

"You only see them if you die," Lucy said, but Rosie just smiled so that the small row of pearls in her mouth showed.

Still, the hairs stood up on both their forearms and napes that evening, turning them to furry faunesses for a moment as they sat watching the sunset from their secret grotto in the heart of the canyon. The air smelled of exhaust fumes and decaying leaves. The sky was streaked with smog and you could hear the sound of cars and one siren but that world felt very far away.

Here, the girls turned doll-size, wove nests out of twigs to sleep in the eucalyptus branches, collected morning dew in leaves and dined on dark purple berries that stained their mouths and hands.

"We'd better get home," Lucy said, brushing the dirt off her jeans.

They would have stayed here all night in spite of the dangers—snakes, coyote, rapists, goblins. It was better than the apartment made of tears where their mother had taken them when she left their father.

Their mother said their father was an alcoholic and a sex addict but all Lucy remembered was the sandpaper roughness of his chin, like the father in her baby book Pat the Bunny, when he hugged her and Rosie in his arms at the same time. He had hair of blackbird feathers and his eyes were green semiprecious stones.

Lucy and Rosie lovedEmerson Solo because like their father he was beautiful, dangerous and unattainable. Especially now. Emerson Solo, twenty-seven, had stabbed himself to death in the heart last month.

You really had to want to die to be successful at that, their mother said before she confiscated all their Solo CDs and posters. Lucy understood why she'd done it. But still she wanted to look at his face and hear his voice again. For some reason he comforted her, even now. Was it because he had escaped?

Lucy and Rosie were in the music store looking through the Emerson Solo discs. There was the one with the black bird on the cover called For Sorrow and the one called The White Room. There was a rumor that the white room was supposed to be death. The store was all out of Collected with the photo of Emerson Solo holding a bouquet of wildflowers with their dirty roots dragging down out of his hands. A man was standing across the aisle from them and when Lucy looked up he smiled. He was young and handsome with fair hair, a strong chin.

"You like him?" he asked.

Rosie said, "Oh, yes! Our mom threw out all his CDs. We just come and look at him."

The man smiled. The light was hitting his thick glasses in such a way that Lucy couldn't see his eyes. Dust motes sizzled in a beam of sunlight from the window. Some music was playing, loud and anxious-sounding. Lucy didn't recognize it.

"My uncle's a photographer. He has some photos he took of him a week before he killed himself."

Lucy felt her sinuses prickling with tears the way they did when she told Rosie scary stories. Her mouth felt dry.

"You can come see if you want," he said. He handed Lucy a card.

She put it in her pocket and crumpled it up there, so he couldn't see.

One of Emerson Solo's CDs was called Imago. The title song was about a phantom limb.

She wondered if when you died it was like that. If you still believed your body was there and couldn't quite accept that it was gone. Or if someone you loved died, someone you were really close to, would they be like a phantom limb, still attached to you? Sometimes Rosie was like another of Lucy's limbs.

Rosie was the one who went—not Lucy. Lucy was aware enough of her own desire to escape so she did not let herself succumb to it. But Rosie still believed she was just looking for ways to be happier.

When Lucy got home from school and saw her sister's note she started to run. She ran out the door of thick, gray glass, down the cul-de-sac, across the big, busy street, against the light, dodging cars. She ran into the canyon. There was the place where the rattlesnake had blocked the girls' path, the turn in the road where they had seen the baby coyote, the grotto by the creek where the old tire swing used to be, where the high school kids went to smoke pot and drink beer. There was the rock garden that had been made by aliens from outer space and the big tree where Lucy had seen a man and a woman having sex in the branches early one Sunday morning. Lucy skidded down a slope causing an avalanche of pebbles. She took the fire road back down to the steep, quiet street. She got to the house just as Rosie knocked on the tall, narrow door.

Rosie was wearing a pink knit cap, a white frilly party dress that was too small, jeans, ruby slippers, purple ankle socks and a blue rhinestone pin in the shape of a large butterfly. No wonder people teased her at school, Lucy thought. She wanted to put her arms around Rosie, grab her hand and run but it was too late to leave because the man from the music store opened the door right away as if he had been waiting for them all that time.

He didn't ask them in but stood staring at them and twisting his mouth like he wanted to say something. But then another older man was standing at the top of the steep staircase. The girls couldn't see his face. He was whited-out with light.

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

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Blood Roses 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
knielsen83 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book held nine short little stories about love, suicide, and depression mixed with the supernatural. It held the same tempo as all of Block's books and it read fast like most of hers do.
ZareksMom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I adore Block's work. Although it sometimes seems very abstract, the imagery and flow of her words is absolutely gorgeous. My favorite story in this particular book was Skin Art.That said, I wouldn't recommend this to people who weren't fans of Block already. In some ways, it's more difficult to read (although shorter) than her other works.
59Square on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a book of slightly interconnected short stories that are all based in Block¿s trademark magical realism. It is our world, only there is more to see than meets the eye. Some of the stories have to do with a group of friends, one story focuses on each one. While the stories are definitely very Block, I don¿t think they are unusual enough to earn a Printz, but this is the first actual Printz book I¿ve read, so I may change my mind later. This is for older teens ¿ much of the magic covers up sex, drugs, and things that younger teens may not want to read. But Block does a good job of leaving things vague enough that most readers will be able to read whatever they want into it.
EKAnderson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Block's short story collection paints portraits of troubled teens: girls worshipping a recently-suicided rockstar, a girl in love with a too-old tattoo artist, a boy whose father and girlfriend both have died and has decided to live underground. But Block puts a twist on these stories by adding fantastical elements. In My Boyfriend is an Alien, a girl recounts all the evidence she has seen that he is not from here - his accent, his giant round eyes, the way he says "your" instead of "our" when speaking about the government. In My Haunted House, a child deals with the realization that her doll house is haunted by death and is distraught that no one could possibly believe her. A series of four stories are intertwined, each of the characters unaware of the troubles the others are facing: a desperate sadness that causes Rachel to grow to ungodly proportions, falling in love with someone from the wrong side of the tracks, tattoos appearing all over the body without an artist in sight, a vampiric mother. Most touching is the story of Lincoln and Audrey, the boy with wings and the girl who found him with these wings torn off and kept him safe while he healed. These stories are sexy and frank. The truth in Block's writing sings over the elements of fantasy that serve as a platform for the anguish that is adolescence. This book is cathartic, passionate, and lovely.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Feel free to h&upsilon<_>nt anywhere in the rest of the results. <p> Mntlight
BookSakeBlogspot More than 1 year ago
This collection of nine short tales is great for any Francesca Lia Block fan. Most of the stories have overlapping characters, so you get a little more from learning about the characters this way, than in other short story collections. Block has a whimsical way of writing which comes across like poetry in story form and even in the short format of the book it still shines through. I found many of the characters charming and wanted more of them, but often they were the ones that weren't repeated throughout the story.the boys these girls are so passionate about. It's a shame that the boys were the more interesting of the characters since the tales are based on the girls and their thoughts and feelings. I don't think the collection is as wonderful as her full books though, but it does offer a taste of what her writing style is about. Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.
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TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
On Francesca Lia Block's website, there are a bunch of words lumped together, reminding me of magnetic poetry that has been used to describe her work. I couldn't agree more with the words reviewers have used. The one word that kept jumping out at me while reading this was lyrical. I was looking for a word to describe what I thought about her newest literary novella, BLOOD ROSES, and that describes it perfectly. Surreal and dreamy would be good adjectives to use, as well.

The book is broken up into nine short stories. All of the stories deal with a transformation of some sort, whether it is physical or emotional. Not once in any of her stories is the magical element questioned - it is just accepted. My favorite story out of all of them is called Skin Art. Basically, it is about the all-consuming power of first love and how, after time has passed, it is not as great as once thought.

Easy to read, this little book sucks you in, especially if you are a fan of thought-provoking fantasy, as Ms. Block straddles the line between the worlds of magic and reality. The stories seem very personal, emotional; even, at times, irrational. You definitely can't argue with the quality of writing - Francesca Lia Block is a very good writer, but with that said she is not for everyone.

People that are into the art scene will enjoy her work, as well as those who like to analyze dreams, as the stories are rich in sensory detail. Hail to the queen of magical realism.