Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books

Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books

by Francesca Lia Block

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Overview

The Weetzie Bat series, by acclaimed author Francesca Lia Block, was listed among NPR's 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels. This collection brings together all five luminous novels of the series in one paperback.

Spinning a saga of interwoven lives and beating hearts, these postmodern fairy tales take us to a Los Angeles brimming with magical realism: a place where life is a mystery, pain can lead to poetry, strangers become intertwined souls, and everyone is searching for the most beautiful and dangerous angel of all: love.

The Weetzie Bat books broke new ground with their stylized, lyrical prose and unflinching look at the inner life of teens. The New York Times declared Dangerous Angels was "transcendent." And the Village Voice proclaimed "Ms. Block writes for the young adult in all of us."

Includes Weetzie Bat, Witch Baby, Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys, Missing Angel Juan, and Baby Be-Bop.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062007407
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/28/2010
Series: Weetzie Bat Series
Pages: 478
Sales rank: 478,316
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)
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

Dangerous Angels EPB
The Weetzie Bat Books

Chapter One

Weetzie and Dirk

The reason Weetzie Bat hated high school was because no one understood. They didn't even realize where they were living. They didn't care that Marilyn's prints were practically in their backyard at Graumann's; that you could buy tomahawks and plastic palm tree wallets at Farmer's Market, and the wildest, cheapest cheese and bean and hot dog and pastrami burritos at Oki Dogs; that the waitresses wore skates at the Jetson-style Tiny Naylor's; that there was a fountain that turned tropical soda-pop colors, and a canyon where Jim Morrison and Houdini used to live, and all-night potato knishes at Canter's, and not too far away was Venice, with columns, and canals, even, like the real Venice but maybe cooler because of the surfers. There was no one who cared. Until Dirk.

Dirk was the best-looking guy at school. He wore his hair in a shoe-polish-black Mohawk and he drove a red '55 Pontiac. All the girls were infatuated with Dirk; he wouldn't pay any attention to them. But on the first day of the semester, Dirk saw Weetzie in his art class. She was a skinny girl with a bleach-blonde flat-top. Under the pink Harlequin sunglasses, strawberry lipstick, earrings dangling charms, and sugar-frosted eye shadow she was really almost beautiful. Sometimes she wore Levi's with white-suede fringe sewn down the legs and a feathered Indian headdress, sometimes old fifties' taffeta dresses covered with poetry written in glitter, or dresses made of kids' sheets printed with pink piglets or Disney characters.

"That's a great outfit," Dirk said. Weetzie was wearing her feathered headdress andher moccasins and a pink fringed mini dress.

"Thanks. I made it," she said, snapping her strawberry bubble gum. "I'm into Indians," she said. "They were here first and we treated them like shit."

"Yeah," Dirk said, touching his Mohawk. He smiled. "You want to go to a movie tonight? There's a Jayne Mansfield film festival. The Girl Can't Help It."

"Oh, I love that movie!" Weetzie said in her scratchiest voice.

Weetzie and Dirk saw The Girl Can't Help It, and Weetzie practiced walking like Jayne Mansfield and making siren noises all the way to the car.

"This really is the most slinkster-cool car I have ever seen!" she said.

"His name's Jerry," Dirk said, beaming. "Because he reminds me of Jerry Lewis. I think Jerry likes you. Let's go out in him again."

Weetzie and Dirk went to shows at the Starwood, the Whiskey, the Vex, and Cathay de Grande. They drank beers or bright-colored canned Club drinks in Jerry and told each other how cool they were. Then they went into the clubs dressed to kill in sunglasses and leather, jewels and skeletons, rosaries and fur and silver. They held on like waltzers and plunged in slamming around the pit below the stage. Weetzie spat on any skinhead who was too rough, but she always got away with it by batting her eyelashes and blowing a bubble with her gum. Sometimes Dirk dove offstage into the crowd. Weetzie hated that, but of course everyone always caught him because, with his black leather and Mohawk and armloads of chain and his dark-smudged eyes, Dirk was the coolest. After the shows, sweaty and shaky, they went to Oki Dogs for a burrito.

In the daytime, they went to matinees on Hollywood Boulevard, had strawberry sundaes with marshmallow topping at Schwab's, or went to the beach. Dirk taught Weetzie to surf. It was her lifelong dream to surf along with playing the drums in front of a stadium of adoring fans while wearing gorgeous pajamas. Dirk and Weetzie got tan and ate cheese-and-avocado sandwiches on whole-wheat bread and slept on the beach. Sometimes they skated on the boardwalk. Slinkster Dog went with them wherever they went.

When they were tired or needed comforting, Dirk and Weetzie and Slinkster Dog went to Dirk's Grandma Fifi's cottage, where Dirk had lived since his parents died. Grandma Fifi was a sweet, powdery old lady who baked tiny, white, sugar-coated pastries for them, played them tunes on a music box with a little dancing monkey on top, had two canaries she sang to, and had hair Weetzie envied-perfect white hair that sometimes had lovely blue or pink tints. Grandma Fifi had Dirk and Weetzie bring her groceries, show her their new clothes, and answer the same questions over and over again. They felt very safe and close in Fifi's cottage.

"You're my best friend in the whole world," Dirk said to Weetzie one night. They were sitting in Jerry drinking Club coladas with Slinkster Dog curled up between them.

"You're my best friend in the whole world," Weetzie said to Dirk.

Slinkster Dog's stomach gurgled with pleasure. He was very happy, because Weetzie was so happy now and her new friend Dirk let him ride in Jerry as long as he didn't pee, and they gave him pizza pie for dinner instead of that weird meat that Weetzie's mom, Brandy-Lynn, tried to dish out when he was left at home.

One night, Weetzie and Dirk and Slinkster Dog were driving down Sunset in Jerry on their way to the Odyssey. Weetzie was leaning out the window holding Rubber Chicken by his long, red toe. The breeze was filling Rubber Chicken so that he blew up like a fat, pocked balloon.

At the stoplight, a long, black limo pulled up next to Jerry. The driver leaned out and looked at Rubber Chicken.

"That is one bald-looking chicken!"

The driver threw something into the car and it landed on Weetzie's lap. She screamed.

"What is it?" Dirk exclaimed.

A hairy, black thing was perched on Weetzie's knees.

"It's a hairpiece for that bald eagle you've got there. Belonged to Burt Reynolds," the driver said, and he drove off.

Weetzie put the toupee on Rubber Chicken. Really, it looked quite nice. It made Rubber Chicken look just like the lead singer of a heavy-metal band. Dirk and Weetzie wondered how they could have let him go bald for so long.

Dangerous Angels EPB
The Weetzie Bat Books
. Copyright (c) by Francesca Block . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

Reading Group Guide

About The Book:

Dangerous Angels brings together in one volume all five of Francesca Lia Block's celebrated novels about Weetzie Bat and her nontraditional L.A. family of musicians and filmmakers. Populated by fascinating characters, filled with the magic, and occasional misery of the creative life and enriched by themes of the redemptive power of love, respect for the natural world, and the universal search for self-identity, the Weetzie Bat books are modern classics in the making.

The publication of Weetzie Bat in 1989 heralded the arrival of one of the most powerfully original voices in contemporary literature. Francesca Lia Block's marriage of gritty realism and magic in the pages of her postmodern, punk fairy tale was brilliantly innovative. At the same time, her celebration of love in all of its varieties—both heterosexual and homosexual—and the expression it finds in nontraditional or blended families invited controversy among critics but attracted the passionate devotion of readers everywhere. In the books that followed, Witch Baby (1991), Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys (1992), Missing Angel Juan (1993), and Baby Be-Bop (1995) Block enriched readers' understanding of her characters, of the intertwining of love and magic, and of the conflict between light and darkness in contemporary life. Block's wonderfully lyrical writing style matches the authentic sweetness and fundamental innocence of her sensibility and that of her characters. Because of the vividness she brings to her California settings, Los Angeles is as lively a "character" as Weetzie Bat herself. Block issometimes described as a regional writer. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, her characters' search for love, self expression, and personal identity is equally indigenous to the concrete canyons of New York and the wheat fields of the Great Plains, as it is to Hollywood or Weetzie's flower bedecked home in Laurel Canyon.

Questions For Discussion:

  1. The title of this book comes from a quote from Weetzie Bat: "'Love is a dangerous angel,' Dirk said." [p. 11] What does Dirk mean by this? How would you apply this quote to the four other Weetzie Bat books?

  2. According to The New York Times, "Ms. Block writes about the real Los Angeles better than anyone since Raymond Chandler." Discuss some of the ways in which the author brings such vivid life to her setting.

  3. Missing Angel Juan takes place in New York. Does this change of setting make the novel significantly different from the other Weetzie Bat books? This is also the only Weetzie Bat novel to be told in a first person voice, that of Witch Baby. In what ways does this change the experience of reading the book?

  4. In such phrases as "lanky lizards," "duck hunt," and "slinkster cool" Block invents a "slanguage" for her characters. Can you find other examples? How do these compare with slang that you use in talking with your friends?

  5. Francesca Lia Block is also a poet. How has this influenced her style as a fiction writer?

  6. The author says that Witch Baby is the character with whom she most closely identifies. How would you describe Witch Baby as a person? How does she change over the course of the two books about her (Witch Baby and Missing Angel Juan)?

  7. Witch Baby "outs" Duck to his mother [p.110]. Why do you think she does this? Is it wrong for her to do this?

  8. Block's characters love not only one another but the natural world as well. How do they demonstrate this? How does the character of Coyote Dream Song embody this? How and why do the four magical animal "gifts" in Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys change the band members?

  9. At the end of Baby Be-Bop, Dirk thinks, "Our stories can set us free. When we set them free." [p. 478] Discuss what he means by this.

  10. Magic is a regular part of all of the Weetzie Bat books. Genies, magic lamps, ghosts, tree spirits, and more are part of the characters' daily lives. Why do you think Block adds these magical elements to her stories? Are they enriched by this intermingling of the magical and the realistic? And what do you think Block meant when she told an interviewer, "Magic and love. That's the equation, finally. Out of love there emerges transformation and transcendence." Finally, how does she demonstrate this in her use of myth and fairy tales in her novels? (E.g., the Orpheus myth in Missing Angel Juan.)

About The Author:

Francesca Lia Block, nurtured by a painter/filmmaker father and a poet mother, wrote most of her first novel, Weetzie Bat, while she was studying at the University of California–Berkley. Since then, Block has written four Weetzie sequels— Witch Baby, Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys, Missing Angel Juan, and Baby Be Bop. Like Weetzie, all have received high praise and prestigious awards. Ms. Block is also the author of The Hanged Man, Girl Goddess #9, and I Was a Teenage Fairy. Francesca Lia Block lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 98 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didnt just read this book....I tasted it, touched it, smelled it, saw it, and heard it. Poetry that is oddly sensory- every be-bop and slinkster word delectable. In other words.....I adored every magical word of it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ever since I discovered Weetzie Bat when I was 10 I have cherished Fracesca Lia Block's work, and reread all of her books until they fell apart. Her writing is so poetic and beautiful, you can easily lose youself in her world. She also shows Los Angeles in a very uinique unique light. It's a pleasure to have a complete book of all the Weetzie Bat tales.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This falls squarely into the magical realism type of story. I would probably have enjoyed it a bit more if I was younger, but this story of a complicated family, who have complicated relationships and around whom things that are possibly magical happen. They have their own language and thinking and it's about acceptance and knowing yourself.The five stories are Weezie Bat - a short story that introduces the main characters in the story and their relationships with each other. Witch Baby which explores one of the children; Cherokee Bat and the Goat guys is about what happens when the parents go to make a film and the kids get involved in a band with some magical items. Missing Angel Juan is about Witch baby following her love Angel Juan to New York and finding that maybe letting go is true love. And Baby Be Bop is about Dirks' past.Overall, it is interesting and I could see where it would influence me if I was younger but I think I was a little spoilt by the hype.
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the collection of the Weezie Bat Books all into one book. I picked this up because it sounded like an interesting urban fantasy; that wasn't really what it was.This book follows Weezie Bat's family. Each book is done from a different character's point of view. More than anything the books are about facing the difficulties of growing up and how a person's personality can affect that. For the most part the book takes place in LA. There are odd bits of magic thrown in at rare points; a genie shows up to grant wishes, Baby Witch tours New York city with her dead grandfather. These fantastical happenings are rarities in the stories though; they are written in a way that leaves you wondering if the character really did run into something magical or are they just hallucinating?What makes this book different and special is the way it is written. Block throws in so many crazy ways of describing things that it will leave your mind reeling. She tries to explain the taste of a picture, the sound of a smell, the texture of a sight. The novels are decadent purely because of the descriptions...there is so much glitter, so many feathers, petals falling, raindrops touching. With her descriptions Block turns LA into a fantasy world where one doesn't really exist. She uses this over-describing to give her characters personality. Weezie Bat is full of sunshine and everything she touches seems to turn to gold. Baby Witch is dark and chaotic and when she tells the story it is in shades of grey.Overall I thought these were unique and interesting stories. They weren't what I expected. The characters didn't have a goal or a plot to follow, outside of obtaining their own happiness. Unfortunately like a really rich dessert, the decadent descriptions and frivolous characters started to be too much. By the end of the book, I just wanted to be done with it. The lack of a plot, the characters inability to make anything other than rash emotional decisions, and the amount of time it takes for Block to describe anything started to bug me. I know that these characters are supposed to be teaching life lessons, but they just seemed very immature. And though I enjoyed the novelty of Block's writing in the beginning, by the last story I was sick of it. I would imagine Block's books are something best taken in small doses.Will I read another book by Block? Probably not, unless I am in the mood for something over the top, decadent, and wandering.
callmecayce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Block's book was one of the oddest I'd ever read. It was engrossing and I tore through it, but I'm not really sure I liked it. The writing style was sometimes extremely hard to get through and not all the characters were likable. I don't regret reading it, but I'm in no hurry to read any of her other books.
kougogo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The breadth of experience and wisdom and beauty here is astounding. I liked some of the novels better than others, but they all were written with panache and filled with spontaneity.
chapters on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I started reading these books in high school and was totally enraptured. Picking them up more than a decade later I found all the joy in reading these fantastical tales still there. Francesca Lia Block amazes me with her ability to mix gritty urban reality and the incredible. She's still one of my favorite authors all these years later.
WildCelticRose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my all-time favorites! Dangerous Angels tells the story of Weetzie Bat and her crazy, magical family in the City of Angels. Beautifully written. I can read this over and over and it never gets old. The pages are just saturated with poetry and magical imagery.
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love-love-loved this. It made me feel all hoppity and happy. I am sorry I didn't read these stories when they first came out, and I'm almost sorry that I'll never be able tore ad them again for the first time.Block takes stories and distils them down to their essence, slight images and words that build something magical. There is no filler here, just story.These fairy tales don't end with happily ever after, they end with life - life that will be happy and sad, easy and difficult, but life that has to be lived. Again and again we see love, between families, friends, lovers, and the risks we have to take to experience love, and the joys and pain it can bring.Just splendid.
sonyagreen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I first read Weetzie Bat during my YA Lit class. This is all of the books in one tome.There's an air of era to this book, but in a mixed-up all-eras way. There are so many references to different eras and cultures, it smooths over the fact that these books were written a while ago.The stories illustrate ways you can look for love, look at love, and deal with the love you have for others. That's not easy. Without hitting you over the head, I think you end up feeling like you know more about how to view yourself, and those who are around you. They're written in a way that appeals to teens, but their funky era-ness (I can't think of a better way to describe it) transcends even age.
anyanwubutler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel is actually five young adult novellas bound into one volume. The first Weetzie Bat is about the title character and her family and friends. The second is Witch Baby about one of her daughters. After reading these I wasn¿t sure I wanted to go on, so I talked to an English teacher who had just finished reading these books. She recommended I read the last one Baby Be-Bop about Weetzie¿s best friends, housemates and the fathers of her other daughter Cherokee. Dirk and Duck are both lonely very young gay boys without stories to tell, or so they believe, until they tell their stories and get together. Baby Be-Bop was very special, but this quote comes from Weetzie Bat and gives a feeling for how oddly this book is written. Sometimes it feels like poetry, sometimes like fantasy, sometimes hyper-realism, sometimes magic realism."He kissed her.A kiss about apple pie a la mode with the vanilla creaminess melting in the pier heat. A kiss about chocolate when you haven¿t eaten chocolate in a year. A kiss about palm trees speeding by, trailing pink clouds when you drive down the Strip sizzling with champagne. A kiss about spotlights fanning the sky and the swollen sea spilling like tears all over your legs."
threebeans on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wish I had read this as a teenager. I might have found myself and my sense of "home" much earlier. These stories are beautiful and magical.
hoosgracie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dangerous Angels is a compilation of the five, excellent, Weetzie Bat stories. The stories are quite simply magical and lovely. Read them, you¿ll thank yourself.
feminist_prof on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Block tackles difficult issues, such as sexuality, eating disorders, anger, relationships, etc. through the entire Weetzie series (all of the books are contained in this one volume). Her use of language not only delves us deeply into these issues, but into the lives of the characters.I highly recommend anything by her.
Crowyhead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of those magnificent-life-saving-books. I read Weetzie Bat in ninth grade, and I really think it changed my life.
orangejulia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a book which you will either love to pieces or find intensely aggravating. I adored it. It's a compendium of books that deal with Weetzie Bat, her boyfriend Secret Agent Man, and their extended kooky family. I love the quirkiness of the characters and the lush language Block uses to describe their surroundings. I read this as an adult, but I would have been utterly thrilled if I had received this as a teen ager.
BooksCatsEtc More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to like this, because my niece gave it to me and told me how meaningful it was to her as a teenager. But I couldn't. What with the magical realism, the stream of consciousness writing and the cutsie-poo names, I couldn't get thru a page without either rolling my eyes or grinding my teeth. I can understand the message of "it's OK to be different" being a big selling point, but this just was not my book.
MrDoodlemeir More than 1 year ago
Just one of my favorite books in all the world. The magic is so naturally incorporated and, really, unremarkable. The love story between Dirk and Duck is so sweet and real. A book for all ages.
miztrebor More than 1 year ago
I first discovered Francesca Lia Block years ago through her book Weetzie Bat. I had randomly found a copy at my bookstore and figured it'd be a fast, fun read. I ended up being right. I also grabbed Girl Goddess #9 soon after, but that was my only experience with Block's work for many years. Luckily, at some time last year I was reintroduced to this author and discovered that there were more books in the Weetzie Bat series. Most of those are collected in Dangerous Angels. Overall I enjoyed these five books (of seven total in the series). I enjoyed a few more than others, but there weren't any that I didn't like here. I think the fact that they were all collected into one book made the experience with these characters even better. It kept reminding me that these characters are part of something bigger. Block created a very diverse, eccentric cast of characters for this series. Their names alone can make the reader smile. I also found the way the setting, the cities and houses, becomes a character in itself. These books wouldn't be what they are if the settings weren't incorporated so well. I'd have a hard time reviewing the individual books in this collection without jumping into spoiler territory, so I won't go into that. The only thing I'll mention is that my reread of Weetzie Bat was surprising. I think I got more out of it for the second read and wasn't bored at all (which is a fear I have for rereading anything). The magic was still there. Another thing to note was Missing Angel Juan, the fourth book. I wasn't sure how to feel about it at first because it's the only book that's written in the 1st person point of view. It threw me off for a bit, but I ended up realizing that it was the only way that book would work. 3rd person POV wasn't suited for Missing Angel Juan, or Witch Baby's character for that journey. There are two more books in the Weetzie Bat series, Necklace of Kisses and the prequel Pink Smog. They're both on my TBR and will be read soon. I have a feeling that once I'm done with those, I'll be missing Weetzie and her friends. These are stories and characters that'll stay with me for a long time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The weezie bat has had one of the best impacts on my life(besides harry potter). Ms. Block has the writing style to have you hooked til the very end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have loved this series since I first read it as a teenager and it is just as wonderful now as then. It was the style of the writing that first drew me to this author's books, and keeps me coming back for more now. This is a long-time favorte of mine and a collection Ihighly recommend. Magical, lovely, and filled with fun and unique characters, this is a great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago