Echo

Echo

by Francesca Lia Block

NOOK Book(eBook)

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Overview

Acclaimed author Francesca Lia Block weaves pure magic into this deftly constructed tale殮e girl′s path to womanhood told in linked short stories.

Written in her uniquely poetic, carefully crafted style, Echo is a tour-de-force from one of our most exciting contemporary writers.

Ages 11+

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061756603
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/17/2009
Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 1,020,996
File size: 420 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

Chapter One

My Mother,
The Angel

My father calls her The Angel. I am never sure how to live up to such a mother. She is almost six feet tall. The planes of her face are like carved ivory. The long neck and smooth eyelids and high cheekbones of Nefertiti's famous bust. Strawberry hair cascading to her hips like Botticelli's Venus. Pretty impossible to compete with when you are just under five feet with faded brown hair and the face of an elf.

My mother can make flowers bloom with the slightest touch of her hand. Her garden burgeons -- irises glitter as if embedded with silver, roses turn colors no one can match. Rose breeders come to find out her secrets but she only smiles mysteriously. They try to analyze the clippings she gives them but it is useless -- the magic ingredient is her touch. Her birds of paradise are almost as tall as she is, her ranunculus look like peonies, her fruit trees bear lemons that taste like oranges and oranges the size of grapefruits. She can grow star-gazer lilies whose pollen is as thick soft hot pink powdered as expensive blush, and abundant peonies that people say only bloom in cooler climates. No jasmine ever smelled so sweet, bathing the insides of my nostrils and mouth with its twinkling white-and-lavender fragrance. My mother wanders around the garden in the hills of Hollywood putting her ear to the cup of the petals or to the ground and, smiling mysteriously, proceeds to trim or water or fertilize each plant according to its own personal instructions. Sometimes I wake in the night and I swear I can hear the flowers in the garden singing my mother's name through the open window.

Thesethings prove that my mother is not of this world. Don't they?

If there is any doubt, it would be quelled by contact with my mother's healing powers. When my father or I have any kind of cold, headache or muscular pain, she touches us in such a way that the discomfort vanishes. A strange breath of rose and mint fills the room and then everything is better.

Unfortunately for me, my mother's healing powers do not extend to transforming a plain girl into a girl so beautiful that it would not have surprised anyone to learn that this girl's mother was a celestial being. She does not have potions to make one's limbs long and one's skin glow. She doesn't believe in coloring your hair or wearing makeup. Why should she? Her eyes seem naturally kohl-lined. Her hair naturally hennaed. She is not particularly into fashion. She only needs a few gauzy dresses that she makes herself and some bare Grecian sandals that lace up her long amber legs. High-priced fashion would be a waste on her; it would be extraneous. Therefore, she rarely took me shopping when I was growing up. She told me I was beautiful without lip gloss or mascara. But, then, angels see beneath the surface of things.

How else is my mother like one?

"Her cooking!" my father says. "Her cooking is the cooking of a seraphim!"

She makes tamale pies, spinach lasagnas, Indian saffron curries, coconut and mint Thai noodles, grilled salmon tacos with mango salsa, persimmon bread puddings and lemon-raspberry pies, each one in minutes and without ever glancing at a recipe. She can never duplicate a dish twice since she doesn't write anything down and is always too excited about what she will make next, so my father and I are sometimes left pining for a reenactment of the almond enchiladas or the garlic-tomato tart. But we always have something else to look forward to. And my mother's food has almost narcotic effects -- no matter how depressed or agitated we feel before dinner, we always relax afterwards into a dreamy stupor.

Also, my mother never gets angry. No matter what happens she always has a placid smile on her glowing Egyptian-artifact face. Sometimes I secretly wish that she would lose her temper and perhaps I even taunt her a little, to test her, but nothing works. My mother is unruffleable. She is like the da Vinci Madonna with a crescent moon hung on her mouth.

How wonderful, everyone thinks, to have a mother who is an angel, who never loses her temper, who can make birthday cakes even when it isn't your birthday -- cakes so delectable as to be almost hallucinogenic -- a mother who can take away the itch of insect bites with a whisk of cool fingers over your skin.

People envy me my mother. A few children, encouraged by their parents, tried to befriend me just so they could come over and get clippings from my mother's garden and leftovers from her refrigerator. But no one realizes the difficulties of having an angel for a mother. It can make you feel rather insignificant, especially when boys ask you out just so they can catch a glimpse of her, waving good-bye, braless and in gauze, from the front porch. Especially when your father forgets to pick you up from school because he is out buying new lingerie for her again (even though she will forget to wear it) or when you ask him a question at dinner about your homework and he takes fifteen minutes to answer because he is gazing into the illuminated peony of her face.

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

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Echo 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 72 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow, I was so attached to this book and read it in a day. Reading this book was like imagining a piece of artwork in my mind. The way The author writes the book is so beautiful. And it's also not one of those stupid love story's that make you annoyed and depressed afterwards, it leaves you with a good feeling. I definitely recommend this book, but truthfully a lot of people don't like it and a lot of people do. So if you like something different and artsy, you'll love this!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Each Chapter kept me wanting more. Echo is jealous of her angel mother and feels abandoned by her artist father, he then falls ill and dies. Echo doesn't know exactly who she is and goes on a path to find her self. She tries to find love with her many boyfriends and finally ends up with the angel boy turned man who had saved her from drowning many years before.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is definitely like the White Oleandor for a younger generation. Just as good, but with different characters in the same situation. The ultimate search-for-self story has just surfaced in a girl named Echo. Echo, of course, is having a major case of teen angst. Her beautiful mother seems as close to perfect as you can get, and she feels as if her dad doesn't pay any attention to her. When her dad becomes really sick, she feels more isolated than she ever has. She realizes that she will never be as beautiful as her mother... or as artistic as her father, so she turns into a different person. Basement dances and her newfound green hair make her truly something else. One night, on the beach, she sees a strange and exciting boy sitting on the boarded up lifeguard station. He ends up saving her life, and Echo goes back to visit him every night. He never talks, but she likes him anyway. On one of these visits, they part ways in hopes of meeting again, where he will be ready to love her. After the first chapter, a variety of small stories intertwine that all work into Echo's life, from the meeting of her parents to the many different lovers that she has had. Sometimes, they don't even say her name, but you know it's her that the author is talking about. The writing is truly beautiful, told in spurts of prose and clear descriptions. It almost sounds science fiction, but everything is told truly with an element of poetry. During her many 'adventures', Echo meets a lot of new people with their own stories and different pasts, giving you a better understanding of each person. Every story ultimately leads up to the ending, where the rest of her life lays. This book may be short and quick, but it brings out the best of this author. From a beautiful and eyecatching beginning to a beautiful and thoughtful ending, this is a story you don't want to miss out on.
Jaleh Sadravi More than 1 year ago
I first read this book when I was 11 and while it does have adult themes i read it through a pre teens eyes. I read this book again when i was 18 and i was able to understand it a lot more. Its a beautiful story and it would be sad if you stopped your daughters from reading it because of your desire to shelter them. I would compare this author's work to Judy Blume, writing novels for girls who want to read more adult books, for girls whose mothers who are afraid to let their daughters grow up.
Lexee Hill More than 1 year ago
beautiful, unique, and captivating. a story to read over and over!
Darrol on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well written, but with too much adolescent female angst. I am too old and the wrong gender.
mcgarry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Year 11 & 12: Echo is caught at the crossroads of a physical world full of hope and despair and the realm of the supernatural, where young men have wings and skeletons speak. On the way, she is graced by angels and fairies and haunted by ghosts, psychopomps, and vampires. But as Echo falls under the spell of demons who threaten to destroy her, she must ultimately look within to find the strength to survive.Through shifting points of view, Francesca Lia Block weaves pure magic into this deftly constructed tale -- a novel told in the form of linked stories. One girl's life emerges from a tapestry of voices, lives, and loves -- lost and found -- that deliver her finally to herself, triumphant, ever-changing.
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