Margaux with an X

Margaux with an X

by Ron Koertge

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Overview

Margaux with an X by Ron Koertge

"A meticulously crafted story of an unexpected friendship." — THE HORN BOOK (starred review)

An American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults

A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763626792
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 08/08/2006
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 4.83(w) x 6.96(h) x 0.49(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Ron Koertge is the author of many prize-winning novels for teens, including STONER & SPAZ, winner of the PEN Literary Award, THE BRIMSTONE JOURNALS, winner of the Kentucky Bluegrass Award, and most recently, SHAKESPEARE BATS CLEANUP. "MARGAUX WITH AN X started as a short story, but the heroine wouldn't let me alone," he says. "A short story wasn't enough for her. Oh, no. She had a story to tell, and she wanted a whole novel to tell it in." Ron Koertge teaches in the MFA in Writing for Children program at Vermont College.

Read an Excerpt

Anything to get out of that apartment. Away from her mother, the two TVs, the Home Shopping Network. Margaux abandons homework, heads for bustling, smog-shrouded, gridlocked Arcadia, which is somehow named after a pastoral region of ancient Greece.

She wants to be around people; she wants to be alone. Sara’s not answering the phone: that’s bad. Or good. Or both.

The drive is okay: A.C. on high (it’s torrid in Los Angeles, with the usual muslin-yellow sky), radio up, some gratifying amiable / envious / admiring / lubricious glances. At the mall, she has to park at the top of a new structure, following a ramp so circuitous it’s like an inner ear. Is she going to emerge under the invisible stars on Level 5, blue level, or get lost inside some enormous aural labyrinth? Who would ever find her if she did?

Not her mother — Honey, you know I hate to drive.

Not her father — Can this wait? The third race is about to go off.

Not Sara — Call me back, okay? I’m talking to Brad.

She’s no more than locked the Mustang when a girl darts out from behind an SUV. The darting, much less the spectrally thin girl on this corporate darkling plain stacked five stories high, gives Margaux the willies. It seems like an inkling of something. A big inkling if that’s possible. But an inkling of what?

"It’s not smart for a single gal to be alone in an elevator. Let’s ride down together," says the wraith in pants that are probably size one string bean. And strappy little shoes, also white. A white top. Tight. Very tight. So she’s all wrapped up. A sexy little mummy.

Inside, "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head." Margaux’s new friend goes to the farthest corner. Instinctively Margaux stands in front of her. She likes this — protecting somebody, taking care. She could do it for a living: Guardian. Champion. Duenna of the Parking Structure. Maybe wear a mask and cape. And when she got old, join a Wiccan coven and bay at the moon.

She tries a little of her specialty — conversation meant to baffle: "Don’t you think it’s odd that it’s crowded in Arcadia? I mean, from what? Too many shepherds?"

The starveling regards her suspiciously. "Which high school do you go to?"

"It’s my last year at King. Why?"

"People from King are always weird."

The elevator doors open on a burnished world. Lustrous counters, dazzling displays, the very floor transplendent. Air is greenhouse damp with samples from the purveyors of Dior, all of them pale as Dracula’s perpetual fiancées.

Margaux leads the way out of the elevator. Their elevator.

"You’re okay now," she says. "Look: people everywhere."

"Thanks. Thanks a lot. I didn’t mean what I said about you guys."

"We weird Kings?"

"Sorry. Really."

Margaux watches her go. She (whoever she is) hasn’t got a purse or a wallet. She doesn’t want to buy anything. She just wants to be in the store. Wants to pause empty-handed by a cardboard promo for this month’s fragrant rage: Dark Stranger. Which shows a coarse but sensitive, roughly tender atheist, one gloved hand beside the throttle. For fourteen bucks, a villain in a bottle. Those guys. Sara’s type. And hers sometimes, because Sara said so.

Margaux considers her shopping options: no way is she trying on clothes, because that means walking into the maze of cubicles where some woman behind a half-drawn curtain stares into a three-way mirror and weeps because her flesh seems to be melting.

And she doesn’t feel like stealing or doing that other thing she and Sara sometimes do, which is—

Up rushes a zealous salesperson. "Are you finding everything you need?"

Ah, if only that were possible. To find everything she needs. But what is that exactly? And if she knew what it was, could she find it in a mall?

Margaux moves a few hangers around, holds up a thing or two, and scowls. Whatever she left home for, it isn’t another blouse. She settles for the exit.

This time she shares the elevator with two couples. The husbands gaze at Margaux; the wives glare at the husbands. She turns to the girls, not two years older than she.

"Is there anyplace else to shop?" she asks. "This place stinks."

The wives glance at each other. They shake their heads together, as if they’d practiced.

"I’m not from here." Even a little lie makes Margaux feel better.

Customer Reviews

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Margaux with an X 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
eswhydeee More than 1 year ago
I really loved the Margaux and Danny parts and I wanted more but this book is pretty short. I feel really mixed about this book because... For one, the big climax scene is anything but. I didn't feel like the author really built up the emotion. The secret is one that could be a shocker, but the way it comes out is kind of disappointing. For another, I think the author only scratched the surface of the characters. All of them seem really 1d or 2d, including the main character. Overall, it's an okay book. I think Danny or Evie are the best characters and I loved Margaux and Danny.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
If STONER AND SPAZ pushed the envelope, then MARGAUX WITH AN X set the envelope on fire and tossed it from a window. This engaging and fun read by Ron Koertge presents two more likeable, quirky, and sardonic main characters who don't fit in and stop trying to.

But it's not an edgy or controversial book full of salacious and scandalous details about Margaux and Danny, two teen misfits. This book is impossible to put down due to Koertge's omniscient narrator, who guides the reader through the lives of two teens who are scarred by their parents. The narrator's voice is snarky and intelligent (Dictionary, anyone? What DOES persiflage mean, anyway?) and it's blended with Margaux's and Danny's, lending the novel a feeling of wholeness. Koertge clearly knows what it's like to be an outsider. In less capable hands, the blending of voices used in MARGAUX WITH AN X would fall flat and appear amateurish. But Koertge succeeds masterfully; the impression left on the reader is that Danny and Margaux are two parts of the same puzzle, and the narrator knows how to fit them in place because he's worked the puzzle before.

The main characters do not "complete" each other. There is no romantic sizzle. Instead, theirs is a relationship necessary to start their lives over again, without the shallow expectations of their peers in their SoCal high school environment. Danny's friendly but his awkwardness or disinterest in Margaux sexually makes him appealing to her. Although he may seem contrived to some oversexed readers, it is an unstated fact that his father's abusive nurturing has affected him in a variety of ways, both good and bad. Margaux's good looks draw men to her, a fact she resents due to her own sad past. By keeping these two on a platonic but loving level, Koertge lays the groundwork for a believable, happy ending to a compelling novel.

Highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I kind of liked this book. At the beginning, it was hard to follow and the author just skipped around. Once I got interested in it, it became really good. I just didn't like that Marguax acted one way because Sara wanted her to or why her mom wasn't mad about what her dad did. She didn't act like she cared about Marguax at all. The actual story is interesting though.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If STONER AND SPAZ pushed the envelope, then MARGAUX WITH AN X set the envelope on fire and tossed it from a window. This engaging and fun read by Ron Koertge presents two more likeable, quirky, and sardonic main characters who don't fit in and stop trying to. But it's not an edgy or controversial book full of salacious and scandalous details about Margaux and Danny, two teen misfits. This book is impossible to put down due to Koertge's omniscient narrator, who guides the reader through the lives of two teens who are scarred by their parents. The narrator's voice is snarky and intelligent (Dictionary, anyone? What DOES persiflage mean, anyway?) and it's blended with Margaux's and Danny's, lending the novel a feeling of wholeness. Koertge clearly knows what it's like to be an outsider. In less capable hands, the blending of voices used in MARGAUX WITH AN X would fall flat and appear amateurish. But Koertge succeeds masterfully the impression left on the reader is that Danny and Margaux are two parts of the same puzzle, and the narrator knows how to fit them in place because he's worked the puzzle before. The main characters do not ¿complete¿ each other. There is no romantic sizzle. Instead, theirs is a relationship necessary to start their lives over again, without the shallow expectations of their peers in their SoCal high school environment. Danny's friendly but his awkwardness or disinterest in Margaux sexually makes him appealing to her. Although he may seem contrived to some oversexed readers, it is an unstated fact that his father's abusive nurturing has affected him in a variety of ways, both good and bad. Margaux's good looks draw men to her, a fact she resents due to her own sad past. By keeping these two on a platonic but loving level, Koertge lays the groundwork for a believable, happy ending to a compelling novel. Highly recommended. **Reviewed by: Marke Frye, author and reviewer
Guest More than 1 year ago
At first I bought the book because it sounded really good, but when I finished it I was so disappointed! The summary for the book made it sound really good but it was so pointless, I wasted my money on this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. Some people wont like it but i did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
THis book isnt THAT bad. it won't touch you or anything. And it's pretty interesting. But its a decent book. Read it. But don't expect it to be the best
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is not long enough to be disappointing, I am not a fast reader compared to most, and I finished the book in one day. It's different, but in a good way, and has unique humor.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was very dissapointed by this book. I read alot and normally would recommend the books I read, but not this one. This book moved at a very slow pace, that was very boring. The ending didn't make a statement, it was just there. However, I was so relieved when I came to the ending, because the book was finally over.