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Rose and the Beast
ISBN 0064407454 / 9780064407458 / 0-06-440745-4Find This Book
Francesca Lia Block, whose Weetzie Bat novels have often been called pop fairy tales, here turns to the real thing for some very different imaginings of Snow White, Thumbelina, Cinderella, Rose Red and Rose White, and other tales. Block's stories are more resonance than retelling, fevered dreams behind which the outlines of the traditional tales move fitfully like figures glimpsed now and then through a summer fog. Veiled references to Block's own Los Angeles appear in the twisty house of the seven dwarfs built into a canyon like Laurel or Topanga, the redwood forest on a seaside cliff through which Beauty travels to her Beast, the tree-darkened canyon houses with French doors that open onto exuberant neglected gardens lush with irises and roses. In these evocations Bluebeard becomes an aging blue-haired producer, Sleeping Beauty pricks her arm with a heroin needle, Red Riding Hood's wolf is a lecherous stepfather, and the Snow Queen is a sex goddess who lives in a marble mansion with her boy toy, possibly in Beverly Hills. Sensuous images enrich these languid and darkly ironic visions: jasmine-scented night gardens, leopard couches with velvet pillows, luscious food flavored with mint, coconut milk, or pomegranate sauce, cool candlelit baths. As always, Block's poetic allegories of adolescence are strikingly original and a bit dangerous, a feast for connoisseurs of YA fiction and savvy older teens. (Ages 14 and older) --Patty Campbell [via]