cover image Blood Roses

Blood Roses

Francesca Lia Block, . . HarperTeen/Cotler, $15.99 (129pp) ISBN 978-0-06-076384-8

This imaginative but uneven short story collection blends fantasy and reality in Block's (Weetzie Bat ) characteristic style. A schizophrenic girl explains that her boyfriend is an alien and that she wants to have his “alien babies with big eyes,” while another girl—this one obsessed with an older tattoo artist—begins to find his pictures spontaneously appearing on her skin. These stories work best when readers can decide for themselves how literally to take the fantastical elements. In perhaps the best of the bunch, “Giant,” Rachel Sorrow, full of passion, wakes up to find that she has grown enormous, her heart “the size of a watermelon.” Block leaves the audience considerably less room in “Horses Are a Girl's Best Friend,” about horse-mad Berry (a friend of Rachel's), who falls in love with a centaur she meets in L.A.'s Griffith Park. However, the prose is lush as ever, and even when readers do not connect emotionally, they will appreciate the author's willingness to explore ideas. Ages 14–up. (June)