cover image The Waters & the Wild

The Waters & the Wild

Francesca Lia Block, . . HarperTeen, $16.99 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-06-145244-4

Awash in a bruised and aching adolescent sensibility, Weetzie Bat author Block's new novel doesn't waste a word. Doubles abound: doppelgängers, past lives and dual worlds in which poetic truths can exist alongside the banal details of modern teenage life. Never quite at home—even in her own home—Bee is jolted out of her social isolation by a nighttime apparition of a girl who looks just like her: “ 'You are me,' the girl said. Then she was gone.” Seeking to discover the meaning of this vision, Bee throws her lot in with two other outcasts at school (one thinks she is a reincarnated slave, the other, possibly an alien). For a time, their new friendship buoys all three (“She had, if only briefly, belonged,” Bee thinks. “The world she had never loved before had turned to gold”). Still, hints indicate that Bee's alter ego is intent on reclaiming her place, and Bee grows mysteriously ill. Fragments of poems by Yeats and Shelley are eerily apropos (and may provide an irresistible invitation for further reading). Haunting and thought provoking. Ages 14–up. (June)