cover image Teen Spirit

Teen Spirit

Francesca Lia Block. HarperTeen, $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-200809-1

Poetry and pop culture, life and death—these are just two of the polarities that pulse through Block’s elegantly crafted novel. When Julie’s beloved grandmother Miriam dies, Julie’s life turns upside down. After she and her mother move from their cozy Hollywood cottage to a bleak apartment in Beverly Hills, Julie starts her senior year at a new high school. There she meets sweetly eccentric Clark, who is also mourning a loss. Their easy friendship grows complicated once Julie gets to know Grant, Clark’s beguiling, bad-boy twin. As Julie and Clark navigate their grief and forge a path through quotidian high-school life, Block (Love in the Time of Global Warming) makes a refreshing case for the virtues of the nice guy. Julie and Clark are fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and between the ghost-centric plot and Julie’s strained relationship with her mother, Block’s novel could pass for an episode of the show. While the spooky goings-on, eerie romance, and magical-hipster Los Angeles setting have broad appeal, the story has even richer treasures in store for readers who dig deeper. Ages 14–up. Agent: Laurie Liss, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Feb.)