Quakeland, Francesca Lia Block
In short: I was sadly unimpressed by this recent addition to the usually impressive Francesca Lia Block’s oeuvre, maybe because there’s too much of Block in it. Necklace of Kisses, the most recent of the Weetzie Bat books (which I love with all my heart) shared a near-obsession with the “signs of the times” – 9/11 in that book, and Hurricane Katrina in this one. Quakeland, however, fails to transcend its depressing backdrop in the way that virtually all of Block’s other novels do. I’m not sure why: her language is still lovely, her world still magical. But there’s something broken here that doesn’t get fixed: no one is healed, and the world is strangely barren from the beginning to the end. Sure, times are tough, but this book is much too quick to give up hope.
Read it if you like: Her other work, but know that this is darker and more bitter than her usual stuff.