THE WATERS AND THE WILD by Francesca Lia Block


Age Range: 12 - 14
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This brief novella, an overly pat melding of magical realism and metaphor, brings together three teens who feel so alienated from society that they believe themselves to be, well, alien. Protagonist Bee sees her own doppelgänger and comes to believe she is a changeling. Her friends Sara and Haze are a reincarnated slave girl and an extraterrestrial, respectively. Together, the three don’t mind their outcast status as much as they did apart. They learn to fly, or at least to pretend they do. They crash a party, either because they learn the spells to make themselves invisible or just because they’re lucky. Perhaps the world is enriched by their friendship, perhaps not. Where Block’s works once treated magic as metaphor but also as magic in its own right, this speedy read doesn’t allow for any mystery that isn’t mere allegory for adolescent emotional traumas. Bee’s friends “had seen, or believed [they] had seen” amazing things, the tale concludes, nullifying its own magic. Neither fantasy nor a rich exploration of character. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: June 2nd, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-145244-4
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: HarperTeen
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2009


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