Once upon a time, when I was in eighth grade, my local library had a very small section of three revolving racks and a sign that said young adult. This was the year 2000. Because I am mad old. One of the books on the racks had pretty much the most attractive, eye catching cover ever. It was also thick, which might as well have been a siren call to me. That book was Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block and it contained all of the Weetzie Bat books. Now, I read it and so much went over my head, but I remember really enjoying Block’s whimsical prose. I would end up reading the rest of the books the library had to offer by Block. Years and years later Pink Smog, the prequel to the Weetzie books, showed up at my house for review. Although it was wicked short, I kept putting it off, because I do that. I am a procrastinator. THEN Epic Reads, one of my favorite book sites, decided to make Pink Smog one of their monthly book club picks, so that kind of kick started me into reading it. Y’all, I read this prequel in like a day and remembered why I was so into Francesca Lia Block as a teenager.
So, Pink Smog is all about how Louise becomes Weetzie Bat and what she’s like as a pre-teen. Y’all, her life blows. Basically her dad who was wicked awesome walks out on her and her mother and moves to NYC, leaving them in LA. They live in a crappy apartment. Also? Her mom is an alcoholic who can’t deal with the fact that her star power is fading. So anyways, Louise/Weetzie is very shy and having a tough time at school. YET. She ends up making a few very good friends and forming a small social circle of kids who are picked on. Now, at the same time, Weetzie makes friends with this boy in her apartment complex. Only there is something supernatural going on, which you will totally understand when you read this prequel.
At first, because it’s been years and years since I’ve read Dangerous Angels and because I am no longer the shy, weird, insecure person I used to be, I thought Weetzie would annoy me, because you know, I am easily annoyed. However, I ended up pretty charmed and delighted by her. I wanted to lift her out of her crappy life circumstances and report her mother to CPS. It’s hard living surrounded by dysfunction. Yet, I have to applaud Francesca Lia Block for showing that there’s still magic and hope despite one’s circumstances. I loved that Weetzie refused to be beaten down. She does not give up and I totally respect that. I guess this book is one where there is a pretty decent amount of character growth given how short it is.
As for Francesca Lia Block’s writing style I think that you will either love it or you will hate it. If you have no patience for the whimsical and the weird, you’ll hate it. If you don’t like urban fantasy, you’ll hate it. Probably the best author comparison I could make would be comparing it to Tithe by Holly Black, another great book, but both are kind of out there, so if you are like oh no no everything needs to make total sense you won’t like it. I also have to state that I really like what Block has to say about being a female in our society. There’s a great part that illustrates how being a woman means you are always up for judgment by others regardless of what your social standing is. Y’all truth to power. Anyways.
It’s been months since I read Pink Smog, hence the vague review, but I do remember really enjoying it and giving it four stars on goodreads. Alas, I wish I could go way more in depth but my brain is broken.
Disclosure: Received for review
Other reviews of Pink Smog by Francesca Lia Block:
Book Twirps – “The writing is fluid”
A Reading Nook – “What fun this read was.”
Birth Of A New Witch – “a glorious and wonderful conclusion to the “Weetzie” series”