Teen Spirit | Francesca Lia Block | Book Review

I think I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Francesca Lia Block’s books. Sometimes I am like wow that book was so cool omg the imagery you guys. And then other times I am like, I do not understand what I just read at all! Teen Spirt, Block’s latest young adult book sort of falls on the meh end of the spectrum as far as my feelings towards her books go. I read it pretty fast, yes, but I did not feel emotional investment. I did not find myself totally into the imagery nor did I ever feel her typical gritty LA magic. Oh well, not every book can be a winner, that is for sure.

Teen Spirit by Francesca Lia Block | Good Books And Good Wine

The premise of Francesca Lia Block’s Teen Spirit is as follows – Julie lives with her mother and grandmother. She has no friends, but she is okay with that because she sees her grandmother as her best friend. Also, Julie is really into vintage clothes. Unfortunately for Julie, her grandmother dies while trying to tell her something. Julie is bereft. So is her mother. Eventually, Julie’s mom loses her job and they lose the house that Julie loves and end up moving to a different part of LA. There, Julie finds a Ouija board in her room and attempts to contact her grandmother. Also, Julie begins to go to a different school and makes her first friend, the super dorky Clark, a boy who is trying to outrun his past. Ghosts abound in Teen Spirit.

Okay, so I did not totally take to Julie. She is nice enough and I like her taste in clothing, I imagine her to be a walking version of ModCloth. However, she’s just so single minded and obsessed with the past that I don’t know. I felt bad for her instead of like, caring for her. I also thought she was making a couple bad life choices which normally I am okay with because high school is a series of bad life choices, but I don’t know, I guess I just was not all that interested in Julie’s choices. Meh. She’s just basic to me, you guys. Also I kind of am not into books where the girl character has no female friends.

Now, there is a sort of love interest for Julie, but I am kind of left in the dark on some of this. So, Julie’s new friend Clark is into Buffy and Joss Whedon and a total nerd. He’s cool though. However, he’s hiding a secret, you see his brother Grant died in a hit and run accident. Anyways, Grant isn’t totally done with Earth, so he possesses Clark’s body from time to time. Oh and when he is possessing Clark, he is cool and confident and attracted to Julie. I basically wanted Clark to stay Grant — which FYI I am pretty sure is the opposite reaction I should have.

Eh, I think I would have been happy had there been more magic and more Ouija and more spirits. I don’t know, this book is a quick read, but it just does not have that oomph that I hope for when I read Block’s books. If you are a die hard FLB fan, you might like this, but more me, it’s not a winner.

Disclosure: Review Copy Provided By Publisher

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. This was my first book by the author and overall, I felt very ‘meh’ about it. It didn’t grab in the slightest and the only thing that I liked were the few Buffy mentions. As you said, not every book can be a winner!

  2. So… I’m still not 100% certain I enjoy FLB’s books. I’ve only read 1.75 of them (I still cannot get through Love In a Time of Global Warming) and both have been a little too weird for me. Not bad, just weird. And totally out of my comfort zone. Which I like pushing, don’t get me wrong, but this is just like waaaay weird. Anyway. I hate that I don’t enjoy her books more because I feel like they have such good premises. Maybe I should try some others before writing them off, yes?

  3. This author has been around for a long time! I think I’ve only read Weetzie Bat by FLB ages ago. But after reading that, I totally expect a weird story, and it sounds like there is some of that in Teen Spirit.

    It looks like Teen Spirit has a bit of an identity crisis, like the characters in the book. I smiled about your comment about you wanting Clark to stay Grant 🙂 I do like books set in LA though so I may borrow this one from the library one day.

  4. I’ve only read one FLB book – Weetzie Bat. I had to read it for my teen lit class in grad school. I don’t think I actually had really strong feelings about it. I read it so long ago, that I truthfully don’t remember much, either about the book, or my feelings towards the book.

    I don’t think I loved it, but I didn’t hate it either. Of course, you know I probably didn’t have much time to digest it because college is all – read this quick, and move on to the next book. Which, now that I think about it, is sort of like book blogging. But I think book blogging is infinitely more enjoyable. And I cna pick out my own books to read. . . and I’ve gone WAY off topic here.

    Anyway, I’m sorry this book wasn’t a win for you. I don’t think I’ll be picking it up anytime soon, even with the promise of ghosties – I love a ghost story!

  5. Wow I had no idea that the love interest was going to be possessed. That sounds freaky. And it would kind of suck to like to possessed version better than the read dude. This sounds interesting but also like it could have things in it that would turn me off. I’m still thinking on whether I will read this or not… Great Review!

  6. Okay, I’m definitely intrigued by the idea of the love interest being possessed. That said, I tend to stay away from Block’s more ‘normal’ titles. I’ve found that every time she writes something more commercial, like Pretty Dead or The Frenzy, it just doesn’t work. So I try to only read her weirder titles. Great review, April, as usual! It outlined all the problems I tend to have when an FLB book is unsuccessful.

  7. I felt the same about this book! “Meh.” Maybe even “meh-leaning-toward-dislike.” I’m so glad to read that someone else also preferred Grant! He just has the confidence, you know? The possession of his brother’s body was jerkish, but at least he had the guts to make a move on Julie.