Weetzie Bat. By Francesca Lia Block. (2004). 10th Anniversary Ed. New York: HarperTeen. ISBN-10: 0060736259

Plot Summary
Weetzie Bat hates high school because no one understands, simple as that. Weetzie is special, if not downright effervescent. She‘s “slinkster cool,” with her cropped blonde hair and wild fashion sense. No one understands, that is, until Dirk. Dirk is handsome, hip, hangs out at the punk club. He likes Weetzie and Weetzie likes Dirk, but Dirk has a secret: he’s gay. But Weetzie still loves him, so Weetzie and Dirk go to find, “the respective Ducks of their dreams.” Duck, a rad surfer boy, Weetzie’s My-Secret-Agent-Lover-Man, Weetzie, and Dirk all find and lose one another and that dangerous angel, love, amidst the magical backdrop of the sparkling city of Los Angeles.

Critical Evaluation

Teens looking for a little romance, beauty, and literary depth, (with a magical twist!) will love falling into a world painted by Block.
Simple language tinged with luscious detail is what makes up Block’s distinct style. This type of writing is a great introduction to poetry and mythological studies, as well as personal creative writing. From Block, we get dreamy words like these:
“He kissed her. A kiss about apple pie à la mode with the vanilla creaminess melting in the pie heat. A kiss about chocolate, when you haven’t eaten chocolate in a year. A kiss about palm trees speeding by, trailing pink clouds when you drive down the Strip sizzling with champagne. A kiss about spotlights fanning the sky and the swollen sea spilling like tears all over your legs.”

Be sure to check out the four sequels to Weetzie-Bat: Witch Baby — Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys — Missing Angel Juan — and Baby Be-Bop.. Also available in the omnibus edition, Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books.

Reader’s Annotation
Have you ever been drunk off love? Looked for your soulmate in a city of devils and angels? Weetzie-Bat does, and you’ll want to go with her on her journey! So pull up your petticoat, brush up your mohawk, and don’t forget to stop at Oki Dog’s on the way, or the magical fountain that flashes soda-pop colors at night. Block’s way with lyrical prose will have you wondering if fairy tales really do exist.

About the Author

Francesca Lia Block has received the Margaret A. Edwards award for her contribution to young adult literature. Weetzie Bat was her “charmed” novel, written while she was in college at US Berkeley, yearning for Los Angeles, which Block has dubbed, “Shangri-LA.” A common theme throughout her novels is that love is a saving grace, or transformative power. Block’s work never shies away from controversy, and always utilizes magical realism. Her influences include Gabriel Garciz Marquez and the poet Hilda Doolittle.
She lives in Los Angeles with her two children.

Curriculum Ties

-Magical Realism

Booktalking Ideas
– Alternative Families
-Modern Fairy Tales
-Magical Realism

Reading Level/Interest Age

Ages 16+

Challenge Issues

Because Weetzie Bat includes heterosexual and homosexual characters in a non-traditional family living together and raising a child, it has been considered “controversial” since it was first published in 1989. Weetzie Bat also contends with divorce, Aids, and loss. Block has been hailed for her understanding of the teenage experience, and was definitely ahead of her time with the publication of Weetzie Bat. Today, many teens coming out are facing a harsh climate, but if they pick up Weetzie Bat, they can live for a time in a world where that melts away, and true love can be found.
One of the sequels to Weetzie Bat, Baby Be-Bop, described by Block as “a very sweet, simple, coming-of-age story about a young man’s discovery that he’s gay,” was recently challenged in West Bend, Wi. Originally, the book was challenged along with several other young adult books in the library which happened to be about gay and lesbian issues. The town council and library voted to retain the titles, but then another group decided to sue the library for, “emotional stress” caused by the inclusion of Baby Be Bob in the library. The town has fought this with the right to free speech and the Library Bill of Rights, but it shouldn’t be so necessary, especially when it is clear that the aggressors have not even read the book they are trying to remove.
Books like these must remain in libraries for youth today, especially when there are those who would attempt to take their rights away. Nothing is more valuable than a picture of a world of acceptance, especially when LGBT teens are facing suicide, harrassment, misunderstanding.

Why Did You Include This Book?
This book has been a favorite of mine since I was a teenager. It is a great one to pick up after you’ve had enough standard supernatural romance! Block’s writing is like nothing you have ever seen before, and it opens up a world of possibilities.
Best Books:
Best Books for Young Adults, 1990 ; American Library Association-YALSA; United States
Best of the Best Revisited (100 Best Books for Teens), 2001 ; American Library Association-YALSA; United States
Eureka! California in Children’s Literature, 2003 ; Book Wholesalers, Inc.; United States
Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 1997 ; American Library Association-YALSA; United States
Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 1990 ; American Library Association-YALSA; United States
Senior High Core Collection, Seventeenth Edition, 2007 ; The H. W. Wilson Co.; United States
Senior High School Library Catalog, Fifteenth Edition, 1997 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Senior High School Library Catalog, Sixteenth Edition, 2002 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Awards, Honors, Prizes:
Parents’ Choice Award, 2003 Gold Best 25 Books in 25 Years United States
Phoenix Award, 2009 Winner United States
State and Provincial Reading Lists:
Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award , 1999-2000 ; Nominee; Indiana
Miller, L. (2009). A teen book burns at the stake. Salon Media Group, Inc. Retrieved on December 1st, 2010 from http://www.salon.co.m/books/feature/2009/06/16/francesca_lia_block

About thesuperlibrarian

High School Librarian and obsessive reader! On a mission to read as many SUPER YA books as possible!
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