Violet & Claire

Francesca Lia Block has gained a tremendous following writing stories about the young denizens of Los Angeles that are simultaneously ethereal and utterly tangible. Titles such as The Hanged Man, Dangerous Angels, Girl Goddess #9, and I Was a Teenage Fairy explore the heaviest issues facing teens--including all variety of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll--with the light touch of skillful poet. In Violet and Claire, Block once again exposes us to both the best and the worst of the City of Angels, as we trace the rise and fall of a female friendship from thrilling expectations to soul-squelching excess. Set against the glittering background of Hollywood, Block's work has long been marked by an intensely visual style, so it is perhaps appropriate that this story opens like a screenplay: "FADE IN: The helicopter circles, whirring in a sky the color of laundered-to-the-perfect-fade-jeans. Clouds like the wigs of starlets--fluffy platinum spun floss." The script theme continues with chapter subheadings such as "EXT: HIGH SCHOOL QUAD--DAY" and "INT: LIMO--NIGHT" while teenage wannabe filmmaker Violet and gossamer-winged poet Claire take turns telling their story. Everywhere Violet is dark, Claire resonates light. And as they make the arduous journey toward adulthood by way of the silver screen dream, it is this essential oppositeness that both draws the two together and drives them apart. Luckily, there's a Hollywood ending for the yin-yang duo, "the photo negative of each other, together making the perfect image of a girl." (Ages 12 and older) --Brangien Davis