21 Jan 2014

Review: Teen Spirit by Francesca Lia Block

Teen Spirit by Francesca Lia Block
February 4th, 2014 · HarperCollins
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Page Count: 240
Francesca Lia Block, critically acclaimed author of Weetzie Bat, brings this eerie and redemptive ghost story to life with her signature, poetic prose. It's perfect for fans of supernatural stories with a touch of romance like the Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

After Julie's grandmother passes away, she is forced to move across town to the not-so-fancy end of Beverly Hills and start over at a new school. The only silver lining to the perpetual dark cloud that seems to be following her? Clark—a die-hard fan of Buffy and all things Joss Whedon, who is just as awkward and damaged as she is. Her kindred spirit.

When the two try to contact Julie's grandmother with a Ouija board, they make contact with a different spirit altogether. The real kind. And this ghost will do whatever it takes to come back to the world of the living.

Francesca Lia Block's latest young adult novel is a haunting work about family, loss, love, and redemption.
My bookish thoughts:

Teen Spirit wouldn’t usually be my cup of tea but with keywords ‘Buffy’ and ‘Joss Whedon’ mentioned in the blurb, I was sold. I mostly chat books but if you follow me, you might have seen me post or mention the odd thing about Buffy so that should tell you how big a fan I am. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the book and the few and far Buffy references and mentions throughout were the only thing that kept me going. The imortant thing is that I've learnt my lesson: just because you're a fan of something, does not mean you'll be a fan of the book.

I, by no means, hated Teen Spirit, it’s more that I just found it to be a below average read and rather bland. The list of what didn’t work for me is sadly longer than what did. The main issue I had was that I had no interest in the characters whatsoever; I didn’t relate with them, I didn’t care for them and while I’m all for being different and yourself, they didn’t feel realistically written. For instance, the first time Clark swears I was taken aback and not that I have a problem with swearing but because he read as a rather innocent, shy and quiet character, more like the kind you'd find amongst the pages of a Middle Grade, making it feel out of place and foreign. Other problem aspects include that the story didn’t grab me and that probably has to do more with me and the fact ghost/spirit stories aren’t my thing. Ultimately, I probably would have liked it more had it been more focused on the loss aspect side of things, which really shows my contemporary roots. Also, a few more Buffy references wouldn’t have gone astray... Maybe I should of just read a book about Buffy instead?
 “If it’s true, what should we do about it?” he asked me. 

“What people do in books and on TV when this type of shit happens.”

He waited.

“Think Buffy,” I said.


page 104, ARC/Uncorrected Proof
As you can tell, I wasn’t a fan of Teen Spirit but if light ghostly stories are your thing or if you’re sick of raging hormone guy characters, this might suit you better.



  1. You should read the Buffy Season 8 comics! :)

    1. Ooh, I've often thought if I should read the comics! :) Any specific reasons why you recommend season 8?

  2. I just heard about this book the other day, and it intrigued me, mostly because I loved the idea of a story including a ouija board (haha!) but I wasn't a big fan of her book Weetzie Bat. In that book, her characters seemed very unrealistic as well, and it was told in an unbelievable way.