How to (Un)Cage a Girl

"Francesca Lia Block is a Los Angeles writer with a unique voice that blends lush imagery, hip fairy tales and punk poetic lyricism. She is best known for her "Weetzie Bat" books, which premiered in 1989 and drew critical acclaim and a rapturous fan base while helping to revolutionize young adult literature."~ Los Angeles Times

"In what appears to be a semi-autobiographical collection of poems, Block skillfully articulates the insecurities and emotions of a girl growing up in Hollywood….There is something for everyone in this short, beautifully written collection...Having two daughters on the cusp of adulthood, "FortyFive Thoughts for my Daughter" and "My Virtual Daughters" made this reviewer teary-eyed. Interestingly the emotions described by Block are not solely the domain of girls. Boys, too, feel the insecurities about being popular, the heartache of love gone awry, and pain caused by the death of a loved one. Block's legions of fans will devour this collection. Poetry lovers or not, readers will find a wonderful read." –VOYA Starred Review

"This three-part collection of forty-five autobiographical poems is Block's most personal and revealing work for young adults yet... Teens in the throes of adolescence will especially appreciate that Block's poetry embraces the dark and the light: her heartfelt advice acknowledges both roses and thorns, and her use of archetypal fairy-tale motifs gives her writing more credence, speaking to something elemental in us all. Uber fans of FLB, privy to all the details of her personal life online, will get the most from this collection, but even the more casual readers of Block's novels will find much to linger over."~ Horn Book

"These poems traverse the steep climb from girlhood to womanhood while unearthing the hard truths hidden within this journey...Teenage girls, especially sophisticated, angst-filled poetry readers, will devour this insightful and powerful collection."~ School Library Journal

"In this collection, Block once again mixes characters from fairy tale and myth—vampires, mermaids, fairies—in urban poems that contrast menace and beauty; innocence and heartbroken experience; despair and bold confidence. As in her recent story collection, Blood Roses (2008), the works frankly discuss body image, sex, and love, and the subjects stretch into adult life, with poems about marriage, divorce, and motherhood. Luxuriant imagery of roses, feathers, and glitter contrast with dark, menacing scenarios of girls and women threatened by men and by their own brutal judgment, with vibrant, sometimes cruel Los Angeles as a constant backdrop. Eating disorders figure into many poems, as does advice on finding joy. There is hope in the beautiful title poem, which speaks about the limitless freedom that can come with self acceptance, and young women will easily relate to the many selections about teen naïveté and restlessness... A stirring exploration of female suffering and empowerment, this will attract Block's adult readers, too."~ ALA Booklist

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