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Pretty Dead Hardcover – September 22, 2009

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Michael Vey 4
Featured New Release in Teen Science Fiction & Fantasy

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; 1 edition (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061547859
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061547850
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,029,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Charlotte Emerson is tall and beautiful, and lives by herself in a gorgeous mansion. She's also a vampire. Before she turned, she was a bright young woman with an idyllic life. Then her beloved twin died, and his death so devastated her that she had to find a way to dull the pain. Thus, she became a vampire, a decision that has haunted her for nearly 100 years. Now she is faced with another tragic loss: that of her best friend, Emily, to an apparent suicide. Lost and lonelier than before, she seeks comfort and solace in Emily's boyfriend, Jared. At first, he is bitter and angry with her, but she opens up to him, telling him about her past, and they eventually fall in love. But there is one secret that she keeps from him: she suspects that she may, somehow, be turning into a human again. When Charlotte's maker, William, returns to taunt her, Charlotte is forced to face a horrific mistake from her past that may cost her everything. In Pretty Dead, Block takes what has up to now been the norm among vampire novels for teens and attempts to turn it on its head. This is a startlingly original work that drives a stake deep into the heart of typical vampire stories, revealing the deep loneliness and utter lack of romance in eternal life.—Necia Blundy, Marlborough Public Library, MA END


“A true original…[Block] has created something psychologically complex, erotically charged, and unusually poignant.” (Booklist (starred review))

“I love the lush, melancholy world of this novel, and its heroine, with her century of secrets.” (Claudia Gray, New York Times bestselling author of EVERNIGHT)

“A startlingly original work that drives a stake deep into the heart of typical vampire stories.” (School Library Journal)

“Sizzles and satisfies.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Will be gobbled like candy by teen readers.” (The Horn Book)

“With her characteristic flair and seductive prose, Block makes this tangled story of betrayal and love a standout. Sensuous and heartbreaking, sure to both satisfy and challenge fans of the supernatural romance.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

More About the Author

Francesca Lia Block, recipient of the prestigious Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award. has been publishing novels, short stories, essays, memoirs and poetry since 1989. Her work has been translated into many languages. Ms. Block lives in Los Angeles where she teaches writing workshops that are also available online.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 19 customer reviews
The story seems a little disjointed at times; I didn't always understand what was supposed to be happening.
Block's use of language and expression creates an incredibly beautiful, yet haunting universe for her characters to mingle in.
It seemed a little out of her normal range, but I don't think it's fair to fault an author for branching out.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It feels like someone went up to Francesca Lia Block and told her, "Vampires are hot right now. You should write a book about vampires!"

And there doesn't seem to be much inspiration beyond that for Block's latest novella, a tale of vampiric angst and luxurious misery called "Pretty Dead." While her prose is as luscious and vivid as ever, the story itself is a paper-thin hodgepodge of vampire cliches -- you've got the wangsty wealthy vampire, the sinister and hedonistic ex-lover, and some rather boring humans who dream of being immortal.

Charlotte is a vampire, living a life of glamour and beauty in modern L.A., and locked in the flawless body of an eternal teenager. But when her friend Emily dies (apparently of suicide), Charlotte finds herself changing -- she breaks a nail, develops a zit, and finds herself perspiring. At the same time, she finds herself drawn to Emily's grief-stricken boyfriend Jared, who has figured out what Emily really is (she uses lots of sunscreen! She must be a vampire!) and wants her to turn him.

And at the school she currently attends, she encounters a face from her past: William, her former lover and maker, who seems to be followed by widespread disaster wherever he goes. Charlotte looks back on her long life with William -- how he seduced her away during her mourning for her twin brother, and how they traveled through countless decades of change, fashion, and immortal numbness that has slowly left her hollow. But William has one last shock for his former lover and protege...

Francesca Lia Block has a way with words, and "Pretty Dead" is no exception.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Brittany Moore VINE VOICE on October 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Charlotte has lost many people over the years and, oh how many years it has been. When she is finally on her own she has to find someone to fill up her emptiness, but who is there? She has everything anyone could want, except a lover, except mortality.

This book was short and sweet, maybe a little too short. Unlike Block's earlier works this book seem to be lacking that poetic edge, that twists your stomach in knots and makes you cry out as if you were one of her tragic characters. This book was simply a small glimpse into the life of Charlotte Emerson. It was a good story for what it was. You got to see how she dealt with a very small section of her very long life. A sneak peak into what could have been a much longer novel. The characters were mostly undeveloped, though it seemed to be on purpose. You didn't really feel for any of them because you never got a chance to connect to them. I was quite excited when I found out that the lovely Francesca was doing a vampire novel but after reading it, I was left feeling disappointed. This is not a novel, it is a snippet; An epic poem without the hero. If you want to tick this one off your list then go ahead and read it but don't add it to your pile.

First Line:
"Teenage girls are powerful creatures."

Favorite Line:
"my darling in the red dress"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cheyenne Teska on January 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Francesca Lia Block is my favorite author. She has been since I picked up by first book written by her (Violet & Claire) back in middle school. I haven't seen much of her work mentioned around the book blogging community, but when I do, it always puts a smile on my face.

Her writing has always been magical and this doesn't change one bit in Pretty Dead. The story starts off by telling the reader about this girl, Charlotte, who isn't really a girl after all. Not a living one, at least. She speaks about the people that surround her and how she can sense their jealousy. They've always thought she was perfect on the outside and they admired all of the treasures she had, when the truth was that she would trade it all just to be mortal again.

When she loses the closest friend she's had in about a century, a part of her seems a little off. Over time, she notices that she broke a nail, she's perspiring, and she has a menstrual cycle for the first time since she was changed. Charlotte grows closer to a boy named Jared, who is actually the first person to realize who- or what- she is.

The story keeps your interest and pulls you along for the ride through a look at Charlotte's life, before, during, and after her years as a vampire. You begin to realize how easy it was for her to fall for this charming devil named William Stone Eliot, especially after she felt that she had nothing more to live for.

Definitely recommended if you're interested in vampire romance or the beautiful and graceful writing styles of FLB.

Review from The Hollow Cupboards- [...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. B. Hoyos VINE VOICE on February 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Charlotte Emerson is a vampire that is trapped for eternity in the body of a beautiful teenager. Everyone she loved when she was human died a long time ago. Charlotte will forever mourn them. Now, after the suicide of her only friend Emily, she feels more alone then ever. Her Porsche, Holly Wood mansion and designer clothes provide her little comfort. Soon Charlotte finds herself falling in love with Emily's boyfriend, Jared, who reminds her of her dead twin brother, Charles. As her love grows, Charlotte discovers she is reverting back to a human. For the first time in over one-hundred years, she is able to cry. Unfortunately, Jared is not content with being a human; he begs Charlotte to make him a vampire.

"Pretty Dead" is the latest in a long line of bizarre, provocative novels written by Francesca Lia Block. Once again, the theme is loneliness. Loneliness that is endured by teenagers who yearn for a love that will last forever. The teenager in "Pretty Dead" is Charlotte Emerson who happens to be a one-hundred-year-old vampire. For her, vampirism is a living hell on earth. The wealthy, exotic lifestyle she has shared with her creator, William Stone Eliot, has provided little compensation. A life without true love is meaningless.

Think "An Interview With The Vampire" for teenage girls. Anne Rice would be pleased by the similarities. Charlotte resembles Louis de Pointe du Lac who forever mourns the deaths of his wife and child. Like Charlotte, he detests killing humans for food and finds comfort by pretending that one of the undead (in this case, Claudia, a vampire child) represents the human child he lost. William resembles Lestat de Lioncourt who enjoyed killing.
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