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Violet & Claire Hardcover – September 22, 1999

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; 1st edition (September 22, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060277491
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060277499
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,818,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

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

From Publishers Weekly

Block (the Weetzie Bat novels) sets herself new challenges and meets them with consummate grace in this resonant novel. Violet and Claire, best friends, are polar opposites: Violet is angry and intense, with a fierce ambition to write and direct films; Claire is passive, attempting poetic transcendence of the casual cruelties of everyday life. Each girl gets what she thinks she wants. Violet, still in high school, lands a six-figure film deal, and Claire begins a romance with her poetry teacher. But these fulfilled dreams sour, and Violet and Claire become painfully estranged. In a triumphant finale, they embrace, aware that their relationship restores the balance missing in their separate personalities. The elements of the storyAfairies, overnight fame, arts, sex and drugs, glamorous parties and, of course, the heady Los Angeles settingAare classic Block; the combination, however, is fresh and arresting, and her fans will applaud it. The narrative line is more pronounced than in previous works and, in another departure, provides a clear division between the fantastic and the real. The fairies, for example, belong to Claire's fantasy history of a lost race of "faeries" ("The patriarchy turned them into little insects," she explains to Violet). Cynical Violet and dreamy Claire alternate as narrators, projecting distinct voices that gradually come to resemble each other. Shedding a transformative light onto the often complex, sometimes dark nature of close friendships, Block's writing is as lush and luminous, as hip and wise as ever. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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

I read the book in about 3 days. it is really hard to put it down.
This is my Fav Francesca Lia Block book and the first one that read (I am a big fan!!!)
I completely connected with the character of Claire as well as violet.
Amie Romero

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By bharring on July 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
I read this book when I was sort of in a slump of mediocre reading. I really wanted something that would hold my attention and pique my senses. VIOLET&CLAIRE did just that. It is the story of two girls who seem very different yet have a similar essence, a quality which ties their fates together. Violet is dark and moody, ambitious and practical; Claire is light-hearted and delicate, innocent and dreamy. Violet dreams of escaping from the mundane life of a seventeen year-old which is her present lot, through making a movie. Claire has images of a secret race of faeries, who are gentle and kind and light as air. She writes poetry. Attracted to Claire's poetic visions and sympathetic to her ostracism from her peers, Violet asks Claire to star in her movie.
Things take a drastic turn, shifting dream to reality, when Violet and Claire attend a rock concert and get to go backstage and meet the band's sexy lead singer. Impressed by Violet, the two of them have a fling, and then he gives her his agent's number. Violet soon has a job working for the agent. She finds herself having less and less time for Claire, who pleads with her to come back to her so they can write poetry together. When a sadistic and sudden tragedy occurs, Violet finds that everything she has hoped for is falling into her hands. Yet if this is so, why is she so miserable. Claire, too, is falling apart, and has a fling with an older teacher at a poetry workshop. Ultimately, it is only through vice and destruction, while maintaining a genuine connection and a desire to save one another, that Claire and Violet can find their way back to one another and have ultimate peace.
This book starts out in a screenplay format with Violet giving a director's description of how a scene will open.
Read more ›
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By October on January 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
Violet & Claire became my all-time favorite book before I was even finished reading it. It's easy to connect with, which I did, on a very deep level. It was like this book was the story of my life, and the absolute description of me--I'm just like Claire, with a Violety edge. I also happen to be a very huge Toriphile (a follower of Tori Amos) and I was so excited when I saw the excerpts from the song Bells for Her!
The first part of the book is narrated by Violet. She talks about her passion for screenwriting, and about her life. She's dark, cynical, sarcastic, and different from other people, therefore rejected by all her peers. Then she meets Claire. The second part of the book is narrated by Claire, who is sparkly, poetic, pure, innocent, and honest. She not only believes in faeries, she believes she is a faerie. The third part of the book is narrated in the third person, both Violet and Claire. This book is the story of how their friendship was strong enough to overcome anything.
The two girls are almost metaphorical, the two sides of every girl. Every girl has an innocent side and a dark side. Violet is the dark, and Claire is the light.
Violet & Claire is classified as Young Adult, and I was a little put off by that at first, but I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't belong there. There was some sex in it, along with bad language, and a few drug issues. In my opinion, that only serves to make the book more realistic, but if you're thinking of getting this book for a younger kid, definitely think twice-- it really should go in the adult section.
In short, I would recommend this book to the teenage girl or woman who is not weak at heart.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "dragon_angel" on July 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
I couldn't help but be drawn into this book. It's about two teenage girls with personalities at completely opposite extremes - Violet, a cynical rebellious Goth who has raised herself on TV and cinema, and Claire, a lonely freespirited but fragile poet who believes she may be descended from an ancient race of faeries - and how they meet and become best friends. This friendship brings them both inspiration, adventure, and a lot of pain, but in the end they are both somewhat happier and stronger than they had been in the beginning. The way the book is written is very appealing and original. It starts out script style, the way Violet might start one of her screen plays, and is divided into three parts - Violet's narrative, Claire's narrative, and, at the conclusion of the story, a chapter combining their viewpoints. The writing style is vibrant and beautiful, and plays up both girls' personalities. It isn't a total fairytale. There's a good dose of reality in here - Violet's ambition for writing leads her right into the world of celebrities, where getting hurt can be as easy as making the wrong decision, or the wrong friends, and Claire's hunger for love, and love for both her new poet boyfriend and her new friend Violet, leads her to a lot of heartache - but the overall appeal of the book isn't lost, and in the end everything turns out alright. It's hard to stick this book in a category, but if you're a fan of Francesca Lia Block, or if you just like well written, touching stories, this is well worth checking out.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amie Romero on August 31, 2008
Format: Paperback
I read this book in 9Th grade, recommended to me by my older sister. I completely connected with the character of Claire as well as violet. Violet, so unsure of who she is, trying to control the one thing she can in her life, Directing. Claire, quiet, innocent and naive, wearing Fairy wings at school just because she wanted to. I did that at my school after I read the book, not for attention but because I had always wanted to, and reading what Claire did gave me the courage to try it too, to be me even though I was different. That is what this book is all about, finding who you are and who you want to be, what you want to do with yourself and your life and not yielding to others orders.I highly recommend reading this book if you're young and need to know you're not the only one growing uncomfortably in society today.
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