Monday, January 3, 2011

Roses and Bones: Myths, Tales, and Secrets by Francesca Lia Block

Roses and Bones: Myths, Tales, and Secrets (Bind Up)

Roses and Bones: Myths, Tales, and Secrets (Bind Up) by Francesca Lia Block is a newly released compendium of earlier works by Block including Psyche in a Dress, Echo, and The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold. I am mostly familiar with The Rose and the Beast which is compiled of fairy tale retellings.

Description from the publisher:

What happens when a girl finds herself at the crossroads between worlds—where the angels and ghosts, gods and demons, and beauties and beasts of myth are real? What does she do and who does she become?

Roses and Bones captures the best Francesca Lia Block has to offer: extravagantly imaginative tales, dark landscapes, fierce poetry, and storytelling that is nothing short of magical.

In my experience, Block tends to be in the "love her or hate her" category of authors. Her style and content is her own.

The Rose and The Beast: Fairy Tales Retold was first released when I was working as a children's/YA librarian in Burbank. I read it then and added it to our YA section even before reading it. My memories with it have almost nothing to do with fairy tales however, for it was the only book I had briefly challenged by an adult reader as unsuitable for YA. This was not common in the Los Angeles area and my initial reaction was not professional, alas.  A short burst of laughter/noise erupted from me before I could control myself. I honestly don't remember what else I said to the patron for I was too shocked at my initial outburst--I am not usually a reactionary person if you know me--and surprised by the challenge.  Yes, this book has sexual content but it does not glorify any of it in any way.  If anything, it makes it distasteful. This was during the time when YA books were erupting with much more graphic and gratuitous sexual encounters and I little expected this book to be the one challenged.  After all, it was sitting right next to the Gossip Girl series which was chock full of gratuitous everything with pretty much no redeeming qualities.  However, I think it was one that an adult would pick up thanks to its cover (that gorgeous cover which I will include below) and fairy tale allusions, so that made sense when I considered it all later. They certainly weren't looking at the more obviously YA covers and storylines which hid much more risque content that I myself debated for the average YA reader I knew at the time.

Anyway, that is my true confessions. I was usually a much better librarian than that, by the way. This is not light reading but it is quick. It may not be what you would want for your YA reader. So be warned.

Here are the original titles collected in this new book:

Psyche in a Dress Echo The Rose and The Beast: Fairy Tales Retold


  1. Well, to be honest, it would be nice if they had a kind of rating system to YA books. Like, perhaps PG or PG-13, or rated R. That's why I like sites like One Librarian's Book Reviews, which does tell you how much questionable content is in it. :D

  2. I would hate to have a rating system on YA books (or any type of book). Ratings would just lead to stigmas such as an NC-17 rating on movies, which, contrary to popular opinion, does not always mean a film is pornographic. If parents are unsure, they can read/skim a book and consult reviews. Readers have different sensibilities that cannot and should not be swayed by letter and number ratings.

    Anyway, I'm a bit relieved to see that this is a collection of books I have already read. Francesca came out with so much new work last year that I haven't had time to catch up. The Weetzie Bat Books changed my life in high school (stop giggling!), and I've been a Francesca fan ever since.