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Wasteland

by
3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,190 Ratings  ·  191 Reviews
When you were a baby I sat very still to hold you. I could see the veins through your skin like a map to inside you. I stopped breathing so you wouldn't ... You were just a boy on a bed in a room, like a kaleidoscope is a tube full of bits of broken glass. But the way I saw you was pieces refracting the light, shifting into an infinite universe of flowers and rainbows and ...more
ebook, 160 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins (first published November 1st 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kim
"We keep burning in the brown smog pit. The girls swarm in their black moth dresses. Their scalps are shaved like concentration camp ladies. Rats click my head. Everything broken.".


This is how Wasteland begins. This is why I love love Francesca so much. She uses words good.


When I'm particularly down, I can pick up any of FLB's books and feel light again. Sometimes, that makes me feel icky and not so sure of my mental well being, seeing that her stories usually involve some sort of abuse, wheth
...more
notyourmonkey
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christina
Oct 22, 2008 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most beautiful and hauntingly sad love stories I've ever read. I have read it over fifteen times and still, I get the urge to pick it up and read all over again every day. It tells the story of Lex and Marina, a brother and sister with a deep bond that is both beautiful and frightening. Early on the reader can see that the bond proves to be harder and harder for Lex to deal with. Marina's world is turned upside down when her brother commits suicide. The bulk of the story revol ...more
Jenn Carr
May 14, 2007 Jenn Carr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone.
This book was so gorgeous that it broke my heart.

"You were just a boy on a bed in a room, like a kaleidoscope is a tube full of bits of broken glass. But the way I saw you was pieces refracting the light, shifting into an infinite universe of flowers and rainbows and insects and planets, magical dividing cells, pictures no one else knew ... Your whole life you can be told something is wrong and so you believe it."
-Wasteland
Jadey
Jul 12, 2009 Jadey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't begin to describe how much i adore this book. The language is so delicate and descriptive, i find it utterly absorbing. There's something really haunting in the combination of the controversial theme, (incest), and the way Francesca Lia Block writes. Which i find strangely childlike, yet so vivid and intricate. The sentances all weave into each other. Perfect. Parts of it just read like a song to me. The ending completely broke my heart too

'You were just a boy on a bed in a room, like a
...more
Terry
Dec 20, 2008 Terry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For such a small book, this took me a while to finish. Shifting perspectives between three different points of view, the book reads like a dizzy, drunken dream. Images pop out and then vanish, scenes happen with minimal connection to what came before. As Marina grapples with the loss that is driving her mad, the story comes into focus.

Like most of Block's writing, this is as much an exercise in style as it is in story. If you want a great story, this isn't really it. If you like stretching bound
...more
Cal
Jul 27, 2011 Cal rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
To some people this writing style might be genius- to me it was just unnecessarily confusing with an author screaming "Look at me, I write differently!" The story itself was okay once i finally actually understood what was going on by page 100 (of 150). It would be much easier to read if you went through and actually wrote quotation marks where people were talking.
Tabitha Vohn
Jan 27, 2015 Tabitha Vohn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-cool-table
The word that best describes Wasteland is:aching. The perils of forbidden love mingle with the more resonant pangs of a soulful bond stronger than love or lust...that is necessary.

What becomes of an individual when someone else becomes "necessary"? Bronte attempts to answer that between Catherine and Heathcliff, Leroux between Christine and the Phantom. Here, Lia Block echoes the sentiment between Marina and Lex. She does so in her usual, brilliant, artful way, weaving in the quiet, mournful ba
...more
Haley
Sep 15, 2010 Haley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
When I first picked up this book from the library I thought that it would be somewhat like a trashy love story between a brother and sister. But after reading it, it changed into something not quite like anything I've ever read. Beautifully written with poetry that grips you, I actually had to read this book twice. Its a short story with a lot of impact but switches between characters and half way through the story I realized that there were 3 characters actions I needed to account for, not just ...more
Jaemi
Jan 23, 2009 Jaemi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marina's relationship with her brother Lex has always been different than that of normal siblings. Therefore, it’s not a shock to anyone when she takes his apparent suicide so hard. But there’s more to the story than anyone knows. At least, so she thinks.

As Marina delves deeper into the mystery, struggling to understand what happened to her brother, hidden truths come to light. But none so large as those learned when she takes off to visit her father.

This is a story of love: how it can raise you
...more
Amaryllis
5 stars for writing / 3 stars for plot

I've always had a fascination with incest as a forbidden love plot. I know that some people find it disturbing (disgusting, even). As far as I'm concerned, I'm fascinated because I think incest probably is the most forbidden form of relationship there is. And you know my love of all things forbidden ;)

Wasteland meets most of the criteria for a good forbidden romance (what makes a forbidden romance a good forbidden romance in my opinion anyway).

You can feel h
...more
Ashley
Sep 30, 2011 Ashley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It took me quite a while to finish this book because, honestly, I never wanted to pick it up.
The book is written in a beautiful and poetic manner, and for a lot of people, I'm sure that's what they enjoy about the book. But for me, it was like the author was trying way too hard to make every. little. thing sound poetic that she fell short on creating plot and character depth. I mean seriously, the only things I caught from the book were the poetic writing and a very vague sad story of incest. Se
...more
Jay
Like most Francesca Lia Block books, I can see why people enjoy it and love it and want to get deep into it. And like most Francesca Lia Block books, this just goes straight over my head.

It's beautiful, yes, and it approaches incest in such a delicate way it could almost be seen as not being incest. Everything between Marina and Lex is unsaid. The only time incest is mentioned is when one girl constantly taunts the mourning Marina by saying 'incest is best.'

It's a very small book, my copy only 1
...more
Jessica at Book Sake
Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.

After reading The Weetzie Bat Series and some of Block’s stand alone books, I jumped to buy this book when I came upon it. At only 160 pages it is a short and quick read, as are some of her other books, but the ending in this one felt rushed and fell short of my expectations. The ending was predictable and way too easy for me. However, the journey there is what makes this book special.

Block has a way of writing that is different from any other author I’ve read.
...more
Ted
Apr 20, 2015 Ted rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An easy read, I read this book at my kitchen table with about 2 cups of coffee. It was insightful and deep but hard to follow because it switches from the sisters perspective to the brothers. Pretty good but nothing's ground breaking. I needed a quick read to numb my mind as it's getting close to the end of the semester.
Janina
Jul 28, 2014 Janina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teens
How sad. The writing got to me and the story made me wish things could have been different even knowing that considering they were technically brother and sister, it could not be different. This is the second book I've read in which the brother has killed himself and quite frankly, I'd like a different ending.
Julie Decker
Marina and her older brother Lex have a complex relationship. They've grown up very close, with him as her protector and role model, and when they get older they find themselves drawn to each other in ways the society does not approve of. Though they struggle to see others in romantic contexts because they're well aware of this taboo, they still feel that no other candidate for their love comes close to what they have together. Once they consummate this in a way they can't take back, Lex is asha ...more
Madeline
This is the story of what happens when a brother and sister are too close for societal standards, which of course then makes it not for everyone. Then again, well-written books and engaging stories are not for everyone. Block describes her characters with transcendent compassion and portrays the grief of a sixteen-year-old girl with certain realism, despite the overall dreaminess of the lyrical paragraphs. This is a haunting story, but so beautifully written I read it in an hour.
Elle
Short but sweet. I think I just loved everything about it. The writing is amazing, poetic, romantic. The story is good: told through three POVs. I think I hoped for things to turn out the way they did (which is super twisted) and it's interesting to see what the author did with the story. I'll have to read it again for a more detailed review. But yeah, I loved it.
Jessica
Mar 22, 2012 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I read this book a number of years ago, and have a vague idea of what it is about. But what I remember unequivocally is the feeling that it gave me: a cold, hard knot in my chest that I only get when reading something that is incredible, and taking me far, far away from myself. I think this is Francesca Lia Block's best.
Raisie
Jan 08, 2011 Raisie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i love this story. i don't know if it's the author's way of writing, it's almost like poetry in my opinion. the story literally entices you in and you can't put it down until you've read the whole thing. which isn't such a bad thing because it isn't too long. any person with an open mind should read this book.
Kate
Jul 07, 2014 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2006, age-ya
I had a difficult time figuring out this book, as it switches first person point-of-view between the brother and the sister without explanation. Once I figured it out, it was a beautiful, poetic story... one I will probably read again.
Grace
"Yet again, more Block, because I admire her to no end and her work is fantastic. This is brave, taboo subject matter here that she tackles beautifully."
Aisha
Feb 11, 2009 Aisha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves
Painfully beautiful and poignant. Single-handedly my favourite book. My heart breaks every time the same as it did the first.
Hanna
As in all novels by Francesca Lia Block, Wasteland is intoxicating, as if every sentence is doused with heady perfume. Infused with symbolism and told through alternating perspectives, it touches on themes such as incest, suicide, and the tragedies of a family. The author handles these themes well by executing them through a prose style that is distinctly Block and telling the stories of the characters in fragments.

I enjoyed reading Wasteland in one sitting. It is a slim volume that still manage
...more
Mike Sayers
Jun 11, 2010 Mike Sayers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
if i were a book. i would be this one.
Juliet-Camille
Jul 22, 2014 Juliet-Camille rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, I really, really loved it.

The prose is like slowly succumbing and surfacing in so much ocean space.

description

Incest is one of those subjects we just don't like to talk, or even think, about. In WASTELAND, Francesca Lia Block forces readers outside their comfort zones and into a story in which the love between a brother and sister provides both great joy and incredible anguish.

Lex and Marina have always been close. One of Lex's earliest memories was of his sister as a baby: "Then you re
...more
Christina
Jan 26, 2012 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book definitely has its flaws, but the emotional response it elicits make it hard to give anything other than five stars. I've always liked Block's lyrical writing, but find with some of her other works that the disconnect from reality and lack of concrete plot leave me wanting a bit more. Wasteland is a bit different in this aspect and seems much more rooted.

I had to re-read this book after finishing it the first time. I love how it just unfolds and confuses and lets you piece together wh
...more
Lexidreams
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
ayanami
Oct 07, 2015 ayanami rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, 2010
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Francesca Lia Block was born in Los Angeles to a poet and a painter, their creativity an obvious influence on her writing. Another influence was her childhood love of Greek mythology and fairy tales.
She has lived in the city all her life, and still resides there with her daughter, Jasmine Angelina (about whom she wrote her book Guarding the Moon), her son Samuel Alexander, and her two dogs: a spr
...more
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“Nothing happened. And everything did. Your whole life you can be told something is wrong and so you believe it. Why should you question it? But then slowly seeds are planted inside of you, one by one, by a touch or a look or a day skateboarding in a park, and they start to burst out of old hulls shells and they start to sprout. And pretty soon there are so many of them. They are named Love and Trust and Kindness and Joy and Desire and Wonder and Spirit and Soulmate. They grow into a garden so dense and thick that it starts to invade your brain where the old things you were once told are dying. ” 138 likes
“You asked me who I thought I was before. I said maybe I was a fish because I love water and you said, you thought a mermaid, maybe.
If you were a mermaid, you said, if you were a mermaid, I was the sea.”
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