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3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  4,738 Ratings  ·  234 Reviews
Francesca Lia Block has charmed and amazed young audiences with tales of the mystical and ethereal. This outstanding story is no different. Following the life of Echo, an L.A. baby born to an artistic dad and a mom who's an angel, this enthralling story offers more than fairy dust and the supernatural. It tells the tale of a girl who feels doomed to be less than angelic, a ...more
Paperback, 215 pages
Published August 6th 2001 by HarperTeen (first published August 1st 2001)
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Mary Kathleen (Disclaimer: In my family, there was never a lot of censorship over the media my brothers and I consumed, so I may not have the most realistic…more(Disclaimer: In my family, there was never a lot of censorship over the media my brothers and I consumed, so I may not have the most realistic perspective on what's age-appropriate.)

It's been years since I read this book, but as I recall, it had a lot of references to sex, masturbation, etc. I was young when I read it (between eleven and thirteen or fourteen) but it didn't have any adverse effect on me.

Anyway, people who clutch their pearls over books that act scandalized over art that deals with sex and drugs have always bewildered me, because I find that the more you treat something like it's taboo--never to be spoken of--the more alluring kids and teens will find it.

But that's just been my own personal experience. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯(less)

Community Reviews

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I didn't like this book too much. The back of the book made it seem like the book was all about the supernatural and this girl wanting to become a mermaid. It was really about a girl who smoked and went to clubs and slept with a million guys.
Feb 28, 2010 endofmarch rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2010
I didn't even finish it.
While the prose was absolutely beautiful, I couldn't stand the glamorization of, well, everything from drug abuse to eating disorders, to feeling fragile and hopeless.
I didn't like that all the characters felt that their doom and salvation was in finding a boyfriend/girlfriend. That to feel whole and human and yourself you need someone to love you desperately.
I didn't like how being fragile and soft and breakable is made to sound like it's the prettiest state a girl can b
Feb 11, 2010 Gorfo rated it did not like it
The book started in confusion and ended in confusion. I'm not sure what it was about! Was it symbolic or meaningful? If so the symbolism was completely lost on me. Unicorns and vampires exited and entered the book on a whim and I'm not sure if this was a realistic fiction about a girl who had serious mental issues or a sci-fi or what. The book was peppered with sex, drugs, and melodrama and though the writing was beautiful the story line was definitely lacking a lot!
Apr 02, 2009 Jenny rated it it was ok
Beautiful writing, but I didn't care as much for the story itself.
Greta is Erikasbuddy
Jun 15, 2010 Greta is Erikasbuddy rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!! This author has such a way with words. It's like your listening to a song rather than reading a book. I hope to one day read every little thing out there she has ever written. SHe is definately my kind of storyteller.

In ECHO, you meet a girl named ...well... ECHO. You go through her life and every chapter somehow either revolves around ECHO or is a story that will someday effect her.

It's really brilliant the way it is done and the ending actually brought a tear to my eye. (no
Roderick Mcgillis
Sep 15, 2012 Roderick Mcgillis rated it it was ok
I like the Weetzie Bat books and I Was a Teenage Fairy. I like the manner in which Block folds faerie into contemporary America, especially southern California. As for Echo, I am less certain because the book departs from my memory quickly. It is an ambitious book with its shift of perspective and time throughout. I think what works less for me is the prose. Here it has less of the quirky Valleyisms and more cloying description - of foods, of flowers, of painting, and so on. This novel aspires t ...more
Jan 20, 2008 April-lyn rated it really liked it
Recommended to April-lyn by: Grace
When Grace lent this to me, she told me that it read like poetry. And she wasn't joking. The best word I can think of is "ethereal". Gorgeous and dreamlike, and over and done with as quickly as a favorite song. I read it in less than two hours - I can't remember the last book I read in one night. Just the thing for a night when I was feeling mopey and lonesome.
Jun 28, 2014 snowplum rated it really liked it
If you particularly enjoy lyrical prose and magical realism, at some point you must read a book by Francesca Lia Block. I am probably in the minority because I would recommend Echo before the far more famous Weetzie Bat (the book of that name or the entire series, Dangerous Angels, of which Miss Weetzie is the title character.) Here's why:

Block is a perfect example of a writer who begins a charmed career with raw talent and a distinctive voice and who eventually ends up trying hard to mimic her
Jan 05, 2010 Ali rated it it was ok
This book is about a girl named Echo. Echo has a mother who is the most beautiful thing to grace the planet. She is perfect in every way. Since she was little, Echo couldn't help but compare herself to her. She was a perfect cook, a fantastic gardener, and she had healing powers. On top of all of that, she was naturally beautiful. Since Echo knew she could never be anything like her mother, she began drinking and smoking at a young age. At the age of sixteen, she was going to night clubs. One ni ...more
Sep 14, 2012 Jessica rated it did not like it
Sadly I missed the hype on this book. The author was very much all over the place. The author truly beautifully described everything, however the actual storyline was somewhat hard to follow. I think the author had really high hopes but I'm not sure she completely pulled it off. She would spend long chapters telling the backstory on one character, then jump to a seemingly unrelated character. She did this with about 5 characters until you could finally see how they started to know each other. Ho ...more
Mar 25, 2011 Julia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: real-life
Amazing is too small a word for what I feel for this book. I love Block's way of writing. It is full of passion and music and magic. It's like the whole world is a glittery, shiny, wonderful and terrible place.
Echo is a girl with issues, just like everyone else, but in a unique kind of way. She falls in and out of love, meets and looses people and wants to be loved and to be beautiful. This novel is about love - not just the romantic kind of love, but the accepting and respecting yourself-kind
Jan 23, 2012 Mackenzie rated it it was ok
This book hits on all of the usual F. L. Block themes, but is a little less grimy/ethereal/wonderful than some of her other works. At 14 I would have loved this book just as much as Weetzie or Girl Goddess #9. However it doesn't stand up on its own merits to someone a little (haha, a lot) older with more literary experience under her belt.
Sep 12, 2013 Mizuki rated it it was ok
2.5 stars, the writing is nearly dreamly but the story is not very engaging but I don't hate this book.
Amber Canty
Oct 07, 2010 Amber Canty is currently reading it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura Morrigan
Please help save Francesca's home so she does not lose it! sign this petition!!!

This novel was beautiful but terrifying. It is the story of people living a wonderfully idyllic life that I long for, but their happiness is destroyed by cancer. Perhaps Echo always felt invisible next to her beautiful mother, but their house was filled with love and light, her mother's amazing cooking and her father's gorgeous paintings. When her father becomes ill she loses
May 16, 2010 Kristin rated it liked it
Echo wasn't a long book, and it wasn't hard to read either, but I thought it was hard to understand. On the surface, Echo was just a teenage girl with troubles. She lives in her beautiful mother's shadow and feels as if even her own father sees her as a disgrace. She will never be as great as her graceful mother who can heal and make flowers bloom just with her touch. Echo with all her frustration sits at the beach one night, and meets an fallen angel. They quickly fall in love, but he never spo ...more
Feb 02, 2012 Sara rated it liked it
I have been a longtime Block fan since my youth, and I recently revisited her work with this book. It's in her signature style alright, lovely and highly visual language, often surreal. But I also noticed flaws. I don't know whether to attribute them to this particular book, or to simply being older. This book was disjointed, switching between characters, narrative mode, and place with every chapter, often without giving any information to the reader about whose head they're in now. Many charact ...more
Amanda Butler
Aug 21, 2013 Amanda Butler rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I finished this book on the day I started it. From the summary, it seems like an otherworldly adventure book. Upon reading it, it is discovered to be reality; seen as an otherworldly, adventurous perspective. It has many underlying themes that truly bring the book to life. The otherworldly perspective of mermaids and angels and vampires is just how Echo herself sees life.

Since the book is told from many different perspectives, remembering who the characters are and how they are related to each o
Aug 15, 2010 Melissa rated it liked it
I probably would've enjoyed this book much more if I hadn't read Moral Disorder and Other Stories by Margaret Atwood not long before it.

Both have the same flavor, many short stories lumped into one volume that somehow weave in and out of another but in a very disjointed way.

Whereas Atwood presents the ordinary in an extra ordinary way in Moral Disorder (and a almost creepily quiet way that resonates for reasons that I, the reader, cannot quite place), Block presents a gritty underbelly of the w
May 07, 2012 Maggie rated it liked it
It's the same thing as her other books, characters indicated by their clothes, their art, where they go, what they eat/cook/drink. Which raises the question: what do I want that I'm not getting here? Some depth, some good dialogue, some complexity. Oh, and a plot or story of some kind.

This book is a connected series of stories that are deliberately obscure as to the main character in each one. Seriously, it is hard to figure out who is in each one and how that story is connected to the others. O
May 19, 2014 Joshua rated it it was amazing
And then I cried a flood of tears as if I really were a mermaid who had absorbed too much sea into herself. The tears spilled like a balm, like a potion, like a charm. In them swam a little girl whose father was dying without ever having seen her

Echo, cannot be read like a typical YA novel. It reads like poetry or a dream. It's mystical and silly and heartwrending all at once. Mrs Block writes lucious, beautiful prose.
This book is one to savor. Page by page. Breathing in the beautiful words a
Aug 27, 2010 Merredith rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: magical realism lovers
Shelves: 1-or-2-stars
This book was really weird. it was more like a giant poem, even though it's not poetry. it's a bunch of kind of disjointed stories about a girl named echo, and people she meets in her life. some are from her point of view, some are from others points of view. the printing is quite large, and the book is short, so it was a fast read, but most of the time reading it, i was bored, or confused. id call this a magical realism book, and ive never liked that particular genre much. but if you do, you sh ...more
Emilia P
Oct 27, 2009 Emilia P rated it liked it
Shelves: real-books
Yes: Francesca Lia Block's entirely predictable, but for me, entirely comforting outlook on the world as full of spirits and beauty and haunting and bones and gauze and glitter. Where love is hard to come by but when you find it it is magical. And where pain is worth something. It is just a thing that makes me feel okay. Plus individually a lot of these stories were good.

No: Tying the stories together. It was pretty unnecessary, and when I realized halfway through that that's what was happening
May 30, 2010 Claire rated it did not like it
This was a bad book. It was one of those books that you read because you're stuck on a plane for six hours with nothing else to do. It was wayyy to artsy. I feel like Francseca Lia Block was either trying too hard to be artsy--and as i've said before (and will say again), if you TRY to be artsy, it's not going to be artsy, just weird--or maybe she was just stuck in the convoluted inner workings of her mind that nobody wants to see. Whatever it was, this book just made me uncomfortable. I can't f ...more
Brandi Burford
Mar 21, 2009 Brandi Burford rated it liked it
I like this book, but there were times when things didn't seem to make sense. It would go from Echo being the narrator, to someone else telling a story about someone else's life. It all ended up falling together, but it just annoyed me how it did that. The story itself was good though, even though it was really about nothing except for her life. There's really no sense of time in the novel. If you like the supernatural, this book is for you. It has a heavy emphasis on art and death. All in all, ...more
Wai Lin
Jan 26, 2009 Wai Lin rated it liked it
Each chapter was similiar to short story to me. I found this book a little boring because usually I would read a book with a straight plot line but each chapter seems to jump into a new topic and/or place. Also, almost each chapter introduced new characters and some didn't pop up again throughout the book. The first chapter was about her mother. She related her mother to an angel that she saw as perfect. All the while, she didn't see herself as anything like her mother. Throughout the book, she ...more
Jul 17, 2009 Craig rated it it was ok
Another YA novel that was recommended to me here on goodreads.

I'm not sure what to say about this one. It seemed overly melodramatic and trite at points and much of the sex/drug use/anorexia seemed there for shock value (which it didn't provide) rather than a realistic part of the character. Many of the surreal twists, also, seem thrown in for the sake of creating a false sort of 'magic.'

On the other hand, some of the prose was beautifully written - melodic and haunting.

I would be willing to rea
MB (What she read)
Mar 31, 2009 MB (What she read) rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Anorexic, druggy, self-destructively emotional teenagers??? Or is that too harsh?
Reading Francesca Lia Block is so spacily weirdly weird! I feel like an exenobiologist spying on an alien culture. Reading this is more like viewing a kaleidoscopic slide show than reading a novel.

(It would probably help if I were closer to the target demographic in age and NOT completely opposite in personality to her characters.)

Feb 11, 2010 Rebecca rated it really liked it
A captivating storyline, this books seems almost bewitching, each line read seemingly converting plain, simple words into pure magick. Although some of the contained texts are clearly not intended for audiences beneath the age of 8, this author has still managed to capture the spirit of youth, fantasy, and innocence and project it through dynamic characters gracefully within this book.
Feb 18, 2011 ayanami rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, 2011
Block's writing is beautiful as always but I felt like this book was mostly a glitzy surface with not enough actual material underneath. There was a good story here, but rather than giving us that, Block chooses to only show us a few tiny fragments of it which are not substantial enough to carry a full story.
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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 about Francesca Lia Block...

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“If death is your lover, you don't got to be afraid ever that he will ever leave you” 58 likes
“I wanted him to hold me, to take care of me. To make the pain dissolve away. I know that this was part of what had ruined everything but I wanted it once more anyway.” 58 likes
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