It had a slow start, I think, but I've fallen in love. Very pretty. Very ... relatable, if that's even a word. In fact, I find it more relatable than some of her other books.
There's just something much more relatable and understanding about a girl entering college after traumatic setbacks and feeling lost, alone, and grasping onto the things she finally finds magical.
"That was when I started to run. I ran and ran as fast as I could along the pavement. Sweat poured down my face, mixing with the tears that had started to come. I could run fast. But you just can't run faster than time, not faster than death and, as I'd find out, not faster than love."
-- page 8
Weetzie Bat led a beautiful life, but it's not one everyone gets, or understands, or even necessarily wants. But Ariel is so real and complex in her fears and desires that I see myself behaving much the same way as her in many of the situations she faces. Her fear and anxiety and loneliness and desire to find her friend (and herself) definitely reflect me back at myself in a sad, beautiful way. And I'm sure I'm not the only one.
"I walked past groups of laughing frat boys in monster masks and sorority girls dressed as sexy cats, sexy witches or sexy fairies in accessorized leotards and tights. The homeless were out in full force as well but the Greek kids were ignoring them in the usual way, as if they were invisible, phantoms. But I saw. The woman with the wings held a skeleton mask over her face and her small companion was dressed head to toe in clothes that looked as if they had been dipped in blood. The man with dreadlocks had twisted them into horns. He approached me, mumbling and waving his hands. I froze. As he got closer he shouted, 'The end is near and the parallel universe is not near complete!' He kept walking past me and I resumed breathing. The air smelled of coffee and chocolate. I stopped at the corner and looked around. People were sitting in the cafe. It seemed so warm and cozy in there."
-- page 29
It reminds me a little of Echo, in the searching, and Quakeland in its self aware anxiety, The Hanged Man in its views of life and the self, and Ecstasia in its lush sensory descriptions.
But all of these in a much more narrative, realistic, understandable way. I can see myself as Ariel in ways I couldn't with other characters. I don't aspire to be like her or in her life; I just could be. Anyone could be.
The story is part coming-of-age, part supernatural, and part crime mystery. It's lovely and touching and sad and scary, and reminds you of those times when you just want to run and jump and dance, dress up, play, light candles and kiss and write and sing and be alive as much as possible.
"Everywhere I went I imagined she was walking with me. I tried to see things through her eyes; it wasn't hard. I knew how she thought. The faces she would find beautiful or interesting, the scruffy and disabled dogs she would stop to pet, the jewelry she would life from black velvet on the street vendor's table, examining to see how it was made, the buildings she would want to live in."
It's also incredibly grounded in its representation of love and fear and tragedy, and I swear it's a wonderful read, Teen-Fiction or not.