The Waters & the Wild by Francesca Lia Block

The Waters & the WildThe Waters & the Wild

by Francesca Lia Block

 

 

  • VOYA:  3Q 4P M
  • Lexile Level: 680L
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher:HarperTeen; 1 edition (June 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061452440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061452444
  •  

    Bee is a creative loner who lives with her astrologer stepfather and her scientist mother.  One night she awakes to see a girl standing over her that looks like her twin.  Frightened and unnerved, Bee seeks out her classmate, Haze, who believes he is an alien.  He tells her that she has seen her doppelganger and the two begin to search for meaning in her encounter.  When they begin spending time with Sarah, a young woman who believes she was a slave in a former life, the three misfits find solace in one another.  They determine that Bee must be a changeling who switched places with the real Bee at her birth.  The doppelganger she is seeing wants her life back and she is willing to do anything to force the changeling back underground.

    Bee, Haze, and Sarah are deeply interesting characters who seem simultaneously like normal teens struggling with identity and like strange little aliens.  Their growing relationships with each other add tension and a degree of realism to the story that widen the appeal for readers.  The doppelganger plot is interesting and at first there is good plotting.  However, the entire story takes a dramatic turn when Bee is lead underground and the results feel rushed, half-hearted, and somewhat unsatisfying.  I wanted more from the story, including more time for the relationships to develop, more plotting and pacing to explain how the teens figured out that Bee was a changeling, more detail and prelude to Bee’s confrontation with her doppelganger, and more insight into what the ultimate result of this confrontation would be.  It felt like the story had just begun and then suddenly it was over and I felt like they were two different experiences that just did not mesh together.  In brief, I want more of the first half and a denouement that matches that intensity and depth.  I feel like those characters deserve more than they got.

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