Ouija Board Creepiness In New Francesca Lia Block

Teen SpiritHigh School student, Julie, has a lovely life.  She lives in Hollywood with her mother and grandmother in a house with a mermaid tiled pool.  She can talk to her grandmother about everything.  Nothing can’t be smoothed over with her wise words and delicious food.  When her grandmother passes away in front of her, Julie discovers she has an ability that both frightens and intrigues her.  But mostly she misses her grandmother and her old life.  Her mother loses her job as a writer when the TV show is cancelled.  They must give up their beautiful Hollywood home and Julie has to start her senior year in a new school.  Luckily she makes a new friend quickly named Clark.  In the new apartment, Julie discovers a Ouija Board when it falls out of a closet.  When they try to use to contact her grandmother, they contact someone else with the letters G-R-A-N.  Julie thinks this means her grandmother and does not understand why Clark runs off before it can finish.  When someone who looks like Clark but claims to be his twin brother, Grant, shows up things get weird.  Clark is her friend, but she is drawn to Grant.  The desire to figure out this puzzle leads her on a strange journey with interesting characters.  How is this a love triangle when there might only be two people involved?  I loved this book.  I love all of Francesca Lia Block’s books.  When I read her I know I’m in for a magical treat in beautifully described settings.  I highly recommend this book for teen fantasy readers!  I find Ouija Boards even creepier now than I did before.

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Listen to some of the music mentioned in the book and discuss the lyrics.

Talk about the sense of style Julie learned from her grandmother.  Discuss the lace dress she found in the shop.

Discuss the differences between Grant and Clark.  Discuss how Julie’s feelings for them are different.  Which would you prefer?

Discuss Clark’s hats and kicharee.

Talk about Julie’s ability to see auras.  What color do you think your aura would be and why?

Talk about how Julie’s mother changed when she was with Luke.  How would you feel if your mom went through that?

Discuss Julie’s relationship with her grandmother. What do you think she was trying to tell Julie when she died?

Discuss Julie’s former home.  Talk about your former homes.  What kind of attachments do you have to them?

Discuss Ouija Boards.  Are they for real?  Have you ever tried one?

Discuss this line, “and I knew it was her love that had led me to Clark and to my father, away from Grant, and then, finally back to myself.” (pg 228)