Violet & Claire: A Novel


Conflict , she says, I want conflict. Claire is a flower child, a wild and innocent wanderer who grew up running alone in the woods, but has been transplanted into a community of ordinary people, to wander vaguely through life, attend high school with wings on her back, and proclaim to the world that she's the descendant of fairies. She's " [t]he girl whom the boys thought was a fawn and tried to shoot, the girl who could fly when no one was looking, the girl with the wings on her skinny back and the child's mouth that was like too many flowers.

The way Violet goes on about her script and her film, and how she needs this and that, it feels like make believe. The events often seemed to be a metaphor, a coping mechanism, like Claire's faeries. So there's an odd whiplash when I realise that yes, Violet really did become a famous scriptwriter and is now moving in the hard, loud, dangerous circles of Hollywood showbiz, and that everything actually happens. At first, the girls seem younger than they are, meeting in school, hanging out together - and then hard-edged Violet is moving in adult circles, happily engaging in one night stands, becoming famous and dropping out of school, while delicate Claire is almost-dating an older man.

But Violet's out of her depth, and though Claire adores her poetry teacher, she doesn't have any interest in sleeping with him. He seems more an idealised father-figure and friend to lonely, single-parent Claire. He's also a slightly predatory figure who clearly adores Claire back, and encourages her in being herself, but also moves on to the next girl to turn up at his poetry circle with barely a qualm, when she proves a flower too difficult to pluck. Violet despises him, but ends up bonding in an odd way over their shared, semi-futile love of Claire.

There's no real sense of place or time, while the girls do go to the city, and school, and home, there are no transition scenes. The sense of time passing is just as hard to pin down. It's an odd, experimental book. I didn't really enjoy it, at least not until the final scenes when the story became more recognisable and events moved in a logical way, and when all the poetry and fancifulness worked.

The rest of it was rather random, with major events happening offstage and barely explained, while we follow the impact of said events on the girls. Chapters alternated between first person and occasionally a joint third person. Their voices were strongly written as them - Violet being a slightly cool, modern teen, while Claire was much more lyrical. The third person chapters were much easier to read, and I found that Violet's voice was aggravating and felt a little forced - but other people may prefer it.

The ending was rushed, but so was the whole book, and slightly less disjointed. It's a book that sounds more impressive that it is. On the other hand, from the Amazon reviews, many people loved the magical realism, and strongly identified with the two girls, so this is clearly a book where your mileage may vary. Published October 31st by Harper Teen first published September 22nd To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Lists with This Book. Jan 11, Jaemi rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is the book that started it all for me. A friend recommended I read it, and Francesca Lia Block made an immediate move to the top slot in my favorite authors list, where she's stayed ever since. Violet sees life as a movie.

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As the two teen In this coming of age novella, two teenage girls, both outsiders, become best friends. View all 3 comments. The perfect spooky read for Halloween, this pulse-pounding adventure will To read e-books on the BookShout App , download it on: Authorship -- Juvenile fiction.

There's always a scene, a mood, something unfolding. Though her own life, sadly, is lacking in some of the necessities for a great script. Her parents, who seem to be from a completely different bloodline than she, give her none. And what little she does have is This is the book that started it all for me.

And what little she does have isn't juicy enough. Anyone who can understand what she wants and where she's coming from. Innocence emboddied, wearing a Tinker Bell shirt with faerie wings, surrounded by taunting peers. Violet decides she's perfect. Claire, never having fit in, is happy to have a friend.

And one who defended her. Their early adventures are innocent enough. A visit to a transvestite bar.

Violet & Claire

A trip to an underground concert, where Violet finds her love interest in the form of the godly Flint Cassidy. But her unwilling slip into humanity leaves her wounded, when she realizes she fell for an act like any other girl. Determined, she makes the most of it, and takes her script to his agent, who gives her a receptionist job in exchange for helping her with it. Claire is first excited, soon after worried.

Violet comes to school less and less, eventually isn't there at all. The poetry class they signed up for together also becomes Claire's alone. As she gets deeper into her relationship with the teacher, Violet isn't there to listen, or warn her. Claire too finds herself injured and lost. But even the darkness can't keep them apart. After all the misunderstandings and apologies gone awry, their friendship prevails.

Life in the desert, away from the cruelties of the big city, awaits. Violet's portion of the story should appeal to any movie buff. Claire's to anyone who's ever felt alien, finding solace mostly in paper and pen. A very quick read, which might or might not keep you up at night to get to see how it turns out, and one of my all time favorites, I highly recommend Violet and Claire to any and all. Oct 18, Jay rated it really liked it Shelves: This book is like a dream. There's a very mystical quality when reading it.

The scenes meld into one another, which can be quite disjointing when reading it initially. Pages need to be re-read and at points, nothing is quite clear. The book is very short, however, easily read in under an hour , and so it isn't quite difficult. The love between Violet and Claire transcends sexuality, and Violet never makes any attempt to clarify their relationship. Claire relies more on Violet, that much is true, This book is like a dream. Claire relies more on Violet, that much is true, but in many ways, she opens Violet up and makes her recognise her innocence, her youth, her vulnerability.

In many ways, Violet makes Claire stronger, but Claire doesn't quite reach it. The Hollywood side to it baffled me a little, admittedly, and it didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the novel. I think it would have been easier if Violet had fallen in with a bad crowd such as at the club she visits than going straight to Hollywood.

Jan 20, Patrick rated it it was ok Shelves: I went through this really weird phase where I kept accidentally reading young adult fiction, it was very odd. This book was about two friends and I think they have some problems or something. If I was a teenage girl I probably would've been pretty into it. Sep 14, Kelly added it Shelves: Read many years ago when I was going through a distinct Francesca Lia Block phase and devoured everything she wrote. I remember taking these books out from the library. They were so racy - there are definitely very mature scenes and themes and characters - and how magical and illicit it all felt, because these were books with fantastic writing about growing up in a way that called so clearly to young adults in the 90s.

Oct 05, Bekka rated it really liked it Shelves: It has been a seriously long time since I read Violet and Claire.

Violet and Claire

But I think I got more out of it this time around. I was able to see the thing hidden under the surface text and I understood better the emotions the author was trying to convey. I felt much more connected to the characters, reading as an adult. Violet is not very likable. Movies and film-making are her passions and her obsession and dedication are endearing. And when it finally comes together for her, things turn sour, and fast.

Violet kind of put her up on a pedestal and was more interested in what Claire could be instead of who Claire really is. She has been through so much, with her father leaving her family, and bullying — and way, way worse — at school. You want so badly for things to go her way. The reader will fall in love with the lyrical poetry of her voice.

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Violet and Claire though a quick read, is not an easy one. These girls go through so much pain, both together and apart. But the end is magical anyway. Their love for one another is stronger than the conflict that tore them apart. Dec 14, Nomad rated it liked it Shelves: I'm a fan of Block's and even though I'm out of her intended age market, I and many others like me, still love her work.

So as a book on the intricacies of female friendship during the teen years and what appeared to be their very early 20's, I recommend this highly. Many ti I'm a fan of Block's and even though I'm out of her intended age market, I and many others like me, still love her work. So when it looked like she had I was so excited I barely knew what to do with myself.

When it never happened, my disappointment overshadowed a lot of my enjoyment of a truly good book. View all 3 comments. Jan 22, Stacy rated it really liked it Shelves: I have been a fan of Ms. Also, just for good measure, one of my favorite quotes: This was not the movies. It was excruciatingly beautiful. May 08, Izlinda rated it really liked it Recommended to Izlinda by: The brevity bothered me a bit, and a bit of the predictability, but it was engaging in the difference of the way it was written.

Based on two girls, the first section is written by Violet, in first person, but with camera cues. It explores friendship, ambitions, attaining dreams and falling from them and relationships, though I suppo The brevity bothered me a bit, and a bit of the predictability, but it was engaging in the difference of the way it was written.

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It explores friendship, ambitions, attaining dreams and falling from them and relationships, though I suppose I would have wished a bit more development. Claire's fascination with the faerie and how she relates to them ostracized from the developing human world is a nice touch of fantasy and ethereal thinking, whereas Violet sees the world as a story. Jun 05, Estelle rated it liked it. As troubled and dark Violet and Claire were, they exude innocence and pure love. This story seems to be all over the place yet also all together.

I may not be able to grasp the story as a whole, but it touches me somehow, somewhere. After finished reading, the first thing that came to my mind was 'wouldnt it be nice to have someone there for you, protecting you like that? Sep 22, Melinda rated it did not like it. This book in three words is "irritating, soullessly depressing.

Nov 05, Alia rated it it was ok Shelves: The problem with FLB is that she gets teenagers so well that it's hard to read her books as an adult. This is a case of exactly that. I remember reading this book as a senior in highschool and totally relating. Now, the characters annoy the crap out of me.

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Dec 12, Ashley Scott rated it liked it Shelves: Pretty much how I usually feel about FLB's writing - I love the whimsy, I love the lush descriptors, but the stories are sometimes too underdeveloped to mean as much as they could. May 16, Tahni rated it liked it Shelves: This one breaks away from Block's typical flowery and kaleidoscopic prose, developing a distinct voice for each character. The characters themselves are very much in line with Block's typical style, being unique to the point of being almost fanastical -- something highschool me identified with strongly, in different ways for each character.

This novel has a different overal tone and feel than Block's other books, taking on an almost noir tone without fully leaning in to noir or pulling away from This one breaks away from Block's typical flowery and kaleidoscopic prose, developing a distinct voice for each character. This novel has a different overal tone and feel than Block's other books, taking on an almost noir tone without fully leaning in to noir or pulling away from Block's usual angles.

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The result is that I wouldn't be sure how to classify or even necessarily describe the storyline, and in the end there's a certain lack of resolution which is somewhat unsatisfying if only because there's a lack of development in the character established as the antagonist. Mar 23, Jade Gregerson added it. Violet is the darker one, Claire is the lighter one. Violet has been wanting to make a movie her whole life, and she thinks Claire would make the perfect star. For a while they work together on ideas, until Violet gets a job.

They start to drift apart each having their fair share of bad things going on. Eventually they come back together, making a somewhat happy ending. I liked the characters, especially Claire. She was like a real-life Tinkerbell. It was an alright book altogether.

Jan 05, Joshua rated it really liked it Shelves: Been reading this author since I was about 15 or Block can be a bit of a hit-or-miss but I immensely enjoyed this. Very mystical and faerie like, reads like a poem or a dream. May 30, Courtney Gendreau rated it did not like it. After having it sit on my nightstand for a month I finally DNF'd this book. I was bored throughout the book and couldn't connect to the characters. Maybe I'll pick it up later, though I doubt it. Apr 07, Katie rated it liked it. I'm pretty glad I read "The Hanged Man" first to spark the interest, because while this one is certainly respectable, it wasn't nearly as gritty and well-balanced as THM.

So, "Violet and Claire" really makes you remember that FLB is a young adult writer, and that's perfectly fine. Violet comes off as the artsy, different, know-it-all girl at the beginning, who is very smart and knowledgeable but also very In my goal of re-reading all of my Francesca Lia Block books, "Violet and Claire" was next. Violet comes off as the artsy, different, know-it-all girl at the beginning, who is very smart and knowledgeable but also very teenagery and sort of immature.

She's The Weird Kid. And then along comes Claire, who is The Weird Kid in a more childlike way. They're both way into fantasies, it's just that Violet's are a bit more rooted in reality as in, her dream is to be a film director, so she basically sees everything as a potential movie, but at least you can actually be a film director if you want , and Claire actually believes in faeries and that she's descended from them one cannot be a faerie, I don't think. I thought the way FLB wrote their teenage voices was incredibly on point; I found myself sort of smirking at the memory of my own teenage self probably saying similar, stupid things.

The book gets gritty, just like THM, but it isn't consistent and almost feels like the grittiness is inserted to make it more. It was so absolutely unrealistic I couldn't really get into it. Violet gets a job as a screenwriter? And then the predictable downward spiral that tests their friendship.

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What makes the pretty standard YA plot better than the average bear is the poetic nature of the writing. Female friendships have a lot of nuance to them; there's this sort of tricky balancing act between the positive and the negative. As in, you love your friend, love her so much, but you can get so jealous and angry. There are some gorgeous bits of writing that are very on point in describing those aspects, but unfortunately the somewhat outlandish plot and sometimes-cartoonish nature of the characters makes it hard for it to shine through.

Jun 07, Author rated it liked it. I don't know about this book. There is something about it that is enticing, but not quite enjoyable.

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I didn't particularly care about the characters, but I did like the story of their friendship and the ending sentiment about it. It's nice to see books about deep friendships like this.