When I was in high school, I was absolutely in love with Francesca Lia Block and her Weetzie Bat books (there are five; I am reviewing only the first, WEETZIE BAT), but upon my reintroduction with Weetzie, I approached them very differently. Something in Block's relentless optimism through the first half of the skinny book put me off initially--everything is lovey-dovey cotton candy clouds in LA, it seems like--and I was close to the end of the book before I came back around and began to see the appeal of WEETZIE: Block's writing, though jam-packed with images and details, is incredibly direct, and this directness pares difficult themes like AIDS and abuse and grief and, that reigning queen of young adult fiction, "being different," down and shows them simply as they are, not in a different light, nor in a revelatory way. They're difficult issues, really, and I think she does them justice. WEETZIE is a brave little book, when it comes down to it. I like that. And the whole thing's so darn pretty.