This is the worst book Caitlin Kiernan has ever written. That being said, Kiernan, at her best, is one of the greatest writers of our time (i.e.: "The Red Tree", "The Drowning Girl," and even "Silk" which she disparagingly refers to as juvenilia). Apparently, after writing "The Drowning Girl", Kiernan wrote this dark YA styled story as a "palate cleanser" of sorts, and did not even wish to have it published under her own name, but her publisher insisted.
If I may be completely frank, I have read a LOT of hack work and fluff misrepresenting itself as "Dark Urban Fantasy," and Kiernan's diversion is far better than any of that rot . . . and she wasn't even trying. One of my dark secrets is that I kinda like the "Dresden Files" series by Jim Butcher, a NYT bestselling author, and "Blood Oranges" is actually better than several of the books in that series too.
For a YA book, it is pretty dark . . . young Quinn lives in abject squalor, shoots up, discusses orgasms, then kills people AND EATS THEM. A lot of folks simply will not get the "humor" in this book, as most of it clearly satirizes the way Dark Urban Fantasy has degenerated to mindless "Paranormal Romance." I enjoyed these subtle digs quite a bit.
Apparently, there will even be a sequel entitled "Red Delicious." From what I heard, Kiernan was under pressure to complete it by a deadlne, which she did, but was so disappointed with the final product she asked for a chance to rewrite it from scratch . . . and since she is so brilliant and awesome, her publisher was actually okay with that. I think "Red Delicious" will prove well worth the wait.
Caitlin is known for not only "dark" but atmospheric, timeless, brooding, and at times truly jarring prose. She has been known to create her own words when the ones in Webster's proved inadequate. She is a true artist and one of the greatest literary voices of our time. "Blood Oranges," however, was just a FUN read which will be appreciated by her fans. 5 stars . . . for being awesome . . . and writing something that no-one else would even dare.