Andromeda Klein

Andromeda Klein

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From Frank Portman, author of the cult classic King Dork that John Green says "will rock your world", comes a novel about Andromeda Klein, who has a few problems of her own.

Her hair is kind of horrible.

Her partner-in-occultism, Daisy, is dead.

Her secret, estranged, much older and forbidden boyfriend-in-theory, has gone AWOL.

And her mother has learned how to text.

In short, things couldn't get much worse. Until they do. Daisy seems to be attempting to make contact from beyond, books are starting to disappear from the library, and then, strangely and suddenly, Andromeda's tarot readings are beginning to predict events with bizarrely literal accuracy.

Omens are everywhere. Dreams; swords; fires; hidden cards; lost, broken, and dead cell phones . . . and what is Daisy trying to tell her?

In the ensuing struggle of neutral versus evil, it's Andromeda Klein against the world, modern society, demonic forces, and the "friends" of the library.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780739362945
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/01/2009
Age Range: 15 Years

About the Author

Frank Portman (aka Dr. Frank) is also the author of King Dork and the singer/songwriter/guitarist of the influential East Bay punk band the Mr. T. Experience (MTX). MTX has released about a dozen albums since forming in the mid-1980s. Frank lives in Oakland, California. You can visit him online at

Read an Excerpt

The Universe is huge. The Universe is complex. Everything in it is connected to everything else. And it knows who you are and sometimes wants to show you things.

Andromeda Klein's front wheel sliced through a shallow puddle, spattering yet more mud on her boot ankle, glazing the grassy embankment on the left side of the bike path.

"Trismegistus," she said under her breath, invoking the Egyptian god Thoth, lord of language and magic, and, if the theories of Mrs. John King van Rensselaer were to be believed, the god upon whose ancient temple at Hermopolis the book now known as the tarot was based. This oath, an expression of frustration, had nothing to do with the puddle or the boots: muddy boots are nothing but bad-ass. It was rather an offhand, grumpy plea for insight, for clarity. And the answer came almost immediately into view: a discarded half-crushed Styrofoam take-out box floating in a flooded storm drain had two plastic knives lying crossed on top of it.

"Okay, I get it," she muttered. The Two of Swords. She had drawn it from her tarot deck in the girls' bathroom before leaving school that day, and here it was again floating in the gutter. And with a box, to boot. Sometimes the Universe was subtle; other times it hit you over the head like it thought you were stupid.

One dream, one card, an otherworldly instant message, and dozens of synchs involving swords, boxes, and the vexing case of Twice Holy Soror Daisy Wasserstrom: it had been an unusually weedgie week. She rose from the seat to pedal up the hill.

The Universe, continued the silent lecture in her head, chooses to show itself in tiny flashes, revealing connections amongst its diverse elements at odd moments. Coincidence! say the unobservant or the spiritually obtuse, when they notice them at all. And such they are: points where aspects of reality coincide, or overlap, from this or that perspective. But educated people, adepts and scholars, seers and magicians--the weedgie people--know them as synchs, since the common understanding of coincidence implies something accidental, and there are no accidents.

"So what do you think would happen, Dave," Andromeda continued, out loud now, practicing a well-rehearsed portion of her tarot lecture, "to an adept armed with a perfect model of the Universe?" Dave Klein was Andromeda's cat, upon whom she often practiced her orations, and to whom she tended to address them without regard to his physical presence. He was a tough audience, either way. And his steely stare would, she imagined, prepare her for the hostile response of many of her students, when, far in the future, she would deliver her notorious series of lectures on magic theory and practice in a hidden underground hall in the secret labyrinth beneath the Warburg Institute in London.

The answer, was, of course, that such a model of the Universe in the hands of the skilled adept became a laboratory for generating and observing synchs at several times their naturally occurring rate. In the ancient Temple of Thoth Hermes Trismegistus--itself a compact model of the Universe--magicians cast rods or arrows on the central altar and noted the results, which temple symbols they pointed to and in what number, teasing out the significant synchs and interpreting them. The modern tarot pack was in a sense a portable temple. Shuffling and laying out the cards invited such synchs, grand and trivial, though interpreting them was never a straightforward matter.

That was Andromeda Klein's best, simplest answer for why and how the tarot "worked," aware though she was that her views on the matter were controversial. The tarot was a collapsible temple, a laboratory, a synch factory. If anyone ever bothered to ask, she would be ready. And this answer would figure prominently in her Warburg lectures, to be published in volumes III through IV of her soon-to-be-celebrated, as-yet-unwritten work of magical history, theory, and practice, Liber K.

The main road in front of the school parking lot had no bike lane. This period immediately after school let out was perilous. It was impossible to know for certain which _after-school clusters of students would be overtly hostile, but it was wise to avoid them all, just in case. This required a zigzag pattern, crossing from one side of the street to the other as necessary. They could throw rocks at you or even thrust a stick through your spokes to knock you off your bike, and then . . . well, it had never happened to her, but she'd seen it happen to others, and she didn't want to find out what they would do next. A few kids yelled at her unintelligibly at she zipped past, or at least, she was pretty sure she was the one they were yelling at. Some unpleasant variation on her name, perhaps, or the perennial favorite "No-Ass." It was nice of them to take the time to bring it to her attention, but Andromeda Klein, as it happened, needed no reminder of that particular deficiency. She was well aware.

Andromeda Klein sliced through yet another shallow puddle and whisper-shouted "A.E.!" It is probable that she was the only student at Clearview High School, and perhaps the only person in Clearview itself, who had a favorite _nineteenth-_century occultist; and of those anywhere in the world to whom it might have occurred to make such a list, it is doubtful that many would have put A.E. first. But A. E. Waite, the gentle, sad-eyed, reluctant magician, was one of Andromeda Klein's heroes. In his own way, he was as misunderstood as the very misunderstood Mr. Crowley, who owed quite a lot to A.E.'s direction and influence, yet who had, as a theorist, magician, and writer, overshadowed and outpaced him in every way. And who had, incidentally, despised and ridiculed him. Andromeda's heart went out to people who were overshadowed and outpaced and ridiculed and despised. She even fake-believed the dubious notion that such people might be destined to have the last laugh in the end. So she said "A.E." on occasion, as a kind of casual invocation. In high-spirited moments, she and Twice Holy Daisy Wasserstrom used to giggle-shriek it, confusing the masses and emphasizing the exclusivity of their Society of Two.

Andromeda could imagine other magicians of note, long since dead, looking down from their star thrones and snorting derisively at A.E.'s finicky writing and innovations on the customary design of the "small cards," the minor arcana. (An exception was Dame Frances Yates, who appeared, like Andromeda, to have a bit of a crush on him.) Mr. Crowley's deck might have been more theoretically sound, but A.E.'s was the deck Andromeda had learned on and still used, so the image on the card of the day was his design, painted per his instructions by Pamela "Pixie" Colman Smith in 1909 e.v.

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Andromeda Klein 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
kevinyezbick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Slow read - often muddied. Wade away from the banks of the first 50 pages and the waters start to clear -- but there is no current that takes you away. Dealing with the occult - one gets the impression the author busied himself so much with reading up on the complexities of the subject that he never got the chance to unstring the tangled points of light into a cohesive plot.
mjspear on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Andromeda Klein is a witch, er, occultist, with a hearing problem, quarreling parents, a long-gone boyfriend and a dead best friend. She seeks guidance/solace in her Tarot cards but begins to get messages from her friend Daisy and "synchs" (sychronizations) begin to occur with increasing frequency. Like King Dork, where the author's asides and digressions are as interesting as the story, this novel takes its time getting where it's going. The occult references are numbing and without any grounding. The book succeeds most when it focuses on Andromeda and her struggles as an outsider trying to find a place in high school society. The book has a surprisingly happy, satisfying ending. The reader who perseveres will find a real treat.
rdingizsxy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was hesitant to read a teen novel at first, but it looked so interesting that I took it home anyway. Honestly, I couldn't put it down. Andromeda Klein is a junior in high school, with bad hair, a dead best friend, a failed romance with an older man, and an all-encompassing passion for magic and occultism. This novel is about her trying to make sense of the magic clues around her, seemingly left by her dead friend. In the meantime, she must also save the local library's collection of occult books.
dferb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I couldn't even finish this book. It has some wonderful moments, but for the most part I found it pretty boring. There are too many long passages explaining Tarot and other occult practices, and not enough time concentrating on the plot. I loved the character of Andromeda, and think there was a lot of potential here, it was just too strange for me.
Girl_Detective on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Andromeda is a self-taught occult and tarot expert. I¿ll offer fair warning here: those uncomfortable with details of the occult and magick with a ¿k¿ are not going to like this book and probably shouldn¿t read it. I was surprised by how much, and how deep, the details of Andromeda¿s occult practices and knowledge went. There are passages about demons, conjuring, body modification, ghosts, and spirit-world communication.That said, I found this a fascinating book. Portman presents Andromeda¿s studies in a fair, informative way. It¿s not devil worship, or (intentional) demon conjuring. Rather, it¿s an ancient and varied tradition that seeks knowledge and understanding of the self and the universe¿rather like religion. If you feel there¿s more than one path up the mountain, and are interested in tarot as well as a good young adult mystery novel, I think you¿ll really enjoy Andromeda Klein, the book and the character.Life is complicated enough because Andromeda has something called ¿disorganized collagen¿. It makes her body and especially her hearing out of whack. (It does, though, make for an entertaining lexicon of misheard phrases, such as bacon for pagan, vacuum for bathroom, and spinach U-turn for Finnish Lutheran.) Further, her friend and occult ¿sister¿ Daisy recently passed away, and her friend Rosalie is a bundle of bad news: steals a car that can only be driven in reverse, schedules drinking parties for her friends when parents are away, and tries to set up Andromeda with weird guys. Andromeda¿s mother is controlling and intrusive; her father is depressive. And she¿s recently broken up with someone she calls ¿St. Steve¿ and feels really bad about it.This book was often sad, but also funny and singular. Andromeda has a strong, unique and humorous character voice. It¿s easy to feel for Andromeda, and hope things turn out well for her. There¿s no neat and tidy happy ending, but there¿s a satisfyingly complex one that gives a lot of credit to its readers by leaving some things to the imagination. I was completely involved in this book till I put it down; it¿s an involving and engaging character and story.
lenoreva on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Andromeda Klein is a strange girl with a strange life. She¿s into magic and tarot and reads obsessively on the subject. Her best friend has recently died, her much older boyfriend has disappeared and her parents are as kooky as she is. But things get really complicated when she discovers the ¿friends of the library¿ plot to rid her local library of all the best books.Ok¿first what I liked about this novel: Andromeda is a well-drawn and fascinating specimen. Her interactions with people are often unintentionally hilarious or even borderline dangerous because her hearing problem (something to do with brittle bones) means she mishears about 68% of what is said. There are many scenes where you just have to shake your head in wonder at the twisted imagination necessary to think up such absurdities and such wacky characters (I particularly liked the paranoid dad and the hyper-texting mom).And of course I loved the bits about coincidence, being that it is the subject of my imaginary thesis. Apparently, ¿the universe chooses to show itself in tiny flashes, revealing connections amongst its diverse elements at odd moments. Coincidence, say the unobservant or the spiritually obtuse, when they notice them at all. But educated people [¿] know them as synchs, since the common understanding of coincidence implies something accidental, and there are no accidents.¿ (p. 2 ARC version. May vary from the final printed version.)As Andromeda tells her ¿disciple¿ (a guy who for some reason would prefer to be her boyfriend), ¿A synch would be like: [¿.] you know, the Universe is nudging you a little there. [¿] Maybe it¿s telling you something that¿s going to happen, or maybe it¿s showing something about what is happening. Or maybe it just wants you to wake up a little.¿ (p. 328, ARC)But¿.because there is so little actually going on (the ¿friends of the library¿ plot notwithstanding), the book feels overlong and the constant references to obscure occult literature become tiresome very quickly. I have to admit that my eyes glazed over at times, and I resorted to skimming through some sections.This will be a tough sell for the pink and glitter crowd, but I am sure there are some which will think it¿s utterly brilliant.
lilibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Andromeda Klein feels like an outcast. Her belief in the occult, hearing impairment, weird family and the death of her best friend have all put her on the outskirts of school society. But when the library begins to discard its very complete collection of occult literature, Andromeda begins a campaign to save the books and finds herself a disciple.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best alienated teen book in years
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