From a star YA author Francesca Lia Block—an adult novel about a student, haunted by the disappearance of a friend, who must face the truth
The Elementals is on one level an intriguing coming-of-age novel about a young woman, Ariel Silverman, facing the challenges of her first years away at college in Berkeley, California, while her mother battles cancer at home in Los Angeles. But the book takes on deeper, stranger meanings when we realize that Ariel is haunted by the disappearance of her best friend, Jeni, who vanished without a trace a few years before, closing Ariel's heart and changing her forever. Ariel wonders if she will ever be fully alive, until she meets three mysterious, beautiful and seductive young people living in a strange old house in the Berkeley hills. Through them Ariel will unravel the mystery of her best friend's disappearance and face a chilling choice.
Block (Pink Smog) skillfully weaves an occult thread throughout her thrilling new bildungsroman. Ariel, a freshman at UC Berkeley, has moved to the California college in order to uncover the fate of her best friend, Jeni, who disappeared in the area a year ago during a college scouting trip. In the course of her inquiry, the lonely Ariel meets John, Tania, and Perry, charismatic bohemian grad students who rename her Sylph and seduce her into their circle with a heady mixture of sexuality, drugs, mysterious elixirs, and portentous talk of magic. Ariel soon falls for John, and their consuming love eclipses Ariel's quest for the truth behind Jeni's disappearance. But when the ominous rhetoric of her new friends begins to shed light on Jeni's tragic fate, Ariel realizes she must make a decision that could cost her everything, including her life. Block's fresh take on the coming-of-age story is a compelling and quick read, and her dark renderings of familiar college types will keep readers engaged and guessing as the pages fly by.