The Elementals

Title: The Elementals
Author: Francesca Lia Block
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
Pages: 260
Genre: Magical realism
Source: mom
Rating: 5/5

Summary from Goodreads- 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.


Wow. Just wow. I’m not even really sure what to say about this book, so this will probably be somewhat of a short review, because I don’t want to give too much away while still express how good it was.

In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Block’s more recent YA novels (this is classified as adult but I still think it is more young adult in some ways), and was thus very nervous about being disappointed again. Well, let me tell you, I was not. I wasn’t hooked into the story right away, because the writing was different from Block’s other works, so I just continued reading thinking about how I would like the book if it was written by someone other than Block.

I’m certainly glad I stuck with it, because the story was beautiful, as well as the writing. It wasn’t quite the same Block fans will be used to, but her new style makes her just as interesting to read. This book definitely restored my faith in Block, and I think I would recommend this book to first-time Block readers in the same breath as the Weetzie Bat books. Full of dark twists and turns and romance and sadness and magic, The Elementals far surpassed my expectations and I was quite pleasantly surprised by its beauty.


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