Top Social

Review - The Elementals

Tuesday, October 16, 2012
The Elementals
by Francesca Lia Block

4 stars: Beautiful & haunting
Publication: October 16, 2012
Pages: 272
Author: Website | BlogFacebook | Twitter
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Buy it: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository

Ariel Silverman is a normal girl, making plans for college, when her mother reveals she has breast cancer. On top of this, Ariel is still recovering from the los of her best friend, Jeni, who vanished without a trace on a school trip to Berkeley. This event has closed Ariel's heart and changed her forever.

As she tries to adjust to college life in a new city, Ariel cannot let the mystery of Jeni's disappearance rest and finally takes the now-dormant investigation upon herself.

Ariel's journey will take her into a world of astonishing beauty, sexual discovery, and dange.r In an old house in the Berkeley hills she will meet three enigmatic and seductive strangers who make her feel fully alive for the first time since she lost Jeni.

But ther is more to these three than meets the eye, and through them Ariel will face a chilling choice and unravel just what happened to her missing friend.

Happy book birthday to The Elementals!

The Elementals is a book that creeps on you and draws you in page by haunting page. Ariel was sixteen when her best friend disappeared. At seventeen closing in on eighteen now, Ariel is going to the college Jeni was visiting when she disappeared. Here, Ariel hopes to find some closure through investigating the mystery of her friend's disappearance. In searching for sympathy, help, something, however, Ariel finds hostility. The streets are filled with crazy people, her roommate is a bitch, and there are a bunch of weirdos living in her dorm. No one proves especially welcoming until she meets three otherwordly grad students who welcome her into their lives. Among them, one in particular catches her heart: John Graves.

The heart of the story spans three parts: freshman year, sophomore year, and junior year. Jeni disappeared a year ago, and while the case is still open, the officer in charge of the case has given up hope for Jeni. And while Ariel persists in searching for clues to Jeni's disappearance, there are times when she forgets her best friend and loses herself in the world she's discovering with John Graves and his companions. While she is with them, the inner artist escapes Ariel, and in the moments where her emotions overtake her senses, she catches glimpses of other worlds and finds magic in her life. There is also the case of her mother's cancer and growing weakness. She is discovering herself as a woman and a daughter, and she is learning that she can't devote all her time and energy to the missing (or dead) when the present (and living) need her as well.

This is a coming-of-age novel for the New Adult, filled with haunting prose told in a mature voice. There are some characters introduced who rarely appear again. Some of them play important roles in moving the plot; others wouldn't be worth your time if you bump into them. In another novel, I would find this frustrating. Living on a college campus myself, however, I know that it is possible to live in the dorms and only run into most people now and then, even if you live on the same floor, in the same hallway. With Ariel in a state where she doesn't know how to pick up the pieces left after Jeni's disappearance, this lent all the more to the reality of the story. She's away from home for the first time for such an extended period of time, her best friend was supposed to be there with her but isn't, and now she's running into all these new characters. She doesn't know what to do and in the process of figuring her life out she's making a lot of mistakes, but it's okay because this is all a part of life, just like the people coming and going and reappearing in your life.

Ariel doesn't know it, but she has a good support system of people ready to hear her out if she'll only come to her. Of course, in the process of coming into her own, Ariel isn't able to readily recognize these people, especially when they say something that makes her feel as though they can't understand what she's going through with Jeni and all the other crap in her life. Many of the smaller conflicts between her and other characters aren't resolved with the end of the novel. Again, it's okay with this book because it shows us that not everything can be resolved perfectly. Some mysteries are solved, but the resolutions are imperfect. While we can't fully comprehend everyone's motives, we can see that Ariel has found the closure that she needed, which is what really matters.

Mysterious and intriguing, Ariel's story will captivate readers with her fragility, hesitancy to open her heart, and inner strength.

Mature warning: there are very detailed sexual references in this novel.

A copy was provided by the publisher for review purposes

4 comments on "Review - The Elementals"
  1. How can I not have heard of this book??? It sounds great and I definitela add it to my list and hope to get a copy soon!

    1. It's a wonderful book. I hope that you enjoy!!

  2. Great review! I Just started to see this book around lately and it sounds like a really good contemporary. I love when it deals with strong emotional topics like this.


Thanks for commenting. We love hearing from readers! To receive notifications of replies to your comments, just click “Notify me” in the bottom right corner of the comment box to subscribe to the thread! :)