cover image The Elementals

The Elementals

Francesca Lia Block. St. Martin’s, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-00549-6

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. Agent: Laurie Liss, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Oct.)