Krista Reviews: Francesca Lia Block's - "The Elementals"
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.
The writing style that is used to pull us into the story is equivalent to the melancholy feeling of Ariel’s moods. It was like living in her head.
Ariel is experiencing a lot of very strong emotions all at once. This causes the depression and sense of longing that the voice of the story is built on. She has just lost a friend, her mother is battling cancer and she has just moved away to college, which turns out not to be the experience she thought it would be.
On one of her nightly searches she is drawn to a house that comes to haunt her. She believes that the interest the 3 roommates show in her is comforting and the only place she feels welcome.
The story is a glimpse into the mind of a dream state, and not knowing what is exactly real or a drugged filled haze of insecurity. The emotions are real, the experiences are real but we see them through the mind of a girl who is not in control.
Driven by desire, both sexual and emotional, The Elementals has a very melancholy feel to it, sprinkled with flashbacks from a life she once had to the cult-like addiction of her new life. Ariel has to transform in many different ways when searching not only for her lost friend, but from the self she lost.
This book does contain some adult content. Sex, drugs alcohol.