This genre-crossing novel is Block’s most recent foray into adult-aimed literature, and it is just as effervescent as one of her young adult works. A modern fairy tale in the style of the Brothers Grimm, the story expertly merges fantasy and reality. The slow beginning will turn some away, and Block’s prose is stylistically unique, yet the payoff of the book will have readers thinking about it long after the last page has been turned — and marveling at Block’s way with words.
Several years ago, Ariel Silverman’s dearest friend, Jeni, was visiting Berkeley when she was seemingly snatched from thin air. The grief of losing Jeni has torn Ariel apart. Now, with her mother’s diagnosis of cancer, Ariel feels another spiraling loss of control coming on. She decides to attend Berkeley to find Jeni when others could not, never suspecting what a twisted, magical experience her quest will become. (ST. MARTIN’S, Oct., 320 pp., $24.99)