Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.
This is not her story.
Unless you count the part where I killed her.
Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison's condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can't explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori -- the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that's impossible. Right? (summary from author's website)
R.J. Anderson's Ultraviolet is a compelling read that had me hooked from page one. I almost wish it had never ended!
I finished reading this book a week ago and it is still stuck on my mind. I've been thinking constantly about this review, about how exactly I was going to put words to my many thoughts about it (which, incidentally, doesn't help when one has to write an essay before allowing herself to write this review!) I find that I just want to gush. So let me get this out of my system -
I loved Ultraviolet. LOVED it! I want more. I NEED more! Read it NOW!
Now that that's been said.
Ultraviolet is a little paranormal, a little sci fi, a little romance...and a whole lotta sitting on the edge of your seat! The book opens with Alison waking up in hospital with no memory of the last couple of weeks. Turns out, she's confessed to killing the most popular girl in school and seems to have suffered some kind of psychotic break...yet as the cover tells us, 'everything you believe is wrong'. Never have more truer words been written. As Alison desperately tries to figure out the truth of her memories and prove she doesn't belong in a mental institute, more questions arise then answers. Especially about the beautiful Sebastian Faraday (who's name I will love forever), a young neuropsychologist whose research helps Alison begin to come to terms with everything she is - that is, a Synesthete. Alison's senses are connected; she sees sounds, feels colours as if they have distinct personalities, can taste lies - so much! Having hidden these abilities all her life for fear people would think she is crazy, Alison doesn't know how to proceed with Faraday's revelations. Especially since they've been stronger than ever since her fight with Tori - could they have disintegrated her? And so begins a journey Alison could never have expected...nor readers, for that matter!
I really liked Alison, even when I was sometimes shaking my head at her. She's a teenager in a wild situation, it's to be expected that sometimes I'd question her choices! I felt very invested in her, so I spiralled through many of the emotions she did and when that happens, I know it's a winner. I also liked Faraday, he was very sweet though he kept me guessing. His and Alison's relationship was nice and I felt it - again, a tad invested! Anderson also created some memorable characters from the mental institute, like Kirk, Sanjay and Micheline. They weren't quite what I was expecting and I enjoyed the surprising moments - though I admit to being kind of disappointed that they were so quickly breezed over at the end. I feel like they were sort of cheated.
What I loved most about Ultraviolet is Anderson's writing. Wow, does she have a way with words! I devoured them. Every single word of this book creates a unique world and characters that I simply got lost in. My imagination wasn't the only thing to run wild - all of my senses were enticed throughout this book! Anderson's descriptions of Alison's synesthetic experiences are amazing. Seriously, they left me in awe. I found myself stopping sometimes to re-read a paragraph and simply savour it. These descriptions are why at night I catch myself staring at the stars, and why I'll forever love the name Sebastian Faraday. Doesn't it just roll off your tongue perfectly already? Well, wait until you learn it from Alison's pov.
Ultraviolet flows very nicely. The suspense builds slowly and nothing is revealed until you're desperate for it. I found myself both wanting to take it slow, just enjoy the ride, and flip the pages as quickly as possible so I could find out what was going to happen! Here and there I thought maybe I was getting some hints, but I still wondered. I couldn't help but question which way Anderson would take it - and certainly she had options. Having not heard much about this one before I read it, I was truly blind going in. Honestly, I'm so glad for that. Everything about this book was unexpected, and I loved every moment of it. But that's all I am going to say, because if there's one book you don't want spoiled, it's Ultraviolet. Trust me.
Overall, Anderson's Ultraviolet is an original and fantastic read! It's like nothing I've read before - or probably ever will again. I urge you to give it a go. You might be surprised! I literally ended this book screaming for more! Really. Thanks to the marvel that is Twitter, I'm happy to say that I was able to ask R.J. Anderson about the possibility of more and I was so ecstatic when she replied that the sequel, Quicksilver, will be out 2012/13. Yes, it's a wait, but I'll be snapping it up as soon as I'm able!
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Published Date: 1 September 2011
Format: e-Galley received from NetGalley
Many thanks to Lerner Publishing Group and NetGalley.