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Review: Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

5 Stars: An Incredible Read
Series: Ultraviolet #1
Pages: 303
Publication: September 1, 2011 by Carolrhoda Lab

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?

I’ll confess that I had a hard time deciding what to say in my review. The book left me that much awe. Ultraviolet is a complex read that really makes you think. Every time I began to grow comfortable, something else comes along. At first, I was confused about whether or not Alison’s condition was paranormal or if she really did belong in the psychological institution. While I no longer doubt her sanity, I do wonder how her abilities will continue to develop in the future.

The story begins with Alison having been institutionalized in a mental facility for teens having confessed to the murder of her classmate Tori; the problem is that not only is Tori’s body nowhere to be found, Alison’s condition is difficult to diagnose. While she appears sane, she associates names, letters, and numbers with colors, taste, and personality. I found it fascinating how each chapter number is associated with something. It brings us one step closer to understanding how Alison’s mind works, along with the detailed imagery that Anderson works into the story.

While the story begins as somewhat of a slow read with Anderson developing Alison’s environment in the mental facility, there is no lack of intrigue. The cast of characters in the psychiatric ward is diverse and entertaining, making Alison seem tame in comparison. You will wonder along with Alison how she ended up there and why she isn’t allowed to go home, though it’s so apparent to Alison that she’s sane. Every time you begin to suspect that you understand the story, Anderson brings in a new twist—such as Faraday and then the scene with Kirk in the library. You begin to question everything you thought you knew all over again. Then come the clues, and you work with Alison to understand what’s going on. That’s the fun part.

I really loved Faraday as a character. Whereas everyone else acts as though he or she knows what is best for Alison, Faraday tries to understand her as a person. He doesn’t treat her as mental; he listens to her, and he believes in her. Alison really needed a supportive character in her life, and Faraday provides this constancy for her.

There’s an amazing twist at the end of the story. I loved learning the truth about Tori’s disappearance and more about Alison’s condition. The ending was just breathtaking and oh so bittersweet. While I love—and hope for—happy endings, real life isn’t always so satisfying. Sometimes, we need a little tragedy, and Ultraviolet has a powerful ending that will stay with you long after you put down your book or e-reader.

Ultraviolet is a literal out-of-this-world adventure filled with mystery and intrigue as Alison struggles to uncover the truth behind Tori’s disappearance and prove her sanity. With each new discovery, readers will wonder who can be trusted and even question Alison’s sanity in the process. Ultimately, it is a story of self-discovery and learning to trust both in others and in oneself. It has been the best out-of-this-world read that I’ve had this year.

Related Posts
Hikari's Review of Ultraviolet


View my favorite quotations from Ultraviolet.
An ARC was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
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