Thursday, July 7, 2011
Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Source: Publisher provided egalley from NetGalley
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?
Ultraviolet was in no way what I expected it to be. It starts off with you thinking it's going in one direction, and, then maybe halfway through, just completely blindsides you. And I loved it. It's hard to find books that do that, and I treasure them.
The book hits the ground running. Alison wakes up in the psychiatric wing of a hospital to find out she has confessed to murdering Tori, a girl from her school. Alison recalls having fought with Tori and distinctly remembers Tori disintegrating right in front of her. While Alison is positive that was what she saw, those around her think she's crazy, and Alison doesn't really doubt them. Since a very young age, Alison has been able to see sounds, see letters and numbers as colored and distinguish their personalities, and can even taste lies.
Alison can't relate to those around her very well, until enchanting Dr. Faraday comes into the picture. He explains that she has synesthesia, a condition in which the stimulation of one sense automatically leads to the stimulation of another (such as hearing stimulating sight), and believes everything she says. Alison finds herself drawn to him, and trusts him more than she should. What she doesn't expect is what the two of them uncover and experience together.
Oh, so many good things to say! The first thing that struck me when I started this book was how much I loved the descriptions. Now, many good writers today come up with some breathtaking descriptions, but with Alison being a synesthete, she sees thing differently from the rest of us. I adored reading phrases that told how a piece of smooth, sanded wood tasted like caramel. for example. It's so different to read, yet at times I could understand how something could taste or look as Alison perceives it.
Of course, the cover is quite beautiful. While I still don't really see what it pertains to, (maybe I'm just being slow) the mood of it fits the book perfectly. And, of course, the purple is exactly what most people think of when they hear "ultraviolet".
R.J. Anderson's writing is solid, with the pacing of the book just right. She gives you just the right amount of fodder each chapter to keep you reading. The novel is really high concept without making you think it is, and works. I found it to be a beautiful story of a girl finding her strength in a situation where many would waver.
I can see how some people would be turned off by the book once they reach the big turning point, but honestly it didn't bother me. I can't divulge much else, because knowing what is going to happen would definitely ruin the entire book. Part of the appeal is the fact that one is just chugging along, enjoying a good book, and it just takes a completely new, unexpected direction. I urge anyone to at least give Ultraviolet a chance, and if you stick with it, it will reward you in more ways than one.
Risk a paper cut? In my opinion, Ultraviolet is exactly what a book should be. Exciting, unexpected, enchanting, memorable, and breathtaking at times. If you trust me, go get your Band-Aids!
To buy: Amazon
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