review: ultraviolet by r.j. anderson

Author: R.J. Anderson
Publication Date: 09/01/2011
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Pages: 416
Source: e-ARC

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?

Although I know it's not very usual, I'd like to start off my review with a bit of a personal confession. For as long as I can remember I've had a strange relationship with music. I'd like to say that I listen to music, but listening would be the wrong verb. I experience music. I never knew there could be a name for it until after I read this book - I always thought synesthesia had to do with colors and numbers/letters, but not sound. While I was looking into it, and saw that someone referred to it as music having a three-dimensional equality and feeling I almost had tears in my eyes: that just made so much sense. So, thank you, R.J. Anderson. Not only did you write a breathtaking book, I think it may have a name.

Alison Jeffries is almost just like any other sixteen year-old girl. She attends high school, she has friends, an occasionally annoying little brother and... she experiences her senses in a way that is difficult to put into words. Sounds are vivid and colorful, numbers and letters have associated emotions, and words can sound off. The almost isn't necessarily because she experiences these things, it's because one morning Alison woke up in the psychiatric ward of a hospital without any idea how she got there. Until it all starts coming back.

Ultraviolet is a book that I wish I had read long, long ago. It's a book that was riveting from the very first paragraph and held my captivation until the last sentence. And it's very much a book that I think people should read. I have to say that I loved Alison as a character in part because some of me related to her, but mainly because she was just a breath of fresh air. In order for this sort of storyline to be pulled off so much about it has to go right to evoke the feeling of believability for what she was experiencing. And it did, and it worked so incredibly well. Because the majority of the story took place with a young adult's psychiatric home the feeling of the story was pressing and urgent and served as the perfect backdrop. The cast of secondary characters were invigorating and vibrant from the unsure-of-how-to-feel-about-him Dr.Minta to  all of her fellow residents and even her mother.

And, seriously, just when you think you know what's going on - you have no idea. Not everyone could pull a twist like this off and integrate it so well into the story, but she did and I believed every part of it. I've seen that some people were iffy on the ending, but I'm not at all one of them. I loved every nook and cranny of this story and I'm hard-pressed on my book buying ban not to run out and order a copy for myself right now.

If you like a book that feels like a contemporary with a sense of urgency and something slightly more then this could be a book for you. If you like a mystery or a fast-paced book of amazingness, this book is also for you. If you're like me and you can see/feel music and need a name for it, this book is most definitely for you.

This ARC was received from Lerner Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

5 comments on "review: ultraviolet by r.j. anderson"

We Heart YA wrote: Wed Sep 07, 11:38:00 PM

Aww. Your personal confession is very cool. :)

(And books that do that for us -- that make us feel like finally, FINALLY, someone gets it! gets US -- those are the most special.)

We're not in love with the facial expression on the cover, but your review overcomes that. You make the book sound totally intriguing and ... vibrant. We definitely want to check it out. Thanks!

Christy @ TheReaderBee wrote: Thu Sep 08, 08:24:00 AM

This book was SOOOO good! I'm hoping the author decides to do a sequel, I would totally love to read more. (She said there may be one!) Glad you enjoyed it as well!

Brooke T wrote: Thu Sep 08, 10:15:00 AM

This sounds like a very different and intriguing book. I also love how much you love music!

Jenny wrote: Thu Sep 08, 07:39:00 PM

I'm so excited to get to this one. I'm glad you liked it, it makes me feel better.

Natalie wrote: Fri Sep 09, 12:00:00 AM

Wow. This book sounds absolutely stunning, and this is the first time that I've heard about it. I'm glad that you were able to have such a personal connection with the book. That's what makes reading so worthwhile!

I love your blog! Your reviews are so well-written. I just became a new follower!

Post a Comment


I am presently on hiatus into the foreseeable future. You can find me on twitter, tumblr, or my writing website,

See you there!

fellow book lovers!

grab my button!

subscribe via e-mail!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Shop Indie Bookstores