Friday, June 10, 2011

ARC Review, Friday Five Style: ULTRAVIOLET

The Author: R.J. Anderson
The Publisher: Carolrhoda LAB (an Imprint of Lerner Publishing Group)
The Release Date: September 1, 2011

There is really only one question everyone keeps asking of Allison: What happened to Tori Beaugrand?  The only problem?  Allison--freshly woken after spending the last two weeks in a mental institution--can't remember a thing.  She holds no memories of being the last person to see Tori, or even that moments before the pretty, popular girl disappeared, Allison and Tori fought, quite viciously.  And, she definitely doesn't remember confessing to the other girl's murder.

Now that she's awake, Allison is transferred to a teen-friendly facility where she slowly starts piecing her fragmented memories back together again.  And, she realizes that yes, she and Tori were fighting, and yes, she had told the police and her parents that she'd killed Tori, but that just doesn't ring true to her because she can't really say for sure what happened.  One moment she and Tori were fighting, and then Tori just...disintegrated.

That's crazy talk.  Allison knows it, but how else could she explain the disappearing act that Tori pulled.  And still, the question hangs out there: What happened to Tori?  Allison can't truly believe that she hurt the other girl, but it's clear she knows something about the disappearance.  But what does she know?

My Thoughts:
Since today is Friday, I think I'll break down my take on this very intriguing novel in true Friday Five tradition.  So, I present to you, boys and girls:

Five Reasons You Should Read ULTRAVIOLET

1.  The writing.  This was a fast, easy read that kept me guessing throughout.  From the opening paragraph (which was kind of prologue but not really because it was only a paragraph long), I was hooked.  In fact, I will throw out a couple of lines from said paragraph that just stunned me.  "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."  ARGH! Talk about an opener!!! I dare you not to want to keep reading after that. No. No. I triple dog dare you.

2.  The characters.  You can't help but feel for Allison.  She is the kind of MC you want to root for.  Here, she is in the looney bin, thinking she murdered someone, even as she's coping with a life long affliction in which she can see sounds, feel words, taste lies.  Even she's not sure whether she might be a little on the nutty side, but still, you can't help but hope that they find some kind of explanation for everything that happened.  Also, there's Sanjay, a paranoid schizophrenic, who's delusions slide uncomfortably close to some of the things Allison herself has 'seen'.  And, Kirk, who proudly proclaims that he's, bipolar that is and Micheline who seems like the worst of lot, but is really just battling demons of her own.

3.  The Synesthesia.  Say what?  That's what Allison actually has, a neurological problem in which more than one sense is stimulated at the same seeing a certain number always in a certain color.  Allison's case is quite severe seeing as how she can see sounds and taste words.  In reading ULTRAVIOLET, you learn a lot about the affliction all without feeling as though you're being beaten over the head with it. 

4.  The Descriptions.  This goes in conjunction with the writing and the synesthesia, but I'm making it my own category.  I just loved the imagery in this book.  The way Faraday's chocolate coated velvet voice sounded and the acrid taste of being lied to.  Also, I loved this line: "Grief surged inside me, filling my mouth with the bitterness of unsaid words."  I mean, seriously. Poetry here, folks.

5.  The Twisty, Fringe-esque Ending.  And, that's all I'm going to say about that.  No spoilers here, folks.  But, I will say one thing about this ending.  There is a reason the blurb calls this a "genre-bending paranormal YA".  I'm just saying.


  1. Wow. This sounds like a really good book -- I've always been fascinated with synesthesia. Thanks for telling us about it! :)

  2. O.o

    what a review (!)

    i will have to check this oue.

    another absolute fave book of mine has a character with synaesthesia (RAW BLUE ~ an Aussie YA) it's awesome :)

  3. This sounds really good! I'll have to put it on my list. I really like the concept of synesthesia, though I don't think I've heard of it with taste before, which should be interesting.

    Thanks for the review!

  4. Ooh, I'll have to check this out––sounds good! And I'm also fascinated with synesthesia. Another really good book on the subject is A Mango-Shaped Space ... don't remember the author, but it's the book that taught me synesthesia existed. I'd never heard of it before!


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