Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Review: Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Title: Ultraviolet
Author: R.J. Anderson
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Release Date: 09/01/2011
ISBN: 0761374086

Before I go on with this review, I just want people to understand that this book was published in the UK & is set in Canada. My reasons for mentioning this are semi-spoilerish, so if you want to read a spoiler-free review then you might want to stop at this paragraph. I'll summarize my review here: I enjoyed this book & would recommend it, but I really felt like the last 1/4th of the book deserved to be stretched out more- it was too good to be as short as it was. Otherwise this was a very good sci-fi/fantasy read.

"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 wakes up in a mental institution. As she pieces her memory back together, she realizes she’s confessed to murdering Tori Beaugrand, the most perfect girl at school. But the case is a mystery. Tori's body has not been found, and Alison can't explain what happened. One minute she was fighting with Tori. The next moment Tori disintegrated—into nothing.

But that's impossible. No one is capable of making someone vanish. Right? Alison must be losing her mind—like her mother always feared she would.

For years Alison has tried to keep her weird sensory abilities a secret. No one ever understood—until a mysterious visiting scientist takes an interest in Alison's case. Suddenly, Alison discovers that the world is wrong about her—and that she’s capable of far more than anyone else would believe.

I'll talk about the good before I start going into the other aspects of the book. First off, I loved that this wasn't your typical YA read. There are a few basic tropes in this book but when you write a story of any sort (YA or otherwise), you're going to have to utilize some of them. Anderson does an excellent job of giving us something new as far as the "teen girl with (maybe) superpowers" genre goes. It was wonderful to see something new in this genre. Maybe it was this uniqueness that made me get so attached to Alison, as I found myself eagerly following along with everything that happened to her. I will admit though, that I found the character of Tori (Alison's rival) far more interesting for what little screen time & mentions she received.

The book does have its imperfections though. I found that even though I liked the slow buildup, there's a lot of time spent on Alison's time in the group home & very little time spent on the actual reveal in the last part of the book. I can't go into this without spoiling it, but I felt that it was incredibly underserved. It's developed enough to where you can read it without being horribly disappointed, but the reveal was so interesting that I really wish that the author had spent a little less time with Alison's time at the asylum & interactions with Faraday (a & more time on this aspect of the book. It was just too cool for how little "screen time" it gets.

This also brings me to the reason why I mentioned that this whole thing takes place in Canada & was published in the UK. This is somewhat spoilerish so if you don't want to read this then just skip over this paragraph. The reason I mention this is because there's a little bit of romance between a 16 year old & a 24 year old, which really sort of bothered me. I know that the age of consent in Canada & the UK is lower than here in the US (although some states do have AOC at 16), but this just sort of creeped me out a little & I know it'll do the same for other readers. My reason for mentioning this isn't to keep people from reading the book but to mention that this age gap is brought up by the older of the two characters & there's no sex. I debated about whether or not to include this in my review at all, but I know that others have mentioned it so I felt like it was worth mentioning.

Overall this really was a good read & if the author puts out another book in this series (preferably surrounding the character of Tori) I'll definitely read it. This author has a great style that I would really love to see more of. Once again Carolrhoda Labs has put out a YA title that refuses to play by the same rules as the other publishers in the field & I love them for it.

4/5 stars

(ARC provided by Netgalley)


  1. I'm going back and forth on whether I want to read this. The blurb captivates me, but I'm worried a good premise is all it actually has!

  2. It's not that bad. I'd give it a whirl if you see it in your local library.