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There’s something about having new books that makes my heart sing. It’s not a burst-out-in-song-and-dance sort of thing either. It’s a calm, happy, peaceful song that twists up and down and does lazy loops. It’s a song that makes me think of classical music that’s just the right tone and pitch and rhythm. At least for me. Where did this somewhat odd description come from? I literally just finished reading Ultraviolet by R. J. Anderson, which is set to be released on September 1st, 2011. This is a book that seriously touched me and I’m glad to be able to share this review with all of you.

UltravioletOnce 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?

General Comments

First of all, I thought this book was amazing. It reminds me of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer in that it doesn’t really seem like a book that I’d read but by the end I found that I could appreciate it greatly. It also had a mystery that sort of eats away at the reader, though in Ultraviolet I wasn’t as curious about the mystery as I was about Alison and her experiences in this asylum. I was pleasantly surprised that the author had used very real conditions to add to the story and I really loved how Alison associated everything with colours or personalities, it was a beautiful and welcome change. My only complaint is that as we got closer and closer to the end the genre switch seemed like it was getting harder and harder to find believable. I could engross myself in the scene but at the same time I couldn’t help raising my eyebrows and questioning the author’s motives. By the resolution, I find myself wondering if it was all in Alison’s head or if it had all been true, which was exactly the intention of the author so in the end I must concede it was rather well-done.

Critical Review

Author’s Voice/ POV:

I have a particular love for books written in the first person POV. I find that it makes it much easier for me to get a feel for the characters as actual people. I can get closer to them, familiar with them, rather than forced to keep some distance like I do when I’m reading something written in the third person. I believe that R. J. Anderson’s method of writing greatly aided me in getting a proper idea of Alison as a person and because she’s having so many powerful, life-changing experiences I think that this was the best method to use to have the readers experience exactly what Alison experiences.


Alison Jeffries is our confused and introverted protagonist. She is a girl who does not understand her condition and cannot quite believe that she’s murdered anyone. She’s learned to hide the truth about herself in order to survive and when we meet her we see all of this. Over the course of the book we watch her change. We read as she tries to take matters into her own hands to prove she doesn’t need her med and we continue reading right up to the point where she comes to accept some very difficult truths about herself and the people around her. I found her an extremely pleasing character.

Sebastian Faraday was so interesting! I’m tempted to say he was the most interesting character but honestly, I believe he and Alison draw in that aspect. He comes into Alison’s life and saves her in his own way. He is the first person to know what was going on inside her head and he helps her by explaining her condition to her so that for the first time Alison feels as normal as she’ll ever get. Then he betrays us but we don’t feel hurt because we know great good came out of what he did. Once I was reunited with him later in the book, I was so happy but this was quickly followed by slight disbelief as the situation went straight into weirdsville. By the end of the book, my heart hurts for Sebastian and the situation he’s found himself in and I can’t help but think it’s not quite the perfect happy ending but if it was I probably wouldn’t respect it. I must mention how he was used in the end to add dimension to the other characters, I thought this was well done and deserves commending.

Once upon a time there was a girl that was special. Tori Beaugrand is that girl. For most of the novel, the general public believes that Tori is either dead or missing and that Alison is somehow responsible. The author paints a picture of a most interesting girl, a girl we should love to hate and yet  I never really could. By the end of the book I was quiet happy with that decision.

Storyline/ Plot:

I thought the author had an extremely interesting story going. These sort of books, so based in reality with such real issues aren’t usually my cup of tea. I wasn’t so sure I would like reading about Alison’s trials in a mental institution but I did. My only problem was the genre bend. Yes, it was unexpected, extremely unexpected, but I wasn’t sure if I thought the author had gone too far or not. I was just a little confused.

Cover & Blurb:

Honestly, the cover did nothing for me at all. It was boring and just a tad confusing. The blurb, however, was incredible. It drew me in instantly. I had several questions from reading the blurb alone and I just wanted them answered! And the book delivered.

Rating Conclusion

In the end, Ultraviolet has earned 4 stars out of a possible 5. I felt this was the best thing to do because I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about the extreme shift in genre but I believe I’ve questioned it just a tad too much for my liking.

July’s nearly over people and it’s going to take NetGalley July with it. I’ve had so much fun with it so far. It’s opened my eyes to tons of great new books and helped deepen my appreciation for the writing process. I’ll be finally getting a kindle of my very own in maybe two week (keep fingers crossed) and I’m uber excited. I don’t always have my laptop and it means I get backed up with books but once I have a kindle, I’ll be able to take my books with me and I won’t have to rush anything or try to find space at 12 in the morning to fit something in. I hope you’ve all been enjoying these ARC reviews so far. Let me know. Feedback is appreciated.

Have a great weekend.

K, the Popinjay.

Disclaimer: This story was received from the publisher, Lerner Publishing Group/ Carolrhoda Labs, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.