Book Review: Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Posted April 18, 2013 by Debby in Reviews / 12 Comments

Book Review: Ultraviolet by R.J. AndersonUltraviolet by R.J. Anderson
Series: Ultraviolet #1
Published by Orchard Books on June 2nd, 2011
Genres: Paranormal, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 303
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

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?

5 Stars

Ultraviolet is one of those books that I saw everywhere. All of my blogging friends and people I follow loved it, pretty much. So it was on my radar for a while, but I kept putting it off because… I was scared. Scared it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. But I will never do that again. This book was amazing and I’m pretty much demanding that everyone reads it. Time for a different kind of review.

Are you tired of lackluster writing in YA? Read Ultraviolet.

The darkness behind my eyelids was thick and stank of chemicals, as though someone had poured black oil inside my head. My tongue lay like a dead slug in my mouth, and my limbs felt too heavy to lift.

Had I been sick? Was I injured? Or…

My stomach sloshed, rebelling against the thought. I couldn’t be dying. I was only sixteen years old. Yet my skin itched with the coarseness of unfamiliar sheets, and the mattress beneath me felt rubbery. The air was stale and lukewarm. Where else could I be but in a hospital? Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson
The above passage shows (not counting the prologue) the first paragraphs of Ultraviolet. I just had to read that far and I knew I was getting into something good. Talk about showing, not telling. Talk about amazing imagery. And what an opening! That just sucks you right in. The writing quality never failed to amaze me, with the unique imagery enabled by writing from the perspective of someone with synesthesia producing some of the most amazing passages.

Are you tired of wishy-washy female main characters? Read Ultraviolet.

Yes, I was lonely. But not lonely enough to make myself vulnerable to someone who’d hurt me once and might well do it again. Ultraviolet, R.J. Anderson
I wouldn’t go all out and say that Alison is a strong female main character, but she’s absolutely not a pushover. Considering her constant doubts about her sanity and her internal battles, it’s still amazing how much resilience she shows. She’s incredibly intelligent and pensive about how her actions are perceived by others. Considering my love for her and my love for Juliette from Shatter Me, maybe I should look into some more “main characters questioning their sanity” books. It’s just such a deep and thorough characterization that I love. (And Alison is much stronger than Juliette, for the Shatter Me dislikers.)

Are you tired of instalove? Read Ultraviolet.

So there’s a love story here that basically comes at just the right pace. Alison has trouble trusting people, and that doesn’t exclude the love interest. There’s a beautiful, gradual build up, and the book is not too centered on the romance, as there’s still enough mystery surrounding the plot which keeps you turning the pages quickly.

Are you tired of predictable plot lines? Read Ultraviolet.

Ultraviolet is the kind of book where, while you’re reading, you have no idea where it could go. The mystery surrounding Alison’s psychotic break and Tori’s disappearance is a prevailing question mark. The cliché and predictable have no place in this novel, and it will continually surprise you. Plot twists happen that come out of NOWHERE, but then suddenly make the whole story make sense. If you’re looking for something compulsively readable, look no further. When you get into this story, you might as well tell your loved ones they won’t see you again till you’re done.

Are you tired of cliffhanger endings in series? Read Ultraviolet.

It’s been a while since I could comfortably say this, but this is a book in a series that you could seriously read as a stand alone. There is a clear story arc in this book that is tied up nicely at the end. R.J. Anderson doesn’t need a cliffhanger ending, because her writing quality and amazing story will have you ordering the next book anyway.

Summing Up:

I could go on for days talking about how Ultraviolet ticks all the boxes: fleshed out secondary characters, non-stereotypical friendships, a sense of thoughtfulness about people’s motivations, emotional depth, contemporary realism, etc. etc. etc. But if I haven’t convinced you by now, I don’t think that’ll help. This book is amazing, and I wish I could erase my memory and experience it for the first time all over again.

In Three Words:

Recommended To:

Anyone who said yes to any of the questions above.

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12 responses to “Book Review: Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

  1. This sounds good! Better yet, this sounds very good! No insta-love and cliffhanger are definitely two huge plus points for this book. Alison sounds like a complex character and I really like to read about them. I'll keep an eye on this book, thanks for sharing!
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  2. Yay I'm so glad you finally read this! I agree with most of your points. One of the issues I had with this book, unlike you, was the romance. I loved the guy, he was awesome, but since Ultraviolet is such an original, unique, stand-out novel, I was kind of hoping it wouldn't have the seemingly obligatory YA romance. I felt like they would have worked better as friends, with him acting as maybe a mentor or something.

    But I loved this book, and I loved your review, and I'm so glad you weren't disappointed! 😀
    My recent post Influential Magic by Deanna Chase – Book Review

  3. Yeah, the romance wasn't exactly my FAVORITE part, but I still like how it was done. What you say though, of making him a mentor or something unexpected like that.. . that would have been really interesting as well. I think it may be the curse of YA that authors feel they MUST include romance. Oh well, it was still an awesome read 🙂

    Thank you!!
    My recent post Book Review: Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

  4. I must must read this very soon! Like you, most (if not all) of my bloggy friends have read this and really enjoyed it. And all the things you talk about seem like things I love in books. I'm not, however, the biggest fan of mental asylum books, but if the rest is as good as you've made it seem, I think I'll be able to get past that teensy reservation. 😉
    My recent post Book Review: Eve (Eve #1) by Anna Carey

  5. Oooh I hope you do read it soon and that you like it 🙂 I clearly loved it, so I'll just sit here and twiddle my thumbs until you've read it. The mental asylum aspect is a big part of the book, so I hope it doesn't ruin it for you, but it's still so original and different that maybe it'll win you over anyway 🙂

  6. Judith

    SOLD. I am reading this, for sure. The synopsis alone intrigued me, though I had never heard of it before before reading your review (what?!), but your review and enthusiasm made me even MORE excited. Now let's hope I'll love it as much as you did!

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