Catie's Reviews > Ultraviolet

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson
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Jun 11, 11

bookshelves: paranormal, read-in-2011, sci-fi, series, ya, for-review
Recommended to Catie by: Wendy Darling
Read from June 10 to 11, 2011

3 1/2 stars

Raise your hand if you’ve ever read a passage like this in a young adult novel:

”Comet trails of indigo and violet streaked through my inner vision, and electricity sparked all over my skin. Our breaths mingled, quick and shallow, while my lips melted open and the blood pounded through me in a pleasure so intense it was only a shade away from pain.”

Now raise your hand if you’ve ever given yourself eye strain from frequent eye rolling at passages like that. Guess who has two hands raised right now and normally hates overly exaggerated and frequent descriptions of completely unrealistic physical reactions (and can apparently type without hands)? ME. So you can imagine how surprised I was to discover that this book has the ultimate justification for exactly that: synesthesia. That’s right! So when this girl describes mild lust induced electrocution, and crazy color hallucinations, she really means it!

Fortunately, the author uses a very controlled hand when adding in these descriptive passages; they aren’t overdone, and they are so much more intense because of that. We get pulled into Alison’s unstable mind and hazy recollections as she tries to unravel the events of a traumatic afternoon when she may have murdered the most popular girl in her school. I won’t say much more than that, because the best part of reading the beginning of this book is not knowing.

Although I loved the writing, this was not a perfect read for me. The main character is so wrapped up in her own mind and confused senses that she inaccurately judges most of the people around her ((view spoiler)). She also has had a lifetime of hiding and denying her condition, which goes pretty far in explaining her actions, but doesn’t make it any less frustrating to witness her shoot herself in the foot time and time again. (view spoiler) Many of the characters seem to take dramatic 180 degree turns throughout the book. Some of this can be explained by the coloring of events by Alison’s perception, but I felt like I had a bit of whiplash by the end.

I also didn’t feel any chemistry between Alison and the love interest. In the beginning, I even felt a little icky about the whole thing, because they meet and interact in a scenario where romance would be highly inappropriate (I know I am being extremely vague, but I am trying my hardest not to spoil anything).

I did see the twist coming from pretty early on, but it’s a refreshing change in the “paranormal” genre. I also don’t think that everything has been revealed quite yet. (view spoiler)

Perfect Musical Pairing

The Red Paintings – Walls

I’ll admit that I had never heard of these guys before, but I was reading some things about synesthesia on the interweb and I discovered that their lead singer is a synesthete! I love the string instruments and creative lyrics in this song, which seems to be about holding on to the good memories from a relationship, even though it is impossible to be together.
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Comments (showing 1-15)




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Wendy Darling YAY. :)


Catie I just got it, so I may even start it after Magic Slays.


Wendy Darling Nice review, Catie! I think the points you make are fair. I wasn't really sure how I felt about Alison and the mystery for the longest time as everything unfolded, though ultimately I LOVED where the story went.

I had a similar hmm, is this a good idea? reaction to the love interest at first, but I gradually warmed up to the idea...and I really liked how the connection was described later on. I do wish we'd had a little more time with the characters after the reveal, but it does make me very excited to read the follow up book!


Catie Yes, I loved the way everything was going in the end. I guess I should have said that! Ah well. (view spoiler).


Wendy Darling Hee hee, so do I!! Flann needs to hurry up and read this thing.


Catie I know, I kept thinking as I got closer to the end, that this is a Flannery book.


Flannery Dudes! Okay, I'm going to go finish it now. I had to finish a horrible book first. I'll be back in the morning to read these spoilers.


Crowinator I agree about the whole (view spoiler).


message 7: by Tatiana (new) - added it

Tatiana I am watching you all enjoying this book with envy, because when I got the galley I read a chapter or so and never came back to it. And yes, Catie, the reason was the prose. My two hands are raised too right now:)


Catie Haha! Tatiana, that kind of over-description of physical reactions to things drives me bananas. I barely made it through Delirium.

Crowinator - I suddenly remembered (view spoiler)


Crowinator Oh yeah! Good point Catie!


message 4: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo I agree with you completely about (view spoiler)
Haha, also... if we're playing the hand-raising game at the over-descriptive paragraphs, I would have all my limbs in the air.
It's one of my pet hates in YA fiction! And (view spoiler)


Catie Right? Not only that but she seems decisive and resourceful in a crisis. I was kind of mad that she (view spoiler)

Me too about the pet peeves. Once you've read a few...it really starts to grate. I guess those aspects are more likely to be in the romances.


message 2: by Chichipio (new) - added it

Chichipio Oh, God. This review and its comments are torturing me to death. Why do you have to use so.very.many spoiler tags?! I knew that it was a bad idea to quit reading spoiler tags.

BTW, I agree with everyone about (view spoiler).


Catie Are you going to read this soon?

Awwww, here you go buddy - a spoiler tag just for you.

(view spoiler)


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