Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ultraviolet (Ultraviolet, #1)” as Want to Read:
Ultraviolet (Ultraviolet, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Ultraviolet #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  9,281 ratings  ·  1,534 reviews
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 hersel
Paperback, 415 pages
Published June 2nd 2011 by Orchard
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ultraviolet, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Elia Maxwell if you consider alternate dimensions, wormholes and rifts and human-like aliens magic or supernatural then ..yes.
if you consider alternate dimensions, wormholes and rifts and human-like aliens magic or supernatural then ..yes.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,281 ratings  ·  1,534 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Ultraviolet (Ultraviolet, #1)
Wendy Darling
Oh! This is so cool.That was my reaction late last night when I finished this book and the feeling hasn't worn off. Ultraviolet is one of those sneaky books that makes you think you're reading one thing and then all the sudden, whoosh, you're off on a different adventure. I think many of us who spend a lot of time in the paranormal genre have come to expect a certain story structure from these types of books, but this one has no problem bending all the rules and leaping out to explore other dime ...more
Jun 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: why-yes-i-ya
tommy has been telling me about A Mango-Shaped Space for a long time now, and after reading this, i both want to read that book and also to have synesthesia myself, please. it's like having a superpower that doesn't require you, morally, to go out and save the world. it is more like being on a mild acid trip all the time, without any of the accompanying backaches and food-aversion.

of course, in this book, her synesthesia is compounded with other special gifts which both complicate her life and a
Mar 25, 2011 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I've written a lot of stories, but ULTRAVIOLET is one of the very closest to my heart. It was also one of the hardest and most demanding things I've ever written, but thanks to the help of numerous smart critique partners, a tirelessly supportive agent and two wonderful editors, I can look at it now and say, "Yes. There it is. THAT is what I meant." I love this book very much, and I hope you will too. ...more
Emily May
3 1/2 stars

I know a whole bunch of my GR friends have heard me say this before but I'm going to say it again for the benefit of any newcomers who stumble across this review: because rating a book can be a tricky process and three stars can mean anything from "I was totally unmoved by it" to "it was pretty good for the most part", I tend to take the GR system literally. By this I mean that three stars is "I liked it" and is a mostly positive rating. Therefore, Ultraviolet hovers somewhere halfway
Mar 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Wha-wha-wha-whaaaa?
Recommended to Flannery by: Wendy Darling
Ultraviolet is a genre-bender, there’s no doubt about it, and I don’t think I’ve been this surprised about the direction a book took in quite some time. What I find particularly intriguing is the fact that all of us who’ve read it seem equally stumped as to how to write a review of a book whilst still leaving out half of the plot so as to preserve the experience for other readers--talk about a mighty task. When I originally wrote a placeholder for this review, it basically just said that I wish ...more
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
I'm always a little hesitant to review the books I loved. It seems like nothing I write can ever be good enough. That's exactly the case this time. I'll try to keep it short and very clear: this book blew me away!
It took only about 30 pages for me to fall in love with Ultraviolet. If I remember correctly, I called Anderson's writing unpretentious and rich with emotion when I just started reading, and I stand by my words now that I've finished. What amazed me the most about it was the way she oc
This book and I are eloping. It's settled and there's nothing you can do to stop it. No, seriously. We've planned the eloping and everything. Go find another book to elope with. Ultraviolet is mine. Forever and ever. But not in a creepy way, or anything like that... *awkward laugh*

It's been three days still I finished Ultraviolet, and I still cannot think coherently. Honestly, it's a miracle I can form full sentences at this point. If my incoherency, eloping, or rating weren't a clear indication
Jun 11, 2011 rated it really liked it

In the interest of staying fair to R.J.Anderson I will make it clear that Ultraviolet is a five star book.

Or, at least the first 230ish pages are from a five star book and the remaining few chapters belong in WTF Capital City. But more on that later.

Initially, be prepared to be sucked in to the weaving vortex that is Ultraviolet. From the get go we are presented with a puzzle the likes of which I have not experienced in a long time.

There's nothing worse than when a mystery isn't, you know, mys
Merphy Napier
Sep 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: three-stars
I have no idea how to review this book.

The first two thirds were around 4 stars, the last third was closer to a 2. So here I land at 3.

The driving mystery of this book and the slow unraveling was so much fun to read. Then you have the really unique *thing* that was introduced (view spoiler) was really interesting as well.

However, while the twist was something that I could see people either loving or hating, I was really okay with it. If it had been executed well.
Steph Sinclair

Ultraviolet was such a pleasant surprise! I've been thinking about this review for a few days because it's hard to say something about it without giving too much away. It's one of those books that you just have to go in knowing absolutely nothing. So, I will try my best to keep this short and sweet. :)

Ultraviolet is about a girl named Alison who ends up in a mental institute after she has a psychotic break, during which she confesses to murdering a fellow classmate. What makes this book so cool
May 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to AH by: Wendy Darling

Ultraviolet is so incredibly original. It was an absolute pleasure to read. The writing is well crafted, elegant, colorful, and beautifully descriptive. It has a captivating quality and I was hooked right from the start.

Ultraviolet is the story of a very special teenage girl. Alison finds herself in a psychiatric hospital ward. She believes that she caused a classmate to disintegrate. When the classmate goes missing, Alison confesses to the murder even though no body has been found.

Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jim by: Wendy Darling
***I have tried to avoid spoilers. If you have read the book, you know how difficult that can be in this case. If you haven’t, you might be well advised to just check it out first, and come back to the reviews later... I REALLY liked it, and will try to walk the tightrope of discussing it without giving it away..

There is a key moment very early in this book - a flashback to Alison at age 6. She is watching her mom washing dishes, and seeing a trail of gold stars when the cutlery clinks. T
I love me an unreliable narrator, particularly when you can’t identify what kind of unreliable he or she is. Is he sincere in his beliefs but crazy? Is she a pathological liar? Is he a con man intentionally deceiving his audience? Is she just out of the loop, a narrator who thinks she knows what’s going on but is actually being tricked by others? I stayed up until almost midnight to finish this in a marathon reading session, and I found it an incredibly addictive genre-bender.

Alison is set up as
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: put-me-to-sleep
The good thing: Misleading blurb alert!! Ultraviolet is much more than a murder mystery.

The bad thing: It still bored me to death -_-

Before I justify my (unpopular) opinion, I have a confession to make. I was never really interested in Ultraviolet. Reading this book was an act of desperation. I badly needed a break from Picoult's super-sentimental preachings in The Storyteller and this was the only book on my Ipad that wasn't emotionally draining. So I guess this was doomed from the start.

Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have fallen a little in love with this book, and honestly, I could not be more surprised.

I picked up and put down Ultraviolet countless times (mostly because I have a Bowerbird-esque tendency to be drawn to shiny, coloured things), convinced that I had no intention of looking beyond the metallic cover and actually reading it. But after coming across positive review after positive review, on a whim (*cough* book buying frenzy *cough*) I bought it.

Much has been made of the need to approach Ult
Jun 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Catie by: Wendy Darling
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 raise
Sixteen, almost seventeen, year old Alison wakes up in a psych ward after a mental breakdown during which she claimed over and over again she killed one of the most popular girls in her high school. From page one, Alison attempts to convince herself that her break with reality was a temporary thing, even though she grew up believing she might be insane. Alison has always experienced synthesia although she knows nothing about it beyond her personal experiences. Her mother thinks she's schizophren ...more
May 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Ultraviolet reminded me of one of my all time favourite films Shutter Island. After finishing the book I sat there thinking to myself what has just happened?

In Ultraviolet we are told the story through Alison; she’s found herself in a psych unit after admitting she killed Tori a girl from school. Tori, hasn’t been seen since, but her blood was found at school at the spot where Alison the last person to have seen her had a confrontation with her. Alison’s mum has always believed Alison’s
May 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Initial Final Page Thoughts.
Enjoyable… but I kind of wish we could’ve read t’other story mentioned at the beginning with the girl with the odd-shaped birthmark. No offense Alison, you’re cool and all but… yeah. Also, can you say ‘sequel’? I’d be OK with that, I think.

High Points.
What an opening! Highly visual writing that did not provoke a single eye-roll (OK, there was a little towards the end but I’ll discuss that later). A strong heroine who only gets a bit annoying towards the end. Realistic
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Alison is in a mental institution following a breakdown where she (somehow) disintegrated another sixteen-year old girl. The police and the doctors want to know what happened to Tori, where she has disappeared to and why Alison had Tori's blood on her hands. Alison struggles with her doctors, her medication and her own history of mental health issues and it all comes to a head when a new doctor visits the hospital and professes to believe Alison's bizarre story.

This story is at its strongest whi
Apr 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Favourite Quote: "I might not be ready to pour out my feelings to the world, but I’d had enough of trying to ignore them."

Wow! Ultraviolet is an incredibly original and hypnotic read. I just loved how refreshingly different it was from the plot to the characters to even the style of writing. Everything was unique and it that made for such a standout read.

Ultraviolet is the story of Alison who is placed in a psychiatric unit after complete breakdown. She is also the main suspect in the murder cas
Jun 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-lit, fantasy
In every novel worth its name there is an abundance of figures of speech such as metaphor, simile, oxymoron. They are part of the texture of the narration and are employed to enforce the first rule of Writing 101, which is to show and not to tell.

I remember quite distinctly having studied rhetorical figures during my high school years in Italian classes and I knew synesthesia from such classes. I still remember one example quite distinctly taken from a poem by Pascoli: “un pigolio di stelle” – a
Mar 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
4.5 out of 5 stars

So unexpected in such a good way. It's impossible to talk about how amazing this book is without delving into spoiler territory, so I'm keeping my recommendation vague and short: READ THIS.

You start with that stellar hook (kudos to R.J. for captivating me from chapter zero) and you think you know what type of book Ultraviolet is going to be, but then it completely twists and morphs through different genres to become an entirely different book. And R. J. Anderson makes it WORK.

Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 that I’m rounding up because I can’t wait to read the second book. This definitely has some flaws but if you don’t take it to seriously is a fun read.
May 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Fortunately I had an entire day to devote to Ultraviolet because I was completely hooked. If you are reading this review you must have read the synopsis and know that it begins with sixteen (almost seventeen) year old Alison waking up in a psychiatric facility. Alison initially has no recollection of what placed her in the hospital, and in fact does not even have a history of mental illness.

Author R.J.Anderson does an amazing, simply amazing job of setting the stage for "is Alison crazy or
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Usually, I like going into books blind, however 'Ultraviolet' was testament for why that's sometimes not a good idea.

R.J.Anderson is the author of one of my all-time favourite series, Knife (known as Faery Rebels in the US), and I'd seen 'Ultraviolet' advertised in the back of my copy of Arrow, so I've been aware of this books existence for a long time. But back then I wasn't really into thrillers, and it was only after hearing that the main character in the companion novel, 'QuickSilver', iden
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
“Everybody has a story, Alison," he said. “Everybody has things they need to hide--sometimes even from themselves.”

To set a novel mostly in a mental institute was something I just couldn’t miss. And Anderson pulls it off brilliantly. Here we have the experience of a teenager finding herself in such a place, trying to deal with her situation. Why is she here? What happened? How is she going to adapt to this restricted and indeed disturbing ‘asylum’? Through her own experience and what she sees o
Apr 06, 2011 rated it liked it
I am a sucker for the dark side of literature. Growing up, I went through a massive phase of reading books about crime, serial killers and down-trodden detectives looking to solve the case, so seeing the synopsis of this book on NetGalley made it an instant must read for me. The book was surprising on many levels and it’s a real genre bender, not quite the straight forward dark thriller I thought it was going to be, but did it work?

Some of it worked rather well. It becomes evident very early on
Laura Lulu
4.5 stars

Wow. Really cool book. I don't know where to begin. I feel like anything I write in this review will be a bit of a spoiler in one way or another, so I'll try to be vague.

The story is told in first person from the POV of Alison, a 16 year old girl who can see sounds and smell emotions and taste lies. Numbers each have a color, names have a personality, and the stars make music. And she has hidden this extra side of herself since she was 6 years old and shared it with her mother, who proc
Nov 14, 2016 rated it liked it
I was 100% on board, until the plot twist. Yes, I was expecting something to explain what happened to Tori, but (view spoiler)? Meh. And I was uncomfortable with the romance, between the underage main character and a man who's at least in his mid-twenties, particularly once the other shoe drops with him. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Raising Lumie
  • Haunting Violet (Haunting Violet, #1)
  • The Prophecy of the Stones
  • Resist (Breathe, #2)
  • Dead or Alive (Skulduggery Pleasant, #14)
  • The Dogs
  • The Complete Adventures of Judith Lee
  • Tunnel Vision (Tunnel Vision, #1)
  • I Think I Might Be Autistic: A Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis and Self-Discovery for Adults
  • Slaves of the Mastery (Wind on Fire, #2)
  • Icefire (The Last Dragon Chronicles, #2)
  • Silver on the Road (The Devil's West, #1)
  • Weekend in Paris
  • Road Tripped
  • Burning Nation (Divided We Fall, #2)
  • You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism
  • Always Emily
  • The Ravenmaster's Secret: Escape from the Tower of London
See similar books…
See top shelves…
R.J. (Rebecca) Anderson was born in Uganda, raised in Ontario, and has spent much of her life dreaming of other worlds entirely. She is the author of ten traditionally published fantasy/SF books for children and teens, including the UK-bestselling faery romance KNIFE. Her new Flight and Fire Trilogy begins with SWIFT and NOMAD in Aug/Nov. 2020, ending with the brand-new novel TORCH in February 202 ...more

Other books in the series

Ultraviolet (2 books)
  • Quicksilver (Ultraviolet, #2)

Related Articles

When it comes to writing, Jocelyn Johnson is about that life.    The Virginia native—born, bred, and wed—has had aspirations of being a...
27 likes · 2 comments
“But there were worse things than disappointment, and I'd lived through several of them already.” 177 likes
“I realized then that even though I was a tiny speck in an infinite cosmos, a blip on the timeline of eternity, I was not without purpose.” 144 likes
More quotes…