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Ultraviolet Paperback – January 1, 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 154 ratings
Book 1 of 2: Ultraviolet

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Alison, 16, wakes up in a mental hospital, her tangled memories offering glimpses of a struggle and horrible death of a classmate. Readers learn that she believes she caused her classmate to disintegrate, that she has confessed to this, and that the student is now missing. What follows is much more than a harrowing adolescent-in-pysch-hospital 'problem book' than one might expect. For one thing, Alison has synesthesia, a neurological condition in which the stimulation of one sense leads to experience in one or more other senses. For example, the teen can taste lies and see colors nobody else can. She also has an eidetic memory and other enhanced perceptions. Synesthesia is a recognized phenomenon often associated with creativity, and is not itself a mental illness. Alison learns that she is gifted, not insane, from a young man studying her condition who is not who he claims to be. Once his origins are revealed, the story loses some of its pace and originality, and things are tied up a little too neatly at the end, but Ultraviolet is still a first-rate read." --School Library Journal

, Journal

"Sixteen-year-old Alison wakes up in a mental institution after seeing a classmate literally disintegrate before her eyes. Is she a misunderstood synesthete, or are her mixed-up senses an indicator of more sinister abilities? Part psychological thriller and part paranormal mystery, Alison's compelling story will draw readers in as it challenges them to question their perceptions of reality." --The Horn Book Guide

, Journal

"Once upon a time 'science fiction' was not invariably preceded by 'dystopian,' nor was it just a handy synonym for 'paranormal.' This breath of fresh air reintroduces readers to traditional science fiction, with the bonus of a strong heroine. Alison, 16, has been hospitalized ever since her beautiful, popular classmate, Tori, disappeared. Her claim that she disintegrated Tori landed her in the psychiatric ward and soon gets her transferred to a residential treatment facility for seriously disturbed teen patients. Confused, conflicted, fighting the deadening effects of medication, Alison is desperate to leave the hospital yet fearful of what she might do if freed. These worries are complicated by her long-held secret: She has synesthesia. This sensory cross-wiring causes Alison to experience numbers as colors; she hears stars and tastes lies. She's long obeyed her mother's warning to tell no one. Now a mysterious, attractive young doctor has nosed out her secret. Anderson, a Canadian author of fantasy, is an assured storyteller with a knack for creating memorable characters. The barren, northern Ontario setting―where NASA astronauts once trained for moon landings―slyly accents a twisty plot refreshingly free of YA cliché. In bracing contrast to her passive, vampire-fodder counterparts, Alison steers her own course throughout her multi-layered journey―a thoroughly enjoyable ride." --starred, Kirkus Reviews

, Journal

"In a change of pace from her Faery Hunters series, Anderson blends paranormal, science fiction, and scientific elements in an intriguing story about a teenager who is convinced that she's crazy―and a murderer―though reality is even more unpredictable. Sixteen-year-old Alison Jeffries awakens in the psych ward of a hospital, and is soon transferred to a treatment center for 'youth in crisis.' The police, meanwhile, believe Alison knows something about the disappearance of her classmate, Tori. She does. Alison had watched Tori disintegrate before her eyes, and she believes that her barely understood 'powers' are to blame. With the help of Sebastian Faraday, a mysterious neuropsychologist, Alison starts to get answers: she is a synesthete―her senses of smell, taste, sight, and hearing intertwined in surprising ways–as well as a tetrachromat, able to perceive ultraviolet light. Alison's conditions allow the author to give her some enviable abilities and use some creative descriptions (Faraday's voice tastes, to Alison, like '[d]ark chocolate, poured over velvet'). Anderson keeps readers guessing throughout with several twists, including a very unexpected divergence in the last third of the book." --Publishers Weekly

, Journal

"When Alison wakes up in a psychiatric ward, she has no clue where she is or how she got there. Bit by bit, her memory of the horrifying event comes back to her. She had confessed to murdering Tori Beaugrand, the most popular girl at school. Tori's body, however, is nowhere to be found, and the only thing Alison remembers is disintegrating Tori into a million tiny pieces. Confined to Pine Hill, Alison continues to hide her eccentric sensory condition―the thing that had ruined her relationship with her mother. But when a visiting neuropsychology graduate student comes to collect data for his thesis, Alison discovers her condition is not at all what she thought. Suddenly she is capable of much more than anyone could imagine. Anderson uses stunning sensory details to bring Alison's condition to life. The reader can understand what it is like to taste numbers and feel syllables through the beautifully written descriptions. Unlike any other paranormal story, Ultraviolet is a multilayered roller-coaster ride that looks at a dysfunctional family and backstabbing friends, as well as the strange world beyond. The author plays around with genre bending as she takes a murder mystery and twists it into a sci-fi thriller that feels a little like A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. High school teens looking for an original, suspenseful read will enjoy this book. It is a great fit for any young adult collection." --VOYA

, Journal

'When Alison was very young, her mother was so freaked out by her daughter's synesthesia (experiencing the input of one sense as another) that Alison learned to keep it a secret. Now, at sixteen, she has experienced a psychotic break; her cross-sensory perception has become so intense that she is convinced she made a classmate disintegrate in a burst of anger, and it doesn’t help that the classmate has in fact vanished without a trace. Hospitalized, Alison concentrates her energies on keeping to herself and appearing as normal as possible, until a researcher named Faraday discovers her synesthesia and her ability to see beyond the ordinary visible spectrum and helps her understand her powers. Unfortunately, it turns out that he is not a neuropsychologist at all but a young reporter for a magazine specializing in the paranormal, a fact that has him speedily dispatched from the hospital. However, since he is the only one who believes her story, she seeks him out while home for a weekend, and the story takes a turn into Dr. Who territory as Alison finally gets the answers she needs to explain some longstanding mysteries. Indeed, Dr. Who fans are the perfect audience for this psychological drama with a science-fiction twist, but readers who enjoy exploring non-normative neurological abilities will also find it appealing. Alison is a sympathetic protagonist whose synesthesia is presented as both enviable and uncomfortable, and her mistrust of medical care is as credible as it is wrong-headed. In other words, the realism here is very real indeed, and the plot turn to sci-fi will either delight or distract readers, according to their tastes. Everyone, though will stay on track with her bittersweet romance with Faraday and its promise that true love can break barriers and transcend even intergalactic dimensions." --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

, Journal

"Alison wakes up in a mental institution with no memory of the past two weeks. The bits of time she pieces together point to a violent episode that caused the death of her classmate Tori. As she slowly remembers what happened, Alison worries that she really is crazy because she can only remember Tori disintegrating into nothing. An undiagnosed synesthete, Alison has always seen numbers as colors, tasted lies, and seen colors no one else can. While Alison is in the hospital, Dr. Faraday, a neuropsychologist studying synesthesia, finally puts a name to and an explanation of how Alison’s brain is wired. This is a unique insight into the life of someone with synesthesia, and the look at life inside a mental hospital is a natural grabber for teens. The story makes a dramatic shift in the final third of the book when the true origins of Faraday and what really happened to Tori are revealed. It is a genre-shifting turn that will leave some disappointed but will surely invigorate others." --Booklist

, Journal

About the Author

R. J. Anderson isn't trying to hide that she's female, she just thinks initials look more writerly. According to her mother she started reading at the age of two; all she knows is that she can't remember a single moment of her life when she wasn't obsessed with stories. She grew up reading C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, watching Doctor Who from behind the sofa, and hanging out in her brothers' comic book shop. Now she writes novels about knife-wielding faeries, weird science, and the numinous in the modern world. Quicksilver, her latest novel, also has soldering and pancakes.


Product details

  • Lexile Measure : 900L
  • Grade Level : 7 - 12
  • Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
  • Paperback : 312 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 146770914X
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1467709149
  • Product Dimensions : 5 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches
  • Publisher : Carolrhoda Lab ® (January 1, 2013)
  • Reading level : 12 - 18 years
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.1 out of 5 stars 154 ratings

Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5
154 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on July 10, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on March 20, 2014
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Reviewed in the United States on May 17, 2013
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Rose Quartz Reads
4.0 out of 5 stars Bursting With Colour
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 20, 2017
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Georgiana89
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that plays with your mind until you've no idea what genre you're reading
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 2, 2015
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Telss
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Imaginitve Story!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 19, 2013
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Jo
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 12, 2013
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Ms. J. Clarke
4.0 out of 5 stars A bizarre tale!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 7, 2011
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