Book Review: Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Genres: Young adult, science fiction.


“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.

Alison wakes up in an unfamiliar place; she’s in hospital about to be moved to a psychiatric institution for young people. Although Alison has not been arrested, the police are suspicious of her because she was the last person to see sixteen-year-old Tori before she disappeared. Alison is unable to explain to anyone, including herself, what really happened that day: at first they were just arguing, but then Tori disintegrated into nothing.

I had studied the neurological condition synesthesia, types of which may cause people to perceive letters as different colours, or taste words, previously in psychology courses, but I had never read a fictional novel that mentioned it and so I was thrilled to discover what Ultraviolet was about. Alison is not necessarily a typical synesthete since she seems to experience nearly all forms of synesthesia, but Ultraviolet is nonetheless an extremely fascinating and informative fictional account of what it may have been like to have the condition before it was discovered to be a neurological condition. Imagine all the people that would have been diagnosed with a mental illness after admitting that they experience sound and music like fireworks or that each word has its own personality.

The majority of Ultraviolet reads like a realistic fiction novel that takes place in a mental institution. This was my favourite part of the novel. I debated back and forth, trying to figure out whether Alison was mentally ill or whether there was some other explanation as to why Alison could see thing that others couldn’t, something to do with her synesthesia. I also enjoyed the input that the secondary characters added to the story.

Ultraviolet slowly becomes a science fiction story with a huge twist at the end. I wouldn’t recommend visiting the Goodreads page for Ultraviolet as it did ruin the twist for me. As it is slowly revealed (or maybe because I already had an idea of what it might be) it did not feel as unbelievable as it probably would have. I do, however, think that the science fiction aspect of the storyline should have been given more time to resolve at the end as it felt quite rushed.

Ultraviolet combines realistic fiction and science fiction to create a fascinating story of a young girl’s mission to prove her sanity. I’m not one for poetic prose, but R.J. Anderson describes Alison’s perceptions beautifully. Anderson makes it extremely easy to see things from Alison’s point of view and it really gave me a chance to appreciate the writing. The science fiction twist may not be for everyone, but I enjoyed the novel the whole way through and desperately hoped that Alison would find a way to escape her confinement.

This book was obtained as an eGalley from Carolrhoda Books.


5 thoughts on “Book Review: Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

  1. Ohhh, I’m so excited that you liked this! One of my faves for the year. 🙂 Great review.

  2. hey wendy you have read the book? i did for my 7th grade book report it was amazing!!

  3. […] which is incredibly cool. Awakening is the sequel to Tankborn and Quicksilver is the sequel to Ultraviolet, so I’m looking forward to reading those. And lastly, Butter is a young adult contemporary novel […]

  4. I’m very confused. I love this book and I’d like to use it as part of my GCSE coursework but I am unsure whether it is classed as teen literature or not? Help!!!!

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