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“Dangerously addictive, breathtakingly beautiful, terminally awesome.”
—Lauren Myracle, New York Times bestselling author of Shine
“A thrilling ride through the darkness... Dark, suspenseful and quietly beautiful.”
—Melissa Walker, author of Small Town Sinners
"The plot is intricately woven, with twists at every turn. Mitchard's exemplary writing takes a masterful detour into young adult territory."
—Karin Slaughter, New York Times bestselling author of Criminal
“Allie’s... voice [is] honest and real...fascinating looks at both Parkour and a disease so unconventional that it turns the lives of patients and families upside down.”
—Booklist, High Demand Review
“What We Saw at Night is an engaging blend of real-world drama involving a life-and-death illness and a whodunit thriller. Imagine John Green's recent The Fault in Our Stars in a mashup with a Nancy Drew mystery. Plus some roof jumping and wall scaling.”
"The fast pace is set from the beginning with Juliet’s dazzling jump across the buildings... recommended for readers who enjoy a unique twist on realistic fiction."
"Atmospheric, melancholy... breathtaking"
“This latest from Mitchard is quickly paced and intricately plotted, with flares of humor cobbled into the dialogue.... The suspense will keep [readers] engrossed.”
“An interesting page-turner ... the cliff-hanger ending will have most readers waiting for the next installment.”
—School Library Journal
Posted January 17, 2013
I should not have read this book right before going to bed.
Beautifully written and well paced, this was one creepy ass book. I'm not normally a fan of contemporaries, but this one really managed to suck me in and keep me up all night to finish it - and then up all night because I was afraid to go to bed.
The characters are what make it worth it. It's all told through Allie's head, but you get a good idea of where they are and become strangely attached to them -- I was worried for Juliet when Allie was, rather than dismissing her behavior; I got mad at Rob when she did, rather than rolling my eyes; whenever Blondie appeared, I was as scared at Allie was.
And boy, was Blondie scary.
But that verges into the realm of spoilers, which I definitely do not want this review to have, as the entire book relies on the suspense of the unknown to drag you in. And it does an amazing job at it, too.
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Posted June 3, 2013
Posted April 9, 2013
Allie Kim and her two best friends Rob and Juliet don't live the live of normal teenagers. They all three have Xeroderma Pigmentosum. This is a fatal disease that makes them allergic to sunlight. They sleep during the day or stay in doors were it is safe. They have grown up together and look out for each other. When Juliet introduces them to Parkour they go along with her. Parkour is extreme stunt sport of scaling or leaping from buildings. Only be out after dark make this sport even harder for them. They do it because it helps them feel like normal kids and after all they probably won't live a long life after all. One night during this sport they see something. Allie is sure she has witnessed a murder. Her two friends aren't sure whether to believe her or not. She takes matters into her own hands and tries to solve the mystery herself. What she finds may destroy her trust in some she loves most.
Allie is a great character. She is very original as she has XP and that is not something I had read about. You can see all sides of her personality as you read from being a daughter who tries not to worry her mother a whole lot, a very loving friend, someone who is in love and has been a while, does some extreme things but you get to understand why she does it, to someone who will not let a crime go even when people make her think she is crazy. Rob I liked but at times he confused me. He seemed like he was torn a few times about the three's friendship. I wanted to shake him and say think before you act. Juliet I have to say I don't like. To me she seemed selfish and wasn't to good a friend. I understood after I read the book what made her that way but I think she could have handled it different. At times it seemed like she wanted Allie and Rob not to be friends or Allie to be friends with others. It was like it all had to be about her. There is a lot more fascinating people you get to meet in this book.
From the beginning you get to understand what XP is. The author did a great job bringing you into the world of that disease she writes about. You really get to get into Allie's head and see all she goes through. You feel you are Allie reading this book. The plot is wonderful and you really can't figure out just what happened it leaves you guessing to the end. You also wonder who is her friend and who is hiding stuff from her. Lot's of action is in this book and no one is safe. I don't do spoilers so it is so hard not to say something that is one. All the interaction between the characters keeps you on your toes to see what happens next. Did Allie see a murder if so who did it? Is it part of her disease making her lose her mind? You have to read to find out but beware you are probably wrong i know I was. I didn't see the ending coming or what happened. If you want a different mystery in a unique world be sure to pick this up. I look forward to were the next book goes.
Posted March 23, 2013
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“Live once.” Some pretend like there might be a second chance. Others hide in the dark. Only Juliet knew what our life could be.
Allie Kim is 16. She has two best friends. In most ways, she’s a completely normal teenager…except that she, Rob, and Juliet can’t go out into the sun. Ever. Each suffers from Xeroderma Pigmentosum, a fatal allergy to sunlight. Their lives? Lived only at night. A bit bored, Juliet leads the trio in learning the dangerous, boundary-pushing parkour, leaping off buildings and training like Olympians until one night Allie sees what she thinks is a murder. Rob and Juliet aren’t so sure, and the division takes its toll.
At first appearance, the Soho Teen debut sounded much like a modern take on the classic Rear Window – odd circumstances lead to a possible murder sighting and disbelief. What We Saw at Night surprised me. Allie isn’t the typical YA protagonist. Neither are Rob and Juliet. Knowing the seriousness of their conditions and their odd lifestyle, it makes sense that they’d be more mature. It was refreshing, as was the relationship between the three. Allie has feelings for Rob, and so much of what she feels reminded me of those high school relationships when a friendship turned into a crush.
However, as the story progressed, the murder and ending became more and more muddled, and the suspension of disbelief was more and more difficult to achieve, and by the cliffhanger end, I was less interested in reading a sequel and more annoyed that the story had not reached some sort of conclusion.
With an intriguing premise and realistic characters, What We Saw at Night is a promising start to Soho’s Teen line, and even with the ambiguous ending, I can see this one flying off the shelves.
Posted January 22, 2013
Last year Soho Press announced that they would be expanding to include a YA imprint, Soho Teen. This imprint will be publishing teen thrillers and mysteries. I'm always excited about new imprints so I decided to check them out. They very nicely sent me an ARC of their first release, which is now out in stores, What We Saw At Night. It centers around a group of three teens who all suffer from a deadly allergy to sunlight. Thus, they must live their lives at night. They own their small town after sunset but when one of them thinks that she witnesses a murder, the Rear Window action starts.
The concept is really cool: There were so many aspects of this book that were new and different and I really appreciated that. In particular I love the concept of kids who were confined to the night. It adds a whole new world of opportunities and challenges for the author to play with. Throw in the thrilling sport of Parkour and you've got a great backdrop.
The disorder is very nicely explored: I admired how Mitchard didn't simply use the disease as a crutch. She really explored the ins and outs of XP and this led to a greater understanding and therefore appreciation of her characters.
The suspense is great: Once the story gets going, the suspense is wonderful. There were several scenes that will stay with me for a long time.
The action, particularly the Parkour, is hard to visualize: The Parkour aspect of the book was cool, but since I don't know much about the sport it was hard to visualize many of the action scenes. The author used a lot of jargon and, while she explained it, it still made it hard to picture what was going on.
It takes a little bit to get going: There was a bit of a pacing problem especially in the first half of the book. This is a pretty short book and so the pacing really needed to pick up a bit. Luckily, the second half was better.
I just didn't like Juliet: I'm sorry but it had to be said. She's manipulative, hard and I didn't find anything about her very redeeming. She's pretty much a terrible friend and so I had a really hard time getting into the parts of the story where the reader was supposed to feel for her.
Someone needs to call the police: Okay, to be fair, the police are called initially and nothing comes of it, but I just felt like if Allie would have gone to her mother or the cops sooner everything would have gone a lot smoother. Of course, I realize that then we wouldn't have a book, but it's just hard for me to understand a character that believes she is in mortal danger and doesn't run to the cops or someone in an authority position.
I'm very happy that I was able to read What We Saw At Night. Overall, it was a very unique, cool little book. There is a sequel in the works and it will be interesting to see where the author takes these characters. If you're looking for good thriller with a different setup, you should check this one out. I think it would have a lot of potential as a film as well. I look forward to reading more from Mitchard and Soho Teen.
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Posted January 9, 2013
The unexpected, thrilling and plain outright creepy all make up parts of the world, Jacquelyn Mitchard introduces us to in her book 'What We Saw at Night'.
Allie Kim is a typical teenager with only one big different - she can't go out in sunlight because it will kill her. But, that doesn't stop her from going out at night with her two friends to play a high adrenalin, and life-threatening sport. On one of their night-time adventures, Allie witnesses something so spine-chilling that it causes nightmares. A glimpse of a girl who appears dead and a blond-haired man, who could be her killer. And that's when the fun really begins.
When I first started reading this book, I thought I wasn't going to like it. The pace was slow and there was a little bit of info-dumping, which are two things that totally put me off a book. But, I continued reading because I had been given this for review through NetGalley. I was glad I did. It took awhile, but once the body had been discovered that was when the pace speed up and I ended up really enjoying the book.
That's not to say that there weren't things that annoyed me about it. One of the things that bothered me was how Allie would call her mother 'Jack Jack'. Now, I don't know about you, but I would never in a million years get away with calling my mother anything, but 'Mom' or variations of the form. I know it was used affectionately, but it just didn't ring true to me and made them seem more like sisters than mother and daughter.
I also didn't really like Juliet. She didn't think. Allie, her best friend, tried to tell her things that were only in her best interests and she pretty much manipulated the situation until Allie thought it was her. Juliet put her friends' lives in danger, totally on a whim of hers, all because she wanted to 'live'.
The other characters were okay. I haven't really got anything to say about them. Rob played the love interest although I did think for a moment there was going to be some kind of love triangle going on, but it didn't happen. Rob was a follower. He followed Juliet and whatever she wanted to do. It was only later that he seem to become stronger as a character. I do think that Rob's relationship with Allie ended up being cute though, even if a little disappointing at times. I haven't really mentioned Allie as a character, because I don't really have much to say about her. She turned out to be quite a good character, even though, at times, I was a little disappointed in her.
The story line itself was actually quite good. I liked how Allie and her friends weren't normal, everyday characters and that they had a condition they had to live with as best they could. I could understand why they did what they did when they decided to do Parkour. I also liked the murder-mystery side of it. It was better than the usual murder-mystery because Allie had a weakness that other heroines didn't have. The ending was kind of sad, especially since something happened that I didn't really expect. I should have, I guess, but I didn't.
I would recommend this to readers who like murder-mystery novels.
Sandy from Magical Manuscripts