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4.4 35
by R. J. Anderson

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"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 wakes up in a mental institution. As she pieces her memory back together, she realizes she's confessed to murdering Tori Beaugrand, the most perfect girl at school. But the case is a mystery. Tori's body has not been


"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 wakes up in a mental institution. As she pieces her memory back together, she realizes she's confessed to murdering Tori Beaugrand, the most perfect girl at school. But the case is a mystery. Tori's body has not been found, and Alison can't explain what happened. One minute she was fighting with Tori. The next moment Tori disintegrated—into nothing. But that's impossible. No one is capable of making someone vanish. Right? Alison must be losing her mind—like her mother always feared she would. For years Alison has tried to keep her weird sensory abilities a secret. No one ever understood—until a mysterious visiting scientist takes an interest in Alison's case. Suddenly, Alison discovers that the world is wrong about her—and that she's capable of far more than anyone else would believe.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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 “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. Ages 12�up. (Sept.)
VOYA - Lindsey Weaver
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. Reviewer: Lindsey Weaver
Children's Literature - Denise Daley
Alison sees things in a wide range of colors; many of which are not visible to most people. Her classmate Tori had golden hair, turquoise eyes, and peach-tinted skin. Tori also has an odd sun-shaped blemish above her elbow; but is that why Alison killed her? After all, Alison was the last person to see Tori before she disappeared, and Alison remembers nothing except for a fight from which she returned screaming and bloody. Now Alison is in a young person's mental institution, where a promising young doctor identifies her condition as the rare ability to experience a sensory stimulation when another sense is stimulated, such as tasting colors. Alison is disheartened when the doctor is dismissed from the facility as a fraud. She runs away with him only to learn that he is actually from another planet and that Tori is still alive and is being held captive in another dimension. The story is initially captivating and intriguing, but it eventually becomes unrealistic and far-fetched. Still, readers will be engrossed and will anxiously keep reading, if only to find out if Alison is truly mentally ill, or if the aliens really do exist. Reviewer: Denise Daley
ALAN Review - Diana Liu
Shortly after waking up in a hospital, 16-year-old Alison is transferred to the Pine Hills Psychiatric Treatment Centre. At first her memory is hazy, but as she spends more time in Pine Hills, Alison realizes that she is the prime suspect in a bizarre murder case. Although she has confessed to murdering Tori Beaugrand, high school golden girl, the police cannot locate Tori's body, and even Alison can't quite explain how Tori managed to disappear into thin air. Everything changes, though, when a mysterious scientist visits the center and takes an interest in Alison and the unusual sensory powers that she has had ever since her youth. With his help, Alison is not only able to figure out what really happened to Tori, but also discover the true capacity of her extraordinary abilities. Anderson builds her story up slowly at first; however, the plot's many shocking twists will grab hold of readers and keep them guessing until the very end. Reviewer: Diana Liu
Kirkus Reviews

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. (author's note) (Science fiction. 12 & up)

School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—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.—Corinne Henning-Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, ME

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.20(d)
900L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

R.J. Anderson was born in Uganda, raised in Ontario, schooled in New Jersey, and has spent much of her life dreaming of other worlds entirely. sn't trying to hide that she's female, she just thinks initials look more writerly.

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Ultraviolet 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
bookchelle More than 1 year ago
I must say, this is one of the most well written books that I have read in a really long time.All I can say is that is the most riveting first chapter that I have read in a long time if not ever. It grabs you and takes you in like no other book you've read in a while. Ultraviolet had me thinking about the story non-stop since I started to read it. Anderson wrote so well that her characters and story had me compelled to write about it right away. I usually like to wait a little while until I write the review, but not for Ultraviolet. Alison Jeffries has always felt like she didn't belong. She didn't belong in her family when she realized at a young age that she could see things that no one else could. She didn't belong in school when she understood that she had different traits than her peers. Alison Jeffries didn't belong in the mental institution when she remembered that she didn't kill Tori Beaugrand, she made her disintegrate. Alison is different from you and me. She can taste when you are lying to her. She can see colors out of our normal color spectrum. She recognizes that numbers and words can have personalities. She can see stars and hear music just from the normal day-to-day actions that you and I do. Because she is different, she is crazy. Because she says she sees things, feels things, smells thing that we cannot, she is crazy. Because she hated Tori, she killed her, and therefore, is crazy. "Everything you believe is wrong." What Alison believed and what was her reality were two different things. The evidence from the day that everyone last saw Tori led everyone to believe that Alison killed her. No body was found and no evidence has been truly able to prove anything against Alison. So what is the truth? There wasn't anything that I didn't love about this book. I don't know how to say this enough. Anderson did an amazing job writing so different, but in such an addicting way. Her writing style was superb as well as her story plot. The writing is so spot on with the way Anderson wanted to relay the story through the main character's eyes. Alison is interesting, yet, so familiar and comforting that you cannot help but relate to her feelings and emotions. Haven't you ever felt like you were different, or even going crazy? I know I have, many times. What teenager isn't feeling this in a normal situation, let alone in a mental psych ward? Throw out your reality when you read this book. Anderson will bring you where your mind will want to go, and in the next moment, she will bring you to the opposite side of it. She will break through your expectations and bring you to a place of imagination that you forgot existed. This is definitely a book to read. You will not be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the first and the last chapter. Wonderfully written with just the right amount of despair and just the right amount of hope. Reminded me of a cross between One Flew Over a Coocoo's Nest and A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Will recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As cliche as it may sound, this book made me see in a whole new spectrum. I will read this book again. Also, if you like to read from authors who deserve it, Anderson is funny, nice, and sweet. I recommend that everyone open their mind and give this amazing book a chance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was awful. I felt that this new element (sure it was being lead up to) but it was horribly rushed, and I would have wanted it introduced better, maybe even a little more in depth. The novel, I found predictable.. and it was really a dissapointment. I honestly wouldn't reccommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Something is wrong with Allison. She just woke up in a hospital room, covered in self-inflicted scratches. No one is telling her why she is there, or why she is being transferred to a psychiatric facility for teens. This is particularly disturbing for Allison because her mind has never worked the way normal people's minds work. Her mother has always encouraged her to not talk about it because it isn't normal. She sees stars when dishes clink together. She can taste lies (they make her sick) and smell hope. She can measure someone's personality by the letters in their name. When Allison learns that her classmate, Tori, is missing, she suddenly remembers she was the last person to see Tori before she disintegrated. This is what caused Allison's breakdown. It is why she is now in the psychiatric facility. While everyone in the outside world scrambles to find Tori, Allison has to deal with the fact that she killed her. Or did she? Did it all really happen, or is Allison actually crazy? Was this all in her mind? This book sucked me in from the first page. There is obviously something wrong with Allison, and since the book is told in first person, the reader struggles right along with her to figure out what is going on. Is she crazy? Did this really happen? Did Tori really disintegrate, and if so, how is that at all possible? Allison must find the answers herself along with the help of some very convincing and strong supporting characters. The writing is vivid and fluid. The tone is perfect. I was completely, 100% sucked in - until the big reveal at the end. The reveal that I won't explain here because it is a huge spoiler. I will admit that I was not expecting this twist at all. Typically, I like a good twist, but I can't decide how I feel about this one. It just seemed to come way out of left field. I think the problem I had with it is that I just couldn't really buy into it, and honestly I really don't know why I'm having such a hard time with it. I held off on writing this review for three days hoping that maybe I'd have a moment of clarity and my feelings about the book would settle, but they haven't. It's making me feel a little psycho myself. What I can say is that Ms. Anderson is a gifted writer and a great storyteller. Her characters are well-rounded and believable. The story had me completely engaged until the end. And the ending is why I can't quite give it a full four stars. (Review copy based on an Advanced Readers copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley)
thelittlebookworm More than 1 year ago
Alison wakes up in a mental institution with no memory of how she got there. As she begins to remember what happened, she also remembers confessing to killing a classmate. But how she remembers that event doesn't make any sense because people just don't disintegrate. Do they? As Alison struggles to make sense of that event, she always begins unraveling the mysteries of her own mind and her special abilities. So this was different. It starts Girl, Interrupted and then sharply detours into science fiction. Alison wakes up in the psych ward of a hospital covered in scratches and bruises with no memory of what happened. She is then moved to a mental health institution for young adults to recover and maybe tell what happened to her classmate, Tori, who disappeared the same day that Alison went crazy. The description of Pine Hills, the place that Alison goes, is really well written and very realistic. I could picture the place in my mind perfectly and it had a nice mix of patients that really illustrated the story the author was trying to tell. Another aspect of Alison's story is her synesthesia. I've read a few books about this condition before and was interested to see it employed in this book. I liked how it was made integral part of the story but was not the point of the story. Alison didn't even realize that her extrasensory abilities had a name until part way through the story. It gave the story some interesting depth and played nicely into the climax of the story.
KidLitWriter More than 1 year ago
"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." 16-year-old Alison Jeffries wakes up battered and bruised, but has no recollection how this happened. She awoke on the psychiatric wing of a hospital. Soon after, Alison is transferred to Pine Hills Psychiatric Treatment Center, which specializes in "youths in crisis." Tori Beaugrand is missing and Alison has confessed to her murder. There is only one problem: Tori's body cannot be found - anywhere. Alison slowly recalls the events of the night Tori died. They argued and then exchanged punches. Alison swung and Tori vanished. Tori's blood, on Alison's knuckles, is all that remains. Alison has always been an odd girl. She sees, hears, and often tastes the world around her differently than most. Alison sees red when she sees the number two; clang spoons and she'll see stars. Alison has synesthesia (the ability to taste and object or see it in a different color than it actually is), and, according Dr. Faraday, tetrachromacy (the ability to see the ultraviolet spectrum of light; to see colors in all spectrums). Just as Alison could see that a perfectly looking peach was actually spoiled on the inside, she knew there was something a bit off about Tori; the most perfect human she has ever see. Tori was super-model beautiful, genius smart and popular. At home, mother-daughter tensions run high. Alison's mother has been trying to deny her daughters "quirks," often fearing Alison was mentally ill, like her own mother who could see, hear and taste things that were not visible to others. Dr. Faraday, a graduate student from the University of Africa, is not who is claims to be, nor is Tori Beaugrand. If Alison is to prove she is not a murderer, she must believe in one and find the other. Ultraviolet is a rollercoaster of a ride. There is the intrigue of murder, the insanity of institutionalization, and the inventiveness of alien life. A murder mystery, a psychological thriller, and science fiction all neatly rolled into 300 pages of "I-can't-put-it-down." Alison is a compelling teen with a dysfunctional family and backstabbing friends. Dr. Minta, Alison's psychiatrist, is methodical, not straying from his diagnostic manual and medication regimens. Dr. Sebastian Faraday, who named himself after Michael Faraday, one of the greatest experimental scientists ever, is a brilliant . . . ah, no spoilers, sorry, but when he appears in Alison's life he allows the teen to understand the craziness. The abilities Alison possesses are gifts, not the sickness her mother believes them to be. The high school squabbles are realistic. The sci-fi, or paranormal, is intelligent, intriguing, and inventive. This is one of those books, when you have reached the end, will make you think "Wow." note: received from netgalley, courtesy of the publisher.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I purchased the sample I got a reallu good insight on what the book was about. It seemed really interseting so I may purchase it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You get a really giod preview of the book but let me warn you...there is a cliffhanger at the end so.... you will end up buying it..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing! Its gripping, jumpy, and unpredictable! I love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book made me turn the pages wanting more! I couldn't get enough! It has a lot of different twists and turns that you don't expect! Definitely a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quick ending. A must read for mystery lovers. Great book for an accelerated reader program
sandyemerson More than 1 year ago
'Ultraviolet' takes a reader on a journey they never expect to take. The mystery and adventure starts on the very first page and doesn't stop.  I really enjoyed how it started in the mental institution with Alison's sanity in question.  That kind of start instantly had me intrigued with her story.  The plot was quite ingenious, with that edge of the unexpected.  The truth is that the summary doesn't really give much away and I never expected it to end up being a genre crossover. Alison was an interesting character and it was fantastic to read about a condition that I never heard of and yet people suffer from.  Sure, for the sake of the book it had been exaggerated, but I think that added to the appeal of the story.  She was a very likable character.  She suffered through a lot and even though there were instances where she was a bit frosty, she came through at the end.  Her relationship with her mother was a bit shaky, but I think it was a case of angst more than anything else. Faraday was a character that I was fascinated with from the moment he was introduced into the novel..  I really adored the fact that he was a mystery - that he helped Alison in ways that no one else could.  And, of course, he played the part of Alison's love interest. In most books it's obvious who the love interest would be, but what I really loved was I wasn't expecting it to be him. The secondary characters gave the book the spark it needed to make the book relatable.  I loved reading about the interactions between all the characters.  Even the ones I didn't like I wondered about what their story was. The writing was lovely and flowed really well. There was so much going on that I never had time to get bored.  In fact, I was quite disappointed when it finished and, especially, how it finished.  I'll definitely be reading 'Quicksilver' when I get a copy of it.  I look forward to finding out what happens next.  As you can tell I really enjoyed and would recommend this to anyone who likes a touch of realism with their sci-fi.   Book review done by Sandy at Magical Manuscripts.
Coreena More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book, but it is a tough one to review. For most of the book, 16 year old Alison is in a mental institution because she claims to have killed he friend. She also sees and hears things that aren't really there and her family is concerned and scared about it. I found the mental institution interesting and authentic sounding, feeling like the author really researched this part of the story. I also really felt for Alison and what she's going through, curious about what really happened. I also liked the other characters in the hospital and how things weren't glossed over with her family - that it was hard for them to have her there, that they didn't know how to relate to her, that her best friend changed how she felt. Then, about three quarters of the way through the book, there is a twist. I won't say much, but it is a twist that changes the whole book. In one way, it was fun, but in another, it left me feeling betrayed. Overall, I enjoyed Anderson's writing and she really pulled me in. I loved the exploration of Alison's condition and the acknowledgement that we all see things differently, some more than others. I am still torn about the ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BookWorm635 More than 1 year ago
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
After reading the seriously awesome description on Goodreads about a year ago, I remember always wanting to read Ultraviolet by author R.J. Anderson. It sounded scary, thrilling and creepy, but also like something in the plot would take me by surprise. Needless to say, by the time I finally got around to reading the opening chapter of the novel I was hooked and didn’t want to stop reading until I found out just what is really going on in main character Alison’s life. By the time I finished reading, I was dying to read the sequel Quicksilver (but that’s another review for another day). Ultraviolet takes place right after Alison finds herself admit to a mental institution. With a killer intro explaining how Alison must have killed a girl named Tori by making her disappear just by touching her, everybody around Alison believes that she is mentally unstable including herself. Her mother has been afraid of her since she was a kid, her doctor thinks that there is something wrong deep within Alison’s mind and Alison herself knows that it’s impossible for her to have caused Tori to disintegrate with a single touch. The moment is blurry in Alison’s mind, but slowly she begins to remember the night that Tori went missing and the truth of the matter: That she killed her somehow. Just when Alison begins to lose hope in ever being released she meets Dr. Faraday who helps her cope with her strange ability to see colors everywhere and gives her a friend just when she needs one most. Then just as everything seems to be settling down Alison experiences the impossible. I’ll admit that I’ve never read a novel with a major plot twist quite like the one found in Ultraviolet. All the hinting in the writing and descriptions never really had me thinking that there would be secrets quite like the ones that are revealed in Ultraviolet. Where I expected the supernatural I found science (whaaat?) and where I expected a twist that involved the paranormal I found science fiction (Whaaat? x2). This is definitely the type of novel that I don’t think any readers will be able to predict the twist at the plot’s conclusion. I know that I didn’t and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. When reading Ultraviolet keeping your eyes open and taking in every detail is very important because if you miss one moment you’ll have missed everything. There’s a variety of genres in the novel but I think that a lot of people will like the suspense portion. The mystery and suspense in the novel is definitely what kept me around because I never really knew what was going to happen to Alison, but I also had my mind reeling about whether Alison did or did not disintegrate Tori. On topic of there being a ton of genres in the novel there is also some romance however it isn’t fully seen until the end. The romance is built up until the final moments of the novel where Alison and this love interest see that their time together is going to be cut short and have a few quick moments of romance until finally they are separated. Totally left me sad-faced and wishing that things could have worked out differently. Alison goes through a lot in the novel and apart from all the twists and emotions that get stirred by certain scenes, there is a wide cast of characters in the novel that I really enjoyed. There is Alison who is one of the few characters, in general, that I can actually feel genuine sympathy for. There’s also the doctors in the mental institution who all make the experience realistic and the other patients who all have their own quirks and memorable moments that leave them on your mind long after the novel’s done. I’d recommend Ultraviolet to fans of thrillers, readers who are looking for a sci-fi novel that isn’t in-your-face and those of you who are just looking for a novel that you will fall for almost instantly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked it, but it wasn't amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I ussually cant stand stupid alien books but i loved it. It had a strong female figure,action,suspense, and like every good YA novel some romance. Although i did love this book some of my fellow reviewers brought the fact that most of the book was rushed. But every book has its flaws, so read it dont hey its only my opinion(i would read it).
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ReenaJacobs More than 1 year ago
First things first: I loved Alison. Most of the YA novels I've read have female protagonists who are weak. Their problems are self-generated and folks take advantage of the situation, knowing the protagonist is a yessir character. Not so with Alison. Sure, she had problems — unique to her — but reasonable when considering no life is problem free. And though she could always use a bit of help getting to the next stepping stone (like anyone), she wasn’t beyond doing what was needed to get the job done. No one had to talk her into standing up for herself; no one had to tell her when she was being mistreated. Yay! for strong protagonists. The storyline intrigued me all the way through. Alison had two main problems to resolve: get out of the mental institute and figure out what happened to Tori. Though it was a given she would resolve both issues, I had no idea how she’d accomplish the tasks. One thing for sure, the ending was quite unexpected. The way the story played out really made me wish I had insight into the author’s mind. Did she know the ending before she started putting words to paper and write the story to meet the ending? Did she reach a point while writing and realize at some point she needed a reasonable conclusion? Is she the type of author who alternates from beginning to end until the two meet in the middle? Why do I mention this? Well, the ending was a bit odd. Without giving any spoilers, I will say there was a definite shift in the genre for the conclusion of the book. Not sure I was all too fond of the switch, but the over all story ended well — hopeful, but imperfect, which is just they way I like. The only thing I wasn’t all too fond of were the flashbacks. I can’t say they were unnecessary. However, they did interrupt the flow. I started this work August 5 and finished August 7. There were times I couldn’t put the book down. In fact, once I stayed late and into the early morning, greeting the sun reading this work. However, I got to a flashback and had no problem stopping. If not for the flashback, I’m sure I would have finished Ultraviolet that morning/day… it was that good. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago