Author: R.J. Anderson
Genre: Psychological/Science Fiction
Age Group: Young adult
Publisher: Orchard Books
First Published: 2011
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The darkness behind my eyelids was thick and stank of chemicals, as though someone had poured black oil inside my head.
Ultraviolet is the story of a teenage girl with synesthesia, the neurological condition that allows her to see the world in colours, taste emotions, and hear the stars. The story begins with Alison waking up in a psychiatric hospital trying desperately to work out how she got there, and how she managed to get the scratch-marks on her arms. After a while she pieces her memories back together and remembers: she killed Tori Beaugrand. Or did she?
This is the second book I’ve read recently in which something bizarre happens and the protagonist is passed off as being mad, and this one was just as good. I like this idea. So often you read a book, something bizarre happens, and the protagonist runs off with the “mysterious guy” to solve it, but they never end up forced to see a psychiatrist, which realistically is what would happen so I’m glad it’s cropping up a little more. I also couldn’t help feeling as though the early parts of the novel in Pine Hills were a little tip of the hat to One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, with the bi-polar guy showing the main character around, telling her what to avoid and who is who.
Around page 300, give or take, the story suddenly switches from one thing to something else. I found it a little off-putting, whilst I saw the twist coming it still felt a bit too quick. The build up was a little too slow, although it did give us a good insight into Alison while she discovers who she is.
All in all, Ultraviolet was a good read and I’m glad I picked it up. It’s a well-written, feel-good story with an interesting premise and it’s a gentle introduction to science fiction.