“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.