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After a breakdown in her home, which involved smashing her mother's cell phone and attacking a police officer, Alison is admitted to Pine Hills, a pyschiatric facility. But Alison fears that she has done something even worse than an assault, because a classmate, Tori Beaugrand, has gone missing, and Alison believes that she has killed Tori. After all, Alison never liked Tori, they fought on the day that Tori went missing, and Alison was the last person who saw Tori before she vanished. Alison does not dare confess to the crime because she believes that she made Tori disintegrate, the latest and most violent symptom of Alison's heightened senses. She tastes words, perceives letters and speech with color and she can detect rotteness and lies, and the only answer to her sensations and her apparently violent power is not only that she is crazy but that she is a danger to the people around her.

It is only during the sessions with a visiting researcher, Sebastian Faraday, that Alison learns that she is not crazy but that she has synesthesia, a neurological disorder that makes her senses cross wires. But Faraday's diagnosis doesn't entirely calm Alison's fears because she does remember seeing Tori painfully vanish and Alison is the only witness to this inexplicable event, and she needs to determine what has happened to Tori to gain her freedom from Pine Hills.

Part mystery part paranormal, Ultraviolet is also a very tender and compassionate book about mental illness and perception. Alison is reserved and withdrawn, bottling up her emotions, and her slow awakening to the emotional life around her is believable even if the circumstances bend space and time. With just a touch of romance, this book would definitely appeal to mystery lovers, especially psychological mysteries, and fans of light sci-fi.

Book Blurb for Ultraviolet

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 has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison's condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can't explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori - the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that's impossible. Right?

Night Owl Reviews Jul, 2011 4.25