In Everything, Mystery, Young Adult


Author: Jaquelyn Mitchard
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Genre: Young Adult
Format: Print, EBook
Publisher: Soho Press, Inc.
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Recommended Reading: 14+



THE GIST: This deep story about a group of kids dealing with a life-threatening allergy that literally turns their life upside down is deep, frightening, funny, sometimes slow but totally engaging. At first, I found myself dreading the read. I would take it with me when I went out, but kept finding excuses to get distracted. Each page felt unrealistic and I didn’t connect with the protagonist, but as the story moved forward, I became drawn to the mystery and ended up running back to my iPad for more. So, If you like books about struggle, heartache, love – with a dash of mystery, check it out. I can’t promise you’ll love it, but at the very least, you will learn about how children living XP cope with a life spent in the dark.

SYNOPSIS: “A passion project from Jacquelyn Mitchard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN, WHAT WE SAW AT NIGHT is the story of three outsiders, teens with a deadly allergy to sunlight that forces them to live a life opposite of everyone else in their small town. When they discover the extreme sport Parkour, it seems that they’ve finally found something uniquely theirs—even if leaping from buildings in the dark feels somewhat suicidal. Everything changes when they witness a horrible crime while practicing on an allegedly empty building. Worse: what they see, sees them, too.” (Netgalley).

THE LOWDOWN: Parents protect their children from things that go bump in the night. But what do parents do who have children that can only live in the dark, forced to lurk in the shadows unsupervised. The protagonist, one of three kids who has this disease and forced to deal with some pretty heavy issues like love, death and her own mortality.

To be completely honest, I didn’t like this story at first. The main character was whiny and immature. She complained too much and threw herself pity parties because her friend was prettier than she was. I kept thinking, this girl has an allergy that will kill her and she is being such a baby about something so trivial! It was maddening. I probably should have been a little more sympathetic, but the writer gave her such an annoyingly weak voice that I couldn’t help myself. In fact, I almost gave up the book until a mystery unfolded and the story kicked into high gear. I became an instant fan. It was like someone pulled back the blinds and revealed the real story (pun intended) – and it was good. Really good!

The story takes you on a journey with a bunch of kids searching for trouble because their chance at a “normal” life never comes. And boy do they find it. As I mentioned, the lead protagonist is a bit whiny, but she quickly becomes the heroine you love to love. Her love interest, who she believes is infatuated with her best friend is the guy you love to hate, and then love and then love some more. All the characters, for that matter, are vividly, with very distinct and unique voices that move each one of the stories many twists along their paths.

This book took me way out of my comfort zone and threw me into a sinister plot where nothing is what it seems. People die; there is a car chase, kidnappings, all wrapped neatly inside a sweet and inspiring story of strength. Plus you get an inside look at how children stuck in the dark deal with a life that rarely offers any happy endings.

Take this one out for a spin. I won’t promise satisfaction, but I can promise you a learning experience…at the very least.

Happy Holidays!

Sara O'Connor
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