Author: Jacquelyn Mitchard
Publisher: Soho Teen
Publication Date: January 2013
Genre: Young Adult Mystery/Thriller
Series or Stand Alone: Series, Book One
Synopsis can be found here.
Allie Kim and her friends suffer from a genetic disorder called XP that makes sunlight deadly to them. They live in the town where specialists are there to study the genetic disorder and help them cope with the lack of sunlight, living on nighttime hours, and their adjusting families.
So one night, when Allie and her friends are participating in Parkour, they witness a scene that changes everything. Was it a crime? Who was the man and the girl in the window? And why does Allie feel like they're in danger?
The quiet world Mitchard created is eerie and still. Allie and her friends Rob and Juliet study Parkour- a dangerous stunt sport challenge, leaping off tall buildings, falling, flying and pushing their bodies to the limits. They feel alive and free in the dark night they live in. Allie is a typical teenager, experiencing mixed emotions for her friend Rob who she secretly likes, and Juliet, who Rob not so secretly likes. I really like Allie's relationship with Juliet. Unsure, competitive and potentially explosive this friendship rings true for me. I sympathize with Allie's hesitation of Juliet, questioning her motives and knowledge.
I don't like Juliet as a character, but I thought Allie and Juliet's interactions are realisitc. Juliet seems too strung out, too unstable. I didn't believe Allie and Juliet could be real friends, if they hadn't been thrown together because of this disorder.
The story moves slowly through the friends training of Parkour, up until we get to the scene where they see the crime. But that is well into the book and a lot of the first half is given up to setting. The pacing was too slow for me, and the suspense seemed forced and didn't really kick in until the very end of the story. A lot of the Parkour scenes probably could have been edited out, they dragged on too long. I kept reading, even though I had lost interested about half way through. Even the murderer wasn't scary to me, an under developed character whose unclear motives were never answered.
Rating 4 Not My Cup of Tea