Review: What We Saw At Night by Jacquelyn Mitchard

8th January 2013

Via Goodreads

*I received this book from the publisher Soho Press in exchange for an honest review.

“Live once.” Some pretend like there might be a second chance. Others hide in the dark. Only Juliet knew what our life could be.

Allie Kim is 16. She has two best friends. In most ways, she’s a completely normal teenager…except that she, Rob, and Juliet can’t go out into the sun. Ever. Each suffers from Xeroderma Pigmentosum, a fatal allergy to sunlight. Their lives? Lived only at night. A bit bored, Juliet leads the trio in learning the dangerous, boundary-pushing parkour, leaping off buildings and training like Olympians until one night Allie sees what she thinks is a murder. Rob and Juliet aren’t so sure, and the division takes its toll.

At first appearance, the Soho Teen debut sounded much like a modern take on the classic Rear Window – odd circumstances lead to a possible murder sighting and disbelief. What We Saw at Night surprised me. Allie isn’t the typical YA protagonist. Neither are Rob and Juliet. Knowing the seriousness of their conditions and their odd lifestyle, it makes sense that they’d be more mature. It was refreshing, as was the relationship between the three. Allie has feelings for Rob, and so much of what she feels reminded me of those high school relationships when a friendship turned into a crush.

However, as the story progressed, the murder and ending became more and more muddled, and the suspension of disbelief was more and more difficult to achieve, and by the cliffhanger end, I was less interested in reading a sequel and more annoyed that the story had not reached some sort of conclusion.

With an intriguing premise and realistic characters, What We Saw at Night is a promising start to Soho’s Teen line, and even with the ambiguous ending, I can see this one flying off the shelves.

Add this to your Goodreads shelf.

  • Ugh. A series. I hate when you read a book not knowing it is a series and then find out it is.

  • heidenkind

    Yeah, not too thrilled this is a series, either. A modern YA take on Rear Window is intriguing, but it sounds like Disturbia did it better.

    • I haven’t read that one. I’ll have to hunt for it.

      • heidenkind

        It’s a movie, starring Shia LeBeouf.

  • Charlie

    It does seem muddled, and from here all the more because of the mix of subjects – murder mystery (thriller?) matched with such a condition and all the issues that by itself must cause. Good to move the focus from what might have been a difficult read, but it sounds as though it’s a bit too much, however the murder aspect is applied. It does sound the sort of book that a lot of people would want to read, though. I could be completely wrong in my thoughts, but that’s what I’ve taken from what you’ve written about the story.

    • It was a bit too much, but other than that, enjoyable, so I can definitely see it being a hit.

  • While I am sort of over starting yet another new series, this sounds like one that I may still pick up.

    • I’ll probably read the sequel when if comes out.