Thursday, March 28, 2013
Audiobook Review: What We Saw at Night by Jacquelyn Mitchard
Author: Jacquelyn Mitchard
Narrator: Rebecca Gibel
Unabridged Length: 7hrs, 39mn.
Here is a summary of the book from the Goodreads website:
Allie Kim suffers from Xeroderma Pigmentosum: a fatal allergy to sunlight that confines her and her two best friends, Rob and Juliet, to the night. When freewheeling Juliet takes up Parkour—the stunt-sport of scaling and leaping off tall buildings—Allie and Rob have no choice but to join her, if only to protect her. Though potentially deadly, Parkour after dark makes Allie feel truly alive, and for the first time equal to the “daytimers.”
On a random summer night, the trio catches a glimpse of what appears to be murder. Allie alone takes it upon herself to investigate, and the truth comes at an unthinkable price. Navigating the shadowy world of specialized XP care, extreme sports, and forbidden love, Allie ultimately uncovers a secret that upends everything she believes about the people she trusts the most.
I have to admit that when I requested this book I really had no idea what it was even about. I've had good results with Mitchard's past work, so I felt drawn to this one also. Teenage Allie is the main character of this story and we follow her and her best friends on a journey of exhilarating danger and secrets.
Allie lives with her family in Iron Harbor, Minnesota. They moved there after she was diagnosed with XP, since there is a clinic in the small town that specializes in the disease. This gives Allie the opportunity to meet other people with the strange disease and develop realistic friendships. Two other XP patients, Rob and Juliet, become her best friends, and the three of them spend many evenings together as they are physically safe under the cloak of darkness. It is during one of their adventurous evenings that Allie sees something the others do not, causing her to fear for their safety.
I have heard of XP, but this novel definitely gave me a closer glimpse into the disease. The narrator did a great job of capturing the emotions and attitude of the young main character. My only complaint of this novel is that it almost felt like a young adult book, but since the main character is a teenager I think it hits the mark.
My favorite part of the novel is that the location is the fictional town of Iron Harbor. The fictional town is right on Lake Superior, about an hour north of Duluth, Minnesota, and a hop away from Two Harbors. Since I go to Duluth quite often and glimpse Lake Superior almost every day, I think Mitchard did a great job of creating the landscape for this novel. She made very accurate descriptions that created wonderful visualizations as I was listening to the audiobook.
As I mentioned earlier, I think this book falls into the young adult genre, but I still enjoyed it overall. With themes of secrets, romance, disease, and suspense, this novel has much to offer. I don't hesitate in recommending this novel for either personal leisure or as a book club selection.
My Rating: 4/5
Disclosure: This audiobook was provided to me by the publisher through Audiobook Jukebox in exchange for an honest review.