Dec 18, 2012

Book Review: What We Saw At Night - Jacquelyn Mitchard

Title: What We Saw At Night  
Author: Jacquelyn Mitchard  
Release Date: January 8th 2013  
Publisher: Soho Teen
Pages: 272 (hardcover)  
Source: NetGalley 
Like the yearning, doomed young clones in Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, three teenagers with XP (a life-threatening allergy to sunlight) are a species unto themselves. As seen through the eyes of 16-year-old Allie Kim, they roam the silent streets, looking for adventure, while others sleep. When Allie's best friend introduces the trio to Parkour, the stunt-sport of running and climbing off forest cliffs and tall buildings (risky in daylight and potentially deadly by darkness), they feel truly alive, equal to the "daytimers."
On a random summer night, while scaling a building like any other, the three happen to peer into an empty apartment and glimpse an older man with what looks like a dead girl. A game of cat-and-mouse ensues that escalates through the underground world of hospital confinement, off-the-grid sports, and forbidden love. Allie, who can never see the light of day, discovers she's the lone key to stopping a human monster.
When I started reading What We Saw At Night, I expected something depressing because the main characters are three diseased teens, but this one caught me completely off-guard. Clearly I should stop skimming through blurbs.

Allie Kim and her best friends, Rob and Juliet, have been living with XP (Xeroderma Pigmentosum) their whole lives. To make do with their condition, they are awake at night, experiencing the world in the dark. Juliet introduces Allie and Rob to Parkour, and, though both are reasonably reluctant at first, they decide to join her. One night while tracing, they chance upon a man with a seemingly dead girl in his hands, and the secrets begin unraveling themselves.

I love/hate Allie. She was smart and brave - if she wasn't, she wouldn't be doing Parkour - but I thought she was too dependent on her friends. She couldn't bear to stay away from them, even if her pride - and me, internally - was practically screaming at her to do so. Also, at some point, I did wish for Juliet to disappear. She was too angst-y, withdrawn, and complicated for me to love, but I've since realized that I actually love "walking mystery" characters like her (i.e. Alaska from Looking for Alaska by John Green).

The shocker-filled plot made my eyes widen and just say "WHAT?!" a lot of times. It was heavy with suspense and mystery (particularly on the characters; everyone had me doubting!), and even though I had to read this over the span of a week, the brilliant writing and thrilling pace never failed to suck me right back into the story. That said, the ending disappointed me. It was too much of cliffhanger for my liking, and I felt like I didn't get a proper conclusion for this book's arc. But yes, there will be a sequel!

MY FAVORITE PART was the last scene. It was the abrupt ending I'd said I didn't like, yes, but that also revealed Allie's character development.

(cover and summary from


  1. I've been having this book on my shelf for quite a while and I'm glad to see someone has read it. I'm kind of in doubt whether to start this now or wait a little. Anyway, great review! : )

    1. I hope you read it soon; I'd love to hear what you think of it! Thanks, Dianna! :D

  2. I'm not generally a fan of abrupt endings, but I'm glad to hear this has a sequel at least. It also sounds quite promising in that it kept you guessing. There's nothing better than a plot that impresses. :)

    Awesome review!


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