Title: What We Saw At Night
Author: Jacquelyn Mitchard
Genre: YA thriller
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy from Audiobook Jukebox‘s reviewer program
Audiobook reader: Rebecca Gibel
Audiobook length: 7 hours and 43 minutes
First line: “Don’t move, and don’t scream too loud, no matter what you see,” Juliet told Rob and me.
Goodreads blurb: 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.
Jacquelyn Mitchard is one of my favorite authors of contemporary adult fiction, and so I was excited when I heard of What We Saw At Night, her YA novel. Then I saw Michelle’s review, which really made me want to read it, in spite of her warning of the cliff-hanger ending. I will say that, had I not been warned, the ending would have really ticked me off – it seems more like the middle of a thriller, not the end. But, since I went into the book with eyes wide open, I only had myself to blame when the book left me hanging – and longing for the sequel.
Mitchard brings together two topics I had heard of but knew very little about: Xeroderma Pigmentosum and the discipline of Parkour. The three main characters, Allie, Rob, and Juliet, have a fierce loyalty to each other, born out of their shared condition. XP is very rare, but the three teens have grown up together in a small town that lies in the shadow of the Tabor Clinic, a clinic specializing in the study and treatment of XP. Ever since they were little, playing in the sandbox and on the swings in the middle of the night, they have been a threesome. Allie and Rob seem to have accepted their condition and place in the world, while Juliet rails against it.
It is Juliet’s desire for a thrill that leads the trio to the discipline of Parkour. While practicing late at night, Allie witnesses what she is sure is a murder – but Juliet and Rob aren’t so sure. When Allie sees the murderer one night in Juliet’s company, she realizes that her friend is keeping sinister secrets.
This was an audiobook that I did not want to put down. Rebecca Gibel did a wonderful job of reading Allie’s first person story, and she had me hooked from the very beginning. As the mystery deepens, and Allie finds herself more and more entangled in a dangerous web of lies, the writing became absolutely taut with suspense. I knew the end was going to leave me hanging, but I wanted more! I absolutely cannot wait for Mitchard to write the sequel; hopefully, she won’t make us wait too long.