Ultraviolet by R. J. Anderson
Once upon a time there was a girl who was special. Her hair flowed like honey and her eyes were as blue as music. She grew up bright and beautiful, with deft fingers, a quick mind, and a charm that impressed everyone she met...
This is not her story.
Unless you count the part where I killed her.
Sixteen-year-old Alison has always known there's something wrong with her mind. Her mother has made it very clear to her, and she's tried to keep that part of herself hidden; to live a normal life. Her insanity is... manageable.
At least until she breaks down completely and murders Tori, the most perfect, popular girl in school. It's a strange situation: everyone knows the two girls were enemies. Witnesses heard Alison screaming violently at Tori just befoe the other girl disappeared. Alison was found with Tori's blood on her. But there's no body, and what Alison herself remembers is clearly part of her mental breakdown: screaming, and screaming at Tori until the other girl exploded into a million little pieces.
That's the main reason Alison is in a mental ward, and not a prison. Which is where our story begins as Alison struggles to get better, to remember what really happened, and to help the police find Tori, or at least Tori's body. The problem is that Alison really had a breakdown, and as she struggles to regain her mental balance she becomes more and more convinced she's innocent.
For better or worse, however, what the police, most of the doctors in the psych ward, and Alison herself believe about the events that led up to Tori's disappearance is completely wrong.
Ultraviolet is a mystery that mixes psychological suspense with science fiction. R. J. Anderson is particularly good at crafting interesting young women: very realistic teenagers who are struggling with truly intriguing challenges. I love the way she keeps you guessing with the plot and at the same time utterly invested in the chararacters: It's like a Sara Dessen-paranormal-mashup.
Like most teenagers, Alison is struggling with who she is and what kind of person she'll be: but she has no idea how different she and Tori really are. She's about to find out though. Read Ultraviolet (and the companion novel, Quicksilver) and find out, too.