What Did We See at Night?

This YA series by NYT best selling author Jacquelyn Mitchard is a huge disappointment.  The first book, What We Saw at Night, held great promise as the story of three teens with a rare disease which restricts them from ever going outside during the day–Xeroderma Pigmentosum or XP.  The main character, Allie Kim, is greatly influenced by her life-long free-spirited friend, Juliet, who introduces them to the dangerous but exhilarating “sport” of Parkour– scaling and leaping off of tall buildings.  Rob–Allie’s friend and blossoming love interest–joins the girls and soon has them going out on summer nights, breaking into construction sites and parks, to do Parkour, which is the only thing that makes them feel truly alive and lifted from their early death sentence.  It is during one of their building scaling escapades that Allie witnesses what she is sure is a murder scene. Mitchard’s portrayal of the murderer, a man with a strange streak of white down his hairline, is chilling.  Allie, who dubs him “Blondie,” his horrified to realize that her friend Juliet may have some deadly connection with him and is mysteriously subject to his influence. The plot hooks the reader, but then lets you down as Allie shuttlecocks through the story without being effective in any direction she takes.  For example, she spots Blondie with a bundle, possibly the body, who seems to disappear in an area she later learns contains a trap door to a stairwell.  This stairwell leads to the ruins of an old boathouse, yet in the rest of the novel she alerts no one, not even Juliet’s police chief father, to go check it out.  Worst of all, the book just ends without any resolution and is taken up in the next of the series, What We Lost in the Dark.   Although the voice of Allie is compelling, I felt cheated by the non-ending.Whatwesaw

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