Night Vision by Ella West: an ACTUAL allergy to sunlight

Title: night visionNight Vision

Author: Ella West

Genre: YA thriller

Length: 180 pages

Published by: Allen and Unwin

Source: won from the fabulous Cait at Notebook Sisters (on behalf of the fabulous Allen and Unwin Australia!)


Viola was born with a genetic condition that makes sunlight deadly. In the dark of night, when most teenagers are tucked up in bed, Viola has the run of her parents’ farm and the surrounding forest. She is used to seeing hidden things through her night-vision goggles, but one night she sees something that could get her into a whole lot of trouble…

Viola has always believed she would be dead before she was twenty, but now she must decide just how far she’s willing to go to help her parents keep their beloved farm. Is it okay to steal from a thief? What if the thief might be a killer? And what if the killer threatens to come after her and her family?


Our main character, Viola, has XP, which means it is impossible for her to go out into the sun – basically it’s like sunburn in fast-forward. If she goes out for even a short amount of time, she will get skin cancer and probably die. I mean, I joke about being allergic to the sun, because inside is infinitely more exciting than outside. But it takes, like, at LEAST twenty minutes for me to get sunburnt (and even that is ridiculously short.)

XP is a disease I’d never heard about, and it was lovely to have that represented.


I loved a lot of things in this book.

For example, the descriptions of how Viola lives her life. I mean, she gets up at like dinner-time. And then when everyone else is asleep, she ROAMS THE WORLD. That’s pretty cool. Actually, not really – I’d be too scared of the dark (plus it would be cold!). Viola is way braver than me. I’d just be picturing bad dudes jumping out at me.

Yesterday I was banging on about how OH MY GOD okay I didn’t realise the gif did that scary thing at the end. Breathe, Emily. Okay. I’m good. Just…don’t look up “scary gifs” on Tumblr, okay?

So I was banging on about how there needs to be more diversity in speculative fiction. And I completely forgot to mention this book! Which is a shame, because it’s spec-fic and includes a diverse character. Which is cool. Plus it was set in New Zealand, which is cool too. (they’re our sheep-loving neighbours, after all)

PLUS. MUSIC. Viola plays viola (hehehe). I play piano, which is like the easiest instrument out there, but I could identify with Viola and her doubts about whether she’s actually good.

I have rarely read a more real book. That sounds weird, but it’s true – everyone in this book felt real. And that is commendable. It was told in a really simple style, and Viola felt like an actual person, and it’s really just a very nice book. Plus it’s quite short – a nice, quick and easy read.

It’s interesting, fast-paced, informative and you should read it. I liked the descriptions of Viola’s life better than the central plot, I must admit. That didn’t interest me as much. Viola interested me!

Rating: 3/5 Wonderkitties




21 thoughts on “Night Vision by Ella West: an ACTUAL allergy to sunlight

  1. I should have read the whole blog post before looking at that last gif. O.O I was thinking, “Oh, hey, that’s pretty cool — AHHHHH.” *tries to calm racing heart.* Anyway, great review. I will definitely be picking up a copy of this one some time, it looks really different/unique.

  2. That gif scared the heck out of me! I was just sitting there watching it, going “creeeppppyyyy…!” and then suddenly that black thing did that jumpy-into-person-face thing and I was like “Aaaaaahhhhhhhh!!” and then fell of my computer chair. *cringes*
    That better NOT be the gif of the week!

  3. Oh gaaaawd, that GIF! Hands up who peed a little then. I’ve had this one on my list for a while, it’s so different from the majority of YA. There’s a similar book from a few years ago, What we saw at Night. Same type of premise, kids with a rare condition only able to go out at night. Viola sounds like an incredible character. Can’t wait to grab a copy. Thanks for the brilliant review Em.

  4. I can’t believe there’s a novel about Xeroderma Pigmentosum. How cool is that? I mean now that you mention it, it does kind of lend itself to some awesome stories. I’ll have to read this now. I’ve read very little fiction set in New Zealand, so there’s that too!

  5. Oh I’d agree with that too…about Viola over the plot. I mean the plot was a bit so-so…heard it, seen it, know how it’ll work out. Of course it wouldn’t have worked without the plot…haha. xD BUT I GET WHAT YOU MEAN. I was so amazed that the author wasn’t a musician! The musical part felt really authentic to me.

  6. I rated it 3 as well. I agree with the actual plot, it could have been better, and it just ended so….. so…. easily. I wished that there was something about how it all ended that really made this book, but nope. You know that Ella got the idea for writing the story with XP from A Current Affair?!?! It was on TV then she just kept researching it! I found that pretty cool 🙂 Love the review.

  7. I have read a manga about a girl with XP and it was really interesting. It really made me feel bad, though. I’m kind of curious about this now. Adding it to my TBR!

  8. I’ve heard about XP but I’ve never read a book that features someone with it. AND THAT GIF! Omg Emily, I wasn’t expecting that ending either T___T I think it’s definitely an interesting concept, to base a mystery on a character that only lives at night. Sounds so mysterious and dark hehe. So glad you enjoyed this one, I’ll definitely check it out.

    P.S Sheep loving neighbours hehehe so true 😛

  9. Pingback: What Happened This Month: diverse book week, TFIOS movie and so much school | The Loony Teen Writer

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