Cover Image: Ultraviolet


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Member Reviews

This book is a boys' Jude Blume. It's all about puberty, first loves, broken hearts, and family ties. I hope boys will pick this title up treasure it like girls did with Judy Blume.

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Ultraviolet is a modern coming-of-age and puberty story about a boy (and a Latino one at that), which is so rare in middle grade but so necessary. In particular, this story tackled the toxic masculinity and entitlement that leads to fights over a girl and sending suggestive pictures of a girl without her permission as revenge. These are issues I see as a middle school teacher but so rarely see MG fiction dare to go there. The story also is inclusive of LGBTQ identities despite having a straight cis cast, and there is a nonbinary mentor character.

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I could not finish past the halfway point to this book. I feel bad saying that but honestly, the story just did not have a plot. While the book contained a lot of important themes, it felt more preachy than emotionally engaging. The verse was absolutely stunning, but the main character and his story ultimately felt flat to me. I love the authors other books, and hope to read more from her in the future.

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This book was so well crafted. As a School Librarian working in a community primarily serving Hispanic students, this will be a great addition. Elio was such a believable and loveable narrator and stories like his are critically lacking. Salazar weaves together many important issues about growing up, puberty, first love, and consent in a way that does not feel didactic, but genuine.

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Dive into the vibrant world of Ultraviolet, a captivating middle-grade novel that breaks free from stereotypes and celebrates the full spectrum of boys' emotions.

In eighth grade, Elio Solis finds himself navigating a whirlwind of change, from the tumultuous tides of puberty to the complexities of first love. But when betrayal and heartbreak threaten to derail his world, Elio embarks on a journey of self-discovery, grappling with notions of masculinity, consent, and the true meaning of courage.

With poignant prose and heartwarming storytelling, Aida Salazar crafts a narrative that resonates deeply with readers, delving into themes of identity, vulnerability, and the power of empathy. Through Elio's eyes, we witness the highs and lows of adolescence, the bonds of friendship, and the importance of standing up for what's right.
I loved it.

How often do we get to see boys portrayed in full technicolor, with their emotions laid bare and their struggles explored? Ultraviolet offers a refreshing perspective, challenging stereotypes and inviting readers to embrace the complexity of their own experiences. It's a must-add to your bookshelves and a perfect choice for sparking meaningful discussions in your literacy spaces.

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I can see why Judy Blume is mentioned so often in conjunction with this text. This unflinchingly honest book looks at puberty in a modern and thoughtful way— much like Judy’s classic works.
The verse format, combined with authentic language makes this text both accessible and believable. Highly recommended.

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This book was a little too mature for my classroom given that it’s mostly elementary students checking out my book, but it would be perfect for middle schoolers. There don’t seem to be enough books written about relationships at this age from the male perspective. This one is important in showing what healthy relationships are and aren’t and is written in a way that speaks to students.

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Ultraviolet is going to be a strong, impactful book for many young readers, especially young male readers.

The story tackles many difficult situations and conversations that come up in young people’s lives, including puberty, mental health, emotions, and relationships - platonic and romantic.

Salazar created an authentic character with natural human responses to the situations he was experiencing.

Elio is forced to explore and challenge masculinity, practice consent, and learn to navigate heartbreak.

Though the beginning half of this book was a bit slow for me, I think the format, content, and relatability will make this a solid pick for junior-high-aged readers.

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Overall Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ (3/5) or 6.28/10 overall

Characters - 6
The characters in this book were interesting, but I didn't feel like I really got to know any of them besides Elio. I'm glad we got to see his self-growth over the course of the story, but the rest of the characters felt pretty stagnant.

Atmosphere - 7
The in-verse aspect of the book definitely helped to aid the atmosphere of the book. It made feelings and relationships more obvious to me. I think I could've been more pulled into the story if I could visualize it better, but unfortunately there wasn't a lot of description.

Writing - 6
The writing was decent and I honestly don't really have any else to add otherwise.

Plot - 6
Overall, the plot was pretty simple. I think the focus of the story was more on getting the emotion across rather than having a complex plot, which worked because I could certainly understand Elio's thoughts and feelings in the novel.

Intrigue - 7
I was intrigued by the description of this book, and then re-intrigued when I started it and learned that it was written in verse.

Logic - 6
The book was reasonably logical and cohesive - no glaring plot holes or anything.

Enjoyment - 6
I enjoyed parts of this book, especially the ideas of embracing masculinity without bashing femininity in the process. However, it felt a bit lacking in other areas that made it overall an ok book, but not an outstanding book. :)

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Elio is 13, dealing with puberty, and falling in love for the first time with Camelia. She shines so bright that he sees ultraviolet when she's around. Things are confusing for Elio as his mother wants him to embrace his feelings and discusses toxic masculinity with him while his father tells him to 'man up', takes him to cockfights, and tells him it's the 'Solis way'. Joining Brothers Rising, a father and son group for Latin men, helps Elio learn more about his Mexican culture, consent, puberty, and all the mixed feelings that get tangled up inside, like having his heart broken for the first time and learning how girls and women struggle in society because of the toxic masculinity his mom talks to him about. Salazar makes the verse conversational, relatable, and allows Elio's character and his feelings to burst from the page like the vivid colors he attributes to emotions and music. As the novel progresses, so does Elio, but his father, his friends, and his relationships with everyone around him. A much needed book talking about needed topics for young male tweens and teens as they deal with their bodies changes and learning to deal with society around them in a most positive manner.

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This had everything that I was expecting from the description. It had everything that I was looking for from the genre and it was a great overall feel to it. I was enjoying getting to know the characters and their world. Aida Salazar has a great writing style for this type of book and enjoyed reading this.

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Ultraviolet is a deeply necessary novel in verse about a middle school boy experiencing first love. He has to learn how to "be a man" without leaning into to toxic masculinity that he's been taught, despite his mom's best efforts. There are also super honest moments about consent, both through unwanted advances and through things being shared online and through text.

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This was a quick, poetic read and I thoroughly enjoyed it mainly because we need more books like this in the middle grade scene.

Salazar has written a narrative verse story about an 8th grade boy named Elio who falls in love for the first time with Camelia, who makes his world ultra violet. But, as he delves into boyfriend hood, puberty, and middle school, Elio starts to learn more about toxic masculinity, consent, machismo, heartbreak, and doing the right thing.

I like how normalized the gender spectrum is in this book, especially in the scene with the ceremonial Temazcal (sweat lodge) with the nonbinary indigenous elder. I think it highlights the way that being nonbinary is not a new, trendy thing, but a concept that has existed in the world (all over the world) for a long time.

I also like how Salazar easily weaves in the Latinx, bilingual culture, too.

I think it's a perfect read for middle school and wish it had existed when my youngest brother was in this stage of his life.

A special thanks to Aida Salazar, Scholastic, and NetGalley for this Advanced Reader's Copy in exchange for my honest review as an educator.

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This is really lovely. It addresses issues of young adulthood in an intersectional way that I will, I think, meet a lot of boys and young men where they are.

This book is for middle schoolers what Lamar Giles’ Not So Pure and Simple tackles for high schoolers. Ultraviolet isn’t a didactic lesson, and none of the main characters “get it right,” but they’re all learning together. Elio messes up repeatedly, but you can always see where he’s coming from. The situations he finds himself in are familiar ones, but I haven’t read many books for boys in this age category that address these topics. This book takes a Latine-specific route to the solution. The idea of boys learning and growing together within a community of men who are still figuring out their own flaws is an empowering one. I like that this book exists.

I wish the end had been a bit more robust so that we could have seen a bit more resolution in terms of action and not just words. I’m also not sure how I feel about the introduction of Elio’s disability that feels like a metaphor… it serves a role in the plot that feels kind of strange and forced. I’m not quite sure how to articulate this, other than to say that it felt more like a plot device than something Elio reconciled into his expanding idea of masculinity, if that makes sense. As a result, it made the end of the book feel slightly off for me.

Overall, I think this is a solid middle grade/early YA read for boys, with a relatable main character who struggles with the role of masculinity in his life, and how to process his Big Feelings. As the blurb states, it explores another way to be, and differentiates between masculinity and *toxic* masculinity. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this book as an ARC.

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A novel in verse featuring a male, Indigenous Mexican American MC, Elio, as he starts eighth grade and learns to deal with first love, heartbreak, puberty, masculinity, and vulnerability. Ultraviolet shines for its sometimes angsty, sometimes deeply thoughtful, and often witty first-person voice--which to me felt like an authentic representation of the 8th grade male mind (farts and growing pains included). Salazar really grapples with what it means to be a young man today, to respect women in a world of machismo sensibilities. I was especially taken by the scenes of the Brothers Rising group, depicting an Indigenous approach to ritual and relationship. This book felt familiar as a depiction of adolescence while being fully relevant to today, dealing with issues of feminism, patriarchy, queerness (if minimal), and social media--even tackling the dangerous impact of an influencer akin to a real figure many will be familiar with.

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I enjoyed reading this book! It reminded me of Judy Blume's "Are You There God? It's Me Margaret" but for young men. The author prefaced a good point about how there aren't many or any books that touch on the topics of boys coming of age in middle school, how they have just as many questions and "fears" as girls do as they learn to mature and grow with their bodies and friendships.

Written in verse this book is a fast read and hard to put down. You feel the same emotions from Elio coming through the words as he explains his thoughts and feelings. It reminded me of how some people see things differently. Some people see words or sounds/music as colors, numbers as colors, and so on.

Definitely a must-have for all libraries. Would be a great read-aloud for a class going through health class. A great way to bring up topics that may be hard for others to express and Elio is a great person to help others' voices come through.

@AidaSalazar @aida_writes #Ultraviolet #VerseNovels #AidaWrites #SchoolLibrary #SchoolLibrarians #ReadABook #Books #Read #MGReads MGBooks #MGLit #KidLit #KidLit #ElementaryBooks #ElemReads #NetGalley

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I loved this book! The honesty surrounding puberty, toxic masculinity, growing up and breaking generational trauma is written so well. The MC's voice is at times humerous but heartfelt.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review an advanced reader copy of this gorgeous novel in verse. Salazar has written a book that challenges traditional views on masculinity while also acknowledging the very real vulnerabilities young boys go through as they confront first love, heartbreak, health issues, and puberty, filling a much needed gap in a literary cannon that until now has largely ignored the struggles of Latine tween boys. A must read!

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Ultraviolet by Aida Salazar is already one of my favorite books of 2024. When I was entering middle school, I read a lot of Judy Blume and Ann M. Martin books because they wrote about real growing pains that my friends and I were experiencing. Now I can add Ultraviolet to that group of stories that encapsulates what it's like to be 13, developing first crushes, heartbreak, and learning how to navigate your emotions without hurting others.

In this novel in verse, Salazar follows Elio, a Mexican-American boy who has a core group of friends and looks to his dad to teach him what it means to "be a man." According to his dad, it's not allowing yourself to feel any negative emotions and to embrace a macho attitude. Thankfully, Elio's mother steps in and gently guides him to fully embrace the changes he's going through and to allow himself the time and space to heal from being hurt. Elio's two younger sisters, who typically get on his nerves, turn up for him when he is at his lowest point.

My favorite part of this book is how Salazar writes authentically from the perspective of teenagers. Their dialogue is completely believable, even using the most up-to-date slang of our current times: "no cap" and "rizz" make their way into the conversations throughout the story. She also weaves in the power of social media, group chats, and consent into the tale as Elio faces big decisions over how to deal with his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend who is taunting him. Elio's problems are realistic so readers can possibly work through similar issues they are having through the story.

As a teacher, parent, and school librarian, I would highly recommend this book to upper middle grade readers (6th grade and up). The story's open and honest conversations about bodies and hormones between the grownups and teenagers can show readers how to respectfully have these important conversations by using accurate language and some humor, at times. I also appreciate Salazar showcasing a broad range of side characters who are also dealing with similar coming-of-age feelings. The last part that I especially enjoyed is how much Spanish is used in the story. Being an immigrant myself, I can attest that hearing your ancestral language is powerful, using it yourself is even more moving, and finally seeing it printed in a published book is beyond feeling seen. It signifies your experience as a person with a another language and cultural background that is just as a part of your identity as any other part.

Be sure to checkout this novel as it is released in April of 2024 and Salazar's other books. She is a master storyteller who will have you laughing at one point and reaching for the tissues at another. For a read-alike to this book, I suggest the young adult book by Lamar Giles, Not So Pure and Simple.

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"Ultraviolet is a fresh novel-in-verse examining the dangers of toxic masculinity, navigating romantic relationships, consent, and friendship. I truly empathize with Elio—first, with his feelings of bursting love, and later, with his angst. Salazar includes a number of timely and relevant teen topics without ever feeling didactic: lots of Elio’s thoughts are about physical changes associated with puberty, consent, social media, and gender. Yes: the words ‘cap’ and ‘rizz’ are also in there. The story is written from Elio’s sole perspective, which means we miss out on knowing exactly what Camelia is feeling except through her direct dialogue. However, standing (in discomfort) in Elio’s shoes with his conflicting feelings is quite effective. I can’t recall having read many other stories that cover these topics from a middle school cisgender boy’s perspective, and certainly not in this accessible verse format. Recommended for addition to middle school collections."

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