Book Review: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Posted January 5, 2014 by Kara in book review / 16 Comments

Book Review:  Uninvited by Sophie JordanUninvited by Sophie Jordan
Series: Uninvited #1
Published by Harper Teen on January 28th, 2014
Genres: dystopia, science fiction, young adult
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

From New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan, Uninvited is a chilling and suspenseful story about a girl whose DNA brands her as a killer, perfect for fans of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and Confessions of a Murder Suspect.Davy had everything—a terrific boyfriend, the homecoming crown, a bright future at Juilliard—but when her genetic tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome, she loses it all. Uninvited from her prestigious school and avoided by her friends and family, she is placed in a special class with other

You know when you’re reading a Sophie Jordan book that you can expect two things: action, and a super-sexy romance.  Uninvited absolutely delivered on both fronts.  The world-building wasn’t perfect, and Davy annoyed me for the first half of the book, but I very much enjoyed this first installment of a new dystopian series.

Right away I want to talk about Sean O’Rourke, because Yes.  All of the yes.  As with her previous YA series, Firelight, Jordan was able to craft a bad-boy love interest who was not a douche bag. And in the world of YA, where abusers are cleverly dressed up in abs and violet eyes, Sean was a breath of fresh air.  While Davy lived in the suburbs, in her huge house, her luxury car, and other privileges, Sean was from a poor neighborhood, living in a foster family with a bunch of other “carriers” – kids who also were identified as carrying the Kill Gene.  He wore the evidence of being a carrier on his body, in the form of a tattoo that is forced onto carriers who have acted out in violence before.  Davy at first is afraid of him – not through anything that he has actually done to her, but because of all the prejudice and stigma that is attached to being a carrier.  But really, he was just a big, sexy teddy bear.  I don’t really know how to pinpoint it exactly, but he was protective without being condescending or treating Davy like a child, and he was tough and hardened without being a bully.  It was wonderful.

Davy, on the other hand, was irritating for a lot of the book.  Most of this had to do with her family and her tightly sheltered upbringing.  Like I said before, she lived a very privileged life, having never come in contact with any of the crime from the big cities or any carriers.  I did love that she had passions, especially in her music, and that that passion pervaded every inch of her life.  We actually get to witness Davy using music to make her feel better and to help her get through troubling times.  But I hated the way she turned from pretty normal to batshit insane with no warning.  Sometimes she would be in control of her thoughts, and able to think rationally about what it means to be a carrier.  Other times, she hated herself and looked down her nose at the other carriers around her.  I understand that her telling herself she is not Them was a coping mechanism to help her deal with trauma, but it still didn’t sit well with me.

The entire idea behind Uninvited is kind of terrifying.  Scientist have isolated a gene in our DNA that predicts homicidal behavior before the behavior is ever carried out.  All around the world, countries are having their citizens tested and our dealing with the carriers as they see fit.  Predictably, the US has gone crazy about it.  The government has been taken over by private companies that handle carriers in truly horrifying ways, stripping away their rights before a crime is ever committed.  There are internment camps.  And while there is an overwhelming sense of dread and horror throughout the book, and the idea truly does freak me out, I did have a hard time believing the US would go that way.  These ideas of monitoring, internment camps, identifying, and otherwise brutalizing carriers seems entirely in opposition of the direction our country is moving right now. And to let a private company strip away citizens’ rights is very scary.  I simply had a hard time believing it could happen; but honestly, I don’t have any ideas of my own when I think about it, so I guess Jordan’s are as good as any.

There were some strange pop-culture references that just didn’t need to be in the text.  For instance, when Davy’s parents met, her father apparently looked like a young Brad Pitt – and Davy had no idea who Brad Pitt was.  But later on she goes on to talk about watching Glee.  Either Jordan has very optimistic hopes for Glee’s staying power, or there was a strange miscalculation in the timeline.

I know this review sounds negative, but I actually quiet enjoyed reading Uninvited.  There is a mixture here of scary ideas, and Sophie Jordan’s signature swoon-worthy romance.  This fast-paced novel will keep you on the edge of your seat, for sure, wondering what horrible new thing is going to happen to Davy next.  The cliffhanger ending leaves the reader dying to know what’s to come.  I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel!


16 responses to “Book Review: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

  1. Bekka, I felt the same way! In my review of this one – going up tomorrow, I think – I kept wondering what happened to human rights activists? It seems so strange for these situations to be occurring with little resistance at all. I do like the concept, but I also felt as if aspects of this story left gaping holes of world-building that I hope get filled with the sequel. Great review!

  2. I think I have this lined up to read somewhere on my calendar (I’m scared to look at my schedule, so I’m not going to), but I am a bit less excited about it now. I cannot stand world-building that requires too much suspension of disbelief, and this sounds like it’s necessary. *scratches head* At least the cover is nice?

    Fabulous review, by the way!

    • Oh, I’m right there with you. There are just SO MANY books coming out in the next 6 weeks or so and it’s a little overwhelming!

      I know that you like science fiction and a lot of that is world-building. Uninvited is much more character-focused – though that isn’t an excuse. I have a feeling that, like most books, the world will be drawn more clearly in the sequel, but that does not excuse a failed concept in book one. Hopefully you do end up liking it though, if only for the freshness of the idea and for the romance.

      The cover is beautiful! I’d love to see it in person.

  3. Sounds interesting. I didn’t really like Sophie Jordan’s Firelight series, so I’m not sure whether to read Uninvited. It has an interesting premise, but it does sound a little unbelievable. Also, I’m a little sick of the rich girl/poor guy storyline. Great review though!

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

    • I don’t often come into contact with that particular trope, so it was something almost “new” to me. But I can see how seeing the same of anything over and over again could get tiring. I also wasn’t the biggest fan of Firelight (I think the series got progressively worse as each book was published) but I did love her characters, in particular, Cassian.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Oooh I had no idea what this one was about but it sounds really good! I am all for a big sexy teddy bear and now I really want to meet Sean! It’s too bad Davy bothered you for the majority of the book but I am happy to see that it didn’t hinder the entire novel for you. Thanks for sharing, Bekka!

    • Davy grows throughout the novel, so I’d say if it bothers you in the beginning, definitely try to give her a chance. She’s not perfect or anything, but she does get better.

      I absolutely loved Sean. I loved that Jordan was able to capture the dangerousness of a bad-boy love interest without making him actually dangerous to the heroine. It can sometimes be a pretty tough line to toe, but I think the author nailed it.

  5. Gah, those two pop culture references really bugged my brain, haha. Glee better not still be popular in 20+ years! 😉

    I also had a bit of a hard time really believing the premise. There is the whole genetics problem of it’s very unlikely one gene like that exists, but also that the US would really go that far. I at least hope they wouldn’t!

    • Some parts of the novel definitely fly in the face of everything the US stands for. No matter your political affiliation, I think we can all agree that we don’t want the government taking away our rights. We especially don’t want the government selling our rights to private companies. Like another commenter said above, what happened to all the human rights activists?

  6. I don’t really like too many pop culture refs in books I read. I know its normal cos they’re teens, but usually, they’re either nonexistent or overdone. lol.

    Glad you liked this one! I have it on kindle and I’m itching to get my hands on it as soon as I’m done with all my other review books… blurgh.

    And that comment about the “sexy teddy bear” made me laugh and snort and do all kinds of LOLs. Hehe.

    Awesome review! I wanna see more of you on this blog, Bekka <333

    • Since this was an ARC, I’m hoping that further editing will smooth out the kinks in the pop-culture references. I hope.

      I know exactly what you mean when it comes to review titles. I don’t even want to THINK about the size of my to-review TBR pile right now. *hides*

      Hahahah, I’m glad I could make you laugh! There’s seriously no other way to describe Sean. He’s got that toughened exterior going on, but he’s really just a softie 🙂

      Thank you, Nova! 😀

  7. I pretty much had the exact same reaction. It was only in the second part that Davy became tolerable. It was fun while it lasted, like you said but I hated that ending. And sexy teddy bear *snort* has to be one made out of hardboard abs.

    • Yeah, I wish there had been more substance to the ending. I guess I just wish Davy had been more involved in everything that went down, but then that would require further world-building and that was just lacking.

  8. A bad boy that’s *actually* likeable? Well, well, well, that is indeed a surprise, but I get what you mean as once I fell in love with a bad boy (Fire with Fire) because he wasn’t actually a douchebag as many others deemed him to be. Looks like I need to give this book a second look 😛

    Faye @ The Social Potato

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