Series: Uninvited #1
Published by Harper Teen on January 28th, 2014
Genres: dystopia, science fiction, young adult
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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!