Review: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

March 20, 2014 Reviews 16 ★★★½

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan
Series: Uninvited # 1
Published by HarperTeen on January 28, 2014
Pages: 284
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
three-half-stars
The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan's chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she's destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann.

I have no doubt that genetic testing will play a much bigger role in our future, and in Uninvited, Sophie Jordan examines the implications of the testing when it’s used to weed out “bad” individuals from society.  Uninvited is set in the near future when there is a major uptick in homicide.  Scientists discover a gene called HTS that makes carriers prone to violence, and these carriers are responsible for the majority of murders.  The solution seems obvious – separate the carriers from the general population and closely monitor them to prevent them from engaging in violence.  For Davy, the protagonist, all of this trouble seems worlds away.  She’s wealthy and privileged and from a loving family.  She attends the best private school and has the best (on paper, anyway) boyfriend.  When she is suddenly pulled out of school and informed that she carries the HTS gene, Davy’s world is upended.  She is “uninvited” from her posh private school and enrolled in a public school (the horror!), her boyfriend dumps her, and her friends, including her best friend, shun her.  Even her powerful father cannot help her.

At her new school, Davy is segregated from the “normal” students, and she attends class in a basement with a handful of other carriers, at least one of whom seems like a genuine sociopath.  But for the most part, they seem like typical teenagers, just like Davy.  She quickly befriends one of the carriers. and he tells her that she is in danger every waking moment.  Sure, she’s harassed by the sociopath, and the teacher/guard who sits outside the gated classroom is a major lech, but I didn’t get the sense of a terrible, ongoing danger.  (Not initially, anyway.)

I wish the ethics and impacts of this kind of genetic testing had been explored more in depth, but those issues are shoved to the side when hot Sean struts onto the scene.  I kind of groaned when he showed up, because he is your standard YA bad boy with a heart of gold, and what had been gearing up to be an interesting story instantly turned into a predictable romance.  The worst part of this was that Davy, who had started to show the first signs of blossoming from her sheltered life, suddenly became a helpless damsel in distress.  She was victimized by numerous awful men in numerous awful situations, and every time, Sean swooped in out of nowhere like Batman to rescue her.  There is nothing interesting about Sean, and I’ve read this identical character in YA too many times.  Davy becomes less interesting whenever Sean shares the page with her, and it’s hard not to roll your eyes at the pair.  It’s a shame, because this is otherwise a solid, engaging story.

Note: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Stephanie

16 Responses to “Review: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan”

  1. Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction

    Hmph, I’m not fond of the damsel in distress and the guy swooping in to save her. I guess because it’s been done so many times before. I hope for more. I’ve been interested in this book because I love the premise but I know I’d feel the same way when it shifted to the more typical YA trope. Great review!
    Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction recently posted…Review of Plus One by Elizabeth FamaMy Profile

    • Stephanie

      Maybe “swooping” isn’t even in the right word for this guy. He seemingly appears out of nowhere, like magic. Very aggravating.

    • Stephanie

      That’s a great question. Certainly readers respond to a strong heroine (like Katniss) who knows how to save herself. A little saving is OK, I suppose, but this was just over the top.

    • Stephanie

      If you can get past all of the rescue scenes, there’s an enjoyable story here. I hope you like it, Angel!

    • Stephanie

      I will check out the sequel, too. I know to be on the alert now for cliches!

    • Stephanie

      The Scarlet Letter comparison is a BIIIG stretch. I’d say that if the rest of the synopsis sounds appealing, you should give it a shot.

  2. Kel

    I’ll probably still give this one a read, but I am disappointed to hear the romance played such a big/annoying role. Batman is awesome but only in Gotham.

    • Stephanie

      LOL – very true! “Normal” guys need to behave normally – not like superheroes.

  3. Kelly L.

    Ha ha, I LOVE this sentence in your review: “I kind of groaned when he showed up, because he is your standard YA bad boy with a heart of gold, and what had been gearing up to be an interesting story instantly turned into a predictable romance.” Because that was my exact reaction too, but I was more like NOOOOOOO! Not this again!
    All the parts that where Sean saves Davy? I speed-read through that. Like, why can’t Davy be strong herself instead of relying on a guy to save her?
    Kelly L. recently posted…Stacking the Shelves [73]My Profile

    • Stephanie

      I know there are a lot of YA guys who behave like Sean, but THIS one just seemed so exaggerated. From his appearance, to his strong and silent mannerisms – it was just too much.

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