Author: Sophie Jordan
Synopsis: 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.
Huge thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for the advance copy of this book.
This is my first taste of Sophie Jordan’s work. I had heard from friends that a lot of her books have amazing ideas but are usually plagued by romances taking the forefront over whatever story she is attempting to tell. The Uninvited has a interesting premise: teens can test positive for homicidal tendencies and are sent away to be rehabilitated so that they don’t use their “killing powers.” I admit, I actually thought that was a rather fun way to base a dystopian world.
This book reminded me a bit of The Darkest Minds in that much like Ruby, Davy is marked as a potential killer and has to find ways to cope with her abilities. What makes the two different is that Davy acts more like a ticking time-bomb — she doesn’t actually know when the killing gene is going to take her, where as Ruby grows into her disaster and embraces a lot of it. The worlds are vastly, different, but this small similarity really stuck out for me as I was reading this book.
I actually like Davy a lot. I think she is someone you can easily sympathize with because she went from having everything to having nothing in the blink of an eye. Furthermore, how she is treated by her peers was just completely disgusting, and frankly I don’t know who was worse between Tori or that loser boyfriend of hers. I just wish she also didn’t find the clueless ugly-girl-who-is-actually-hot stereotype because there were instances where that really showed — especially in some of her decisions.
One interesting aspect I loved in Uninvited was Jordan’s insertions of medical data, speeches, pamphlets, etc, because they do give you a sense of what the world is about and what is slowly happening to the youth within it. But this brings me to my main issue with the story: the world-building does lack clarity. In fact, for the most part this world feels insanely normal up until the middle of the novel where suddenly it becomes more of a dystopia because of Davy being shoved into a training camp.
However, its not that dystopian if you think about it considering, yes there are murderous teens with a killing gene, but other than that the world continues to function with such normalcy that I didn’t get the sense of of dread that perhaps I was looking for. I feel like the sense of fear came more so in the second half of the book, where it was trying to build a sense of direction, but the first half of the book kinda kills that emotion because it has the high school melodrama. So I guess my biggest question is: is this a realistic dystopia or is it the beginnings of what could be a dystopia. I honestly wasn’t sure a lot of the time.
And then there’s the constant desire of a lot of the male characters in this story wanting to “rape” her which I wasn’t fond of. In fact, I get how scary it is, but was that constantly necessary? I also wish Davy wasn’t as clueless and its a trope in YA I am not fond of: the good girl who’s super attractive but doesn’t believe it and then male characters are like “what, hawt girl, penis thinking.” I’m over that. I wish this novel didn’t include a lot of that because those moments were the times I was most frustrated with the story. It’s not excessive, but it was certainly noticeable.
I think Uninvited has a lot of potential, but definitely has areas where there’s room to improve. I do think the world-building needs stronger explanations and I wish there was more characterization for certain people. That being said, the ideas are really solid, but I think I was looking for more than I got within this dystopian story. Still, I am interested to see where Jordan may go with this series.