BOOK REPORT for Uninvited (Uninvited #1) by Sophie Jordan


Cover Story: Wingardium Leviosa

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BFF Charm: Natalie Imbruglia

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Talky Talk: Near-Realism

Bonus Factors: Familiar Territory, Mysterious Loner Dude

Anti-Bonus Factors: Discrimination, Uncertain Time Period

Relationship Status: Sympathetic Non-Carrier

 Uninvited - Sophie Jordan

Cover Story: Wingardium Leviosa

The good part: I like what’s going on with her hair. The hints of DNA strands are working for me.

The WTF part: WHY IS SHE FLOATING? This is one of the weirdest positions I’ve ever seen on a YA cover, and that’s saying something. I get that the hair is supposed to be the focal point, but girl is white. Against a dark background and wearing a dark shirt, her skin really stands out, and makes it very apparent that she’s just kind of hanging out midair. She looks comfortable enough, I suppose.

The Deal:

Crime rates in the U.S. are on the rise, and scientists have discovered a direct correlation between violent offenders and a gene in the human body. This gene, carried by a random group of humans, results in Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS). Testing for the “kill gene” is on the rise, and those with the gene—regardless of if they’ve ever done anything violent—are given case workers and treated as less than human.

Born into privilege and a child prodigy with nearly any musical instrument, Davy Hamilton lives a life of ease, even in a world that seems to be coming apart at the seams. She attends a fancy private school, has the hottest guy in school for a boyfriend and has already been accepted into Juilliard. Her life is going perfectly, all according to plan. Until, that is, she finds out that she’s an HTS carrier—and everything goes to crap.

BFF Charm: Natalie Imbruglia

On the one hand, Davy has it rough. She had a perfect life that got ripped from her, and she could do absolutely nothing about it. She went from being respected and well-liked to being an outcast in a matter of minutes. So I can totally understand how she would be kind of “woe is me” about the situation. I certainly wouldn’t be happy were I in her shoes.

On the other hand, this pitiful attitude got seriously grating by the end of the book. There were times when I thought she was coming out of it, and trying to make the most of the life she was forced into, but then she’d go back to being a victim. I suppose I should give the girl props for trying to fight back against an unbeatable opponent, but I would have liked to see more fire behind her actions.

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

You might think a book about a girl with Homicidal Tendency Syndrome might be a bit dry. You’d be mistaken. Davy manages, amidst the discrimination and under the watchful eyes of society, to steal moments for herself with a very deserving dude. Sophie Jordan, who has written adult romance novels in addition to YA, certainly knows how to show, not tell. (But I promise, there are no Lucilles, Lizs or Lorelais involved.)

Talky Talk: Near-Realism

In Uninvited, Sophie Jordan has created a world that’s just close enough to our reality to make me uncomfortable. The themes, although dressed in the guise of science fiction (i.e., humans having a “kill gene”) all resonate. As a whole, humanity can be a huge bunch of jerks, particularly when faced with the unknown, and Jordan holds no punches as she describes the lengths the people of her world will go to protect the “good” of society. Sadly, Davy’s a nondescript (and somewhat boring) narrator, so the story suffered a bit.

Bonus Factor: Familiar Territory

Davy lives in a suburb of San Antonio, Texas, a place that—because of my day job in Texas education and living in Austin—I hear a lot about. Knowing about the area helped me visualize Davy’s world a bit better.

Bonus Factor: Mysterious Loner Dude

Jordan’s description of Uninvited’s MLD is one of the best descriptions of the trope I’ve ever read:

I turn to follow Mom from the cubicle but pause as someone else steps inside the small space. Saunters really.

My gaze moves over him unevenly, jerking along the long body. The legs, waist, chest. He’s more muscular than Zac. And taller. Fighter’s build floats through my head.

I glance up at his face, survey the strong lines. Even if his face isn’t the perfection you see in the movies or on magazine covers, there’s no doubt that he’s hot. His brows are thick over deeply set eyes. The nose looks like it’s been broken. His hair is too long, almost to his shoulders, and I suspect he himself might have hacked the dark blond strands framing his face shorter.

He’s got that confidence that always attracts females. Features carved from stone, but a body relaxed and at ease. Suddenly, I remember a line from Julius Caesar. As my gaze crawls over him, the words come back: … a lean and hungry look … such men are dangerous.

Um, yes please.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Discrimination

People who are HTS carriers are, basically, no longer people. They’re a lower class of life form. They’re seen as dangerous, no matter if they’ve never even killed a fly. Sophie isn’t even allowed to go to regular class at school; she and her fellow carriers are segregated into a basement room with walls made out of chain-link fencing. As the book progresses, the discrimination only gets worse.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Uncertain Time Period

In the beginning of Uninvited, Davy questions her mom’s description of her father as a “young Brad Pitt” with a “whoever that was.” This made me think that it was set in the nearish future, which goes along nicely with the advances in science. However, near the end of the book, Davy talks about watching reruns of Glee. Unless this is a jab at the show and the fact that it should have ended a couple of seasons ago (because it really should have), and yet keeps going, I’m confused. (Perhaps this is just a fault of an advanced reader’s copy?)

Casting Call:

Kate Bosworth as Davy

OK, yes, the fact that the girl on the cover kind of looks like her at first glance swayed my casting choice. I do, however, think Kate would be right for the character in the book as well.

Relationship Status: Sympathetic Non-Carrier

Although you made me frustrated with having to be part of such a jerkstore race, Book, I appreciate that you weren’t afraid to weave me a story of how judging a book by its cover is never a good idea. Sometimes it can be hard to look beneath the surface, and to look past predisposed notions, but it’s vital that we—as individual members of a stereotypically jerkish race—try our hardest to do so. I just wish your narrator wasn’t so tedious.

Uninvited is available now.

Mandy lives in Austin, TX, where she's an editor/writer for an educational non-profit by day and a pop culture junkie by night. When she's not ensconced in a book forForever Young Adult, Mandy can be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.