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Uninvited by Sophie Jordan eARC {3 Stars}

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan has a premise that reminded me a lot of Minority Report, but for YA, and in some ways it does deliver on that. Uninvited is set in a future where a gene has been identified that is associated with murderous tendencies and all people in the US are gradually being forced to be tested for that gene. I really wanted Uninvited to have some interesting insight into nature versus nurture, and while it did make me think about that dichotomy somewhat, it didn’t quite go as far as I wanted regarding how reliable a killer gene might be as a predictor of a person’s life.

Note: I received an eARC of Uninvited through Edelweiss for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan eARC {3 Stars}

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan (Uninvited #1)
Published by HarperTeen on Jan. 28th, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Sci-fi, YA
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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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.

3 Stars

Strengths:

  • Davy is the main character of Uninvited and she goes through some interesting character development. I thought it was quite realistic that just because she is diagnosed with having the killer gene, doesn’t mean she instantly becomes a kick-butt heroine. She remains a fairly innocent teenage girl for much of Uninvited, until circumstances push her to extremes.
  • I love sci-fi premises that ask interesting questions, and Uninvited asks a fascinating question about human nature. We’re all still trying to figure out how much of a person comes from their genes and how much comes from the environment they are in. I hope that the future doesn’t come to rely on genetics as much as Uninvited’s world does, but it’s a good warning to keep in mind.
  • There is a bad boy romance angle, but I actually liked it for once! In Uninvited, the bad boy is another person with the killer gene, so he is considered dangerous from the start, but Davy gets the chance to find out the truth about him throughout Uninvited.
  • Uninvited is quite fast-paced. I was reading it while traveling for the holidays and it was a great book to keep me entertained through those long car rides ;-).

Weaknesses:

  •  I was really concerned with how the ending would be wrapped up and it is literally wrapped up in about 10 pages. It was waaaay too convenient and didn’t really demand any initiative on Davy’s part.
  • As a biologist, I have a hard time buying the premise of Uninvited. We know today already that genes heavily interact with a person’s environment and we haven’t been able to find any specific genes for personality traits. I really hope that if we ever did find a gene associated with violent tendencies, we’d keep in mind all the people with that gene that made it through life without criminal charges and all the criminal without the gene.
  • The plot of Uninvited felt pretty disjointed and undirected. Davy was basically just reacting to all the consequences of having this killer gene and never really had a goal of any kind. Additionally, Uninvited is separated into two parts, which are very different in tone and didn’t really seem to fit together into one book.
  • The interesting question regarding human nature that Uninvited poses is never really answered. Davy is put through these horrible situations and starts believing that she is a killer, but really anyone in that situation would start to break in my opinion. I wanted Davy to realize that how she was being treated probably had a lot more to do with her reactions than any gene. Human behavior experiments have shown that if you treat people like criminals, they are much more likely to become criminals.
  • There are some weird pop culture references in Uninvited that just make no sense from a chronological perspective. If I recall correctly, Davy doesn’t know who Brad Pitt is, but watches reruns of Glee. In a couple of generations, I really doubt we’ll still be watching reruns of any shows currently playing.

Summary:

Uninvited has a lot of potential, but I just didn’t feel that it delivered on that potential. It was fun to read due to the fast-pacing and relate-ability of Davy as a character, but it didn’t take the sci-fi to the next level to move beyond a fun YA read. If the premise sounds intriguing and you aren’t worried about the sci-fi aspect, definitely give Uninvited a read. However, don’t go in expecting Uninvited to deliver on a strong sci-fi element.

3 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. This is such a great review. I totally agree that the ending was over waaaay too fast, and it’s definitely light on the scifi/world-building aspects as well. I still enjoyed it (3.5 stars), but you’re right–it’s more romance and entertainment then scifi. I can see how your background would make this more difficult to accept, too.
    Wendy Darling recently posted…The Science Behind THE LOST PLANET: guest post + giveawayMy Profile

    • Thank you so much!!! Haha, yeah, I sometimes worry that I should try not to evaluate books with my science brain on, but then I remind myself that that is impacting my enjoyment, so why not talk about it ;-)

  2. The possibility for bad science completely scared me off of reading this one. The idea sounds fascinating, but completely implausible to me.
    Katie @ Doing Dewey recently posted…How to Write ShortMy Profile

  3. haha wrapped up in ten pages? wow. Ok now you have to remember you have to try not to let your knowledge of something ruin your enjoyment. But I can’t talk I do the same thing with lab related stuff or military type books but then I’m not really into military type books so thats a win for me.

    I still hope to read this one but it wasn’t high on my list anyhow thank goodness.
    Pabkins recently posted…Review: Cracked by Eliza CreweMy Profile

  4. Jessica @ a GREAT read says:

    OOh nice review! I was kind of wondering more about the world and feel to it. That you mention it isn’t really a read of sci-fi quality is interesting. I would’ve thought that that element play a larger part in the story. But oh well! Still curious to read this one as the majority of reviews I’ve read have been positive in the overall sense! Great review!

  5. Hmm…I seem to be seeing a lot of mixed feelings about this book. The lack of clear goal does sound a little annoying, though perhaps believable after your whole life is upended. I read Jana’s review of this earlier today (http://www.thatartsyreadergirl.com/2014/01/uninvited-by-sophie-jordan-book-review/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thatartsyreadergirl%2FGCXI+%28That+Artsy+Reader+Girl%29) and it had me wondering if, along with the nature v. nurture themes, this was also a world where the government believed genetics trumped free will.

    And, I feel like a geek, but I want to see the studies/stats they conducted to find this “killer” gene. It sounds like something that would lend itself more to correlation than causation. Eh, either way, stats don’t lie; statisticians do. ;)
    Kel @ No Cucumber Sandwiches recently posted…No Cucumber Updates 1/26/14My Profile

    • So they have stats throughout the book of the number of murderers with the gene, but it is no where near all murders, plus I’m sure there would eventually be people with the gene that never murdered. This doesn’t even get into the fact that all human behavior is super complicated and no geneticist would ever decide that one tiny gene made someone a murder or not, gah!

  6. The reviews for this one are all over the place. I am on the fence about it. I will probably pick it up on audiobook. I find the gene thing fascinating but I agree that if we ever found one that we would have to keep in mind that a person can have something and not act on it. Frightening concept if we were to judge on that alone.
    Felicia the Geeky Blogger recently posted…2014 Winter Mini-BloggiestaMy Profile

    • I’ve noticed that too! I think a lot of my weaknesses came from my preference for harder sci-fi, and Uninivited is kind of a thriller/contemporary/light sci-fi.

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