Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading … Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Monday, December 16, 2013

Just Finished Reading … Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Uninvited
by Sophie Jordan
To be published on January 7, 2014
by Harper Teen

Source: Thanks to HarperTeen for allowing me to read an e-ARC from Edelweiss.

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

My take:  There were things I really liked about Uninvited. First, it had a super-cool premise  -- the discovery of a murderer gene -- that gave me a lot to think about on issues of nature vs. nurture, free will, and the effects of prejudice and being socially stigmatized.

I also liked the fact that the book shows us what Davy's life was like before her test results -- she's a carefree high school student, a talented musician with loving parents and an adoring boyfriend -- and her life slowly unravels in the wake of her discovery that she tested positive for HTS (Homicidal Tendency Syndrome.) That part of the story was gripping, and Davy is very sympathetic.

But after that, the plot sort of stalled out for me. Davy hits what seems to be a low point, and I was waiting for her to fight her way back, but that didn't really happen. Instead -- highlight for mild plot spoiler -- as a result of her musical ability, Davy along with a group of other teens, is  hand-picked for "special training" in New Mexico instead of being sent to a detention camp. I was expecting that in this training, Davy's musical ability would come into play. But no, they want the kids to train as fighters. Her musical talent never has much to do with anything, and the talents the other kids have include … speaking Spanish. Because, you know, no one in New Mexico knows how to speak Spanish. This all made no sense to me.

At times, I felt that the book suffered from IBS -- implausible book syndrome. You know-- when a book makes sense while you are reading it and then a friend asks you about it, and you can't explain the book and make it sound logical?  That's how I began to feel about Uninvited. I enjoyed it well enough while I was reading it, but upon further reflection there were many things that didn't hold together for me.

The book is set in 2021, but the response to the HTS makes it feel like society has gone low-tech: all the people who tested positive are rounded up and isolated.  I kept waiting for some creepy futuristic responses --  drug implants, surveillance, forced sterilization or medical experimentation -- but it often felt like the book took place during the Black Plague in the 1300s. The book's genetics terminology also confused me. Davy was repeatedly called a "carrier," and I thought that term should have only applied to her parents, who were unwitting recessive carriers of the HTS gene.

Some of Davy's actions also made no sense to me. She's a sheltered, wealthy suburban girl, so I liked the fact that she started out trusting and naive. But, as the book's summary indicates, Davy's boyfriend (and all her friends) dump her when he finds out she tested positive for HTS, and I expected that this would have made her a little less trusting of people in general and guys in particular. Nope -- she latches right onto a new guy, someone she knows next to nothing about. In addition to her HTS, Davy also clearly has a bad case of CGS -- clingy girl syndrome.

In sum, Uninvited did have some gripping moments, but I wished that the book had delved more into the interesting issues raised by the premise instead of turning to the predictable sheltered girl/tattooed boy romance I've seen a lot  lately and a training sequence that seemed mainly to be a set-up for a subsequent book. If you're a reader who is a stickler for detail and logic, this may not be the book for you. But the book did have its high points for me, so if the premise appeals to you, give it a try and see what you think!

29 comments:

  1. I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this one or not. I liked some of the plot points but just had a feeling it might not be for me. I think, from your review, that I would enjoy it but it is not necessary to add it to the pile of books I have needing to be read. Hrm, wishing she didn't attach to another guy immediately. I think if I had the gene to kill I'd be thinking a lot less about romance. Thank you for the honest review.

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    1. In a way I could understand why she did it -- she feels like she needs a protector and he provides that. But the book couldn't seem to decide whether to make her embrace the whole I-am-a-killer thing and be badass, or keep being her sensitive musician self. It got all muddled up for me...

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  2. Hmmm, will there be a second book? If so, there may be a reason why things aren't fully explained yet. Still it sounds good. Great review.

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    1. Yes -- and I'm beginning to hate when the first book feels incomplete because that does not encourage me to keep reading...

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  3. I will definitely read this one it sounds mysteriously intriguing!

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  4. I have this one as well, but haven't gotten to read it yet. Sorry to hear it wasn't that good. Hopefully, I will like it better.

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  5. IBS, CGS...you must write a review all in code!! I love it lol

    You touched on something that has really hit home with me this past year - I was so much more lenient when i just read a book for fun. Now that I discuss them and write reviews I often find flaws that wouldn't have even occurred to me before. That's why I don't always review books I love anymore. I like to just keep them to myself before I start picking them apart.

    I'm not really sure how I would feel about this one. Sounds like an awesome concept but I'm pretty sure I would be irritated by the same things.

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    1. I got into the acronyms!

      I did like the concept but just wished it hadn't been so romance-y. It felt like The Scarlet Letter crossed with Divergent.

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  6. I haven't gotten round to this one still. sounds like it could be a hit or miss. If it made no sense to you it's unlikely to make much sense to me!

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  7. I agree that this was pretty implausible on the surface, but I took it metaphorically and I thought it raised some very interesting questions, especially about mass hysteria and our reaction to fear. All in all, it made me think a lot, which is always appreciated.
    Great review!

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    1. The concept did make me think -- I just wish the rest of it had been more coherent!

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  8. The premise definitely appeals to me! Just....eh, I don't like it when books are implausible. I spend too much time picking them apart. I LOVE that her name is Davy! That's awesome. :)

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    1. I really try not to do that, but I think science fiction requires a certain amount of logic. Funny about her name -- I read two books back to back with characters named Davy/Davey. I got a little confused!!

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  9. I am torn. The premise sounds very interesting but (and I did highlight for the mild spoiler) I am really worried I would be disappointed by where the story went and by some of the same issues you had wanted to see explored more.

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    1. I just didn't love the turn it took midway. But try it and see what you think!

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  10. ugh I was actually so excited for this book! It's so disappointing to hear that it didn't make sense for you later on... I really hope at least I would able to make sense of it. great review!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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    1. Well, hopefully you'll love it -- a lot of people on Goodreads seem to have enjoyed it more than I did!

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  11. I love the idea of labeling something with IBS-I've definitely had that happen to me a few times when I'm trying to explain my latest YA read. I'm still hoping to enjoy this one because I tend to find Jordan's writing compulsively readable but I'm not confident it will be the winner I want it to be.

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    1. It happens to me a fair amount -- which is why I think some books don't work as movies….

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  12. Hmmm, you have me curious on what my thoughts would be. I *think* I requested this one but maybe not. I did enjoy her last YA series so we'll see. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I was on the fence but I loved the premise. Hope you love it!

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  13. I hate when a good premise goes awry because the author takes it in an implausible direction. IBS haha! :-) I am almost tempted to read my ARC just to see if I have the same issues. Thanks for your thoughtful honest review!

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  14. Hee, I am totally appropriating Implausible Book Sydrome sometime, though I'll credit you of course! Perfectly describes a lot of YA plots, unfortunately.

    My coblogger Kate says she thinks I'll dislike this, but she really liked the romantic lead, so I'm still very curious about the book. (We have 90% book compatibility, so she might be right.) I appreciated your review, and will have to come back to it on GoodReads when I get around to reading it.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  15. I'm not sure I'll read this one. I like Sophie Jordan and I LOVE the cover of this one, but I don't know. The sheltered girl/tattooed boy scenario gets old pretty quickly. That premise though... I might have to take a chance just to see more of this homicidal tendency syndrome thing!

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  16. I have a much easier time with IBS in movie form. With books I start thinking about them too much and it makes it hard for me to suspend my belief enough to enjoy the story. This one sounds like it has a lot of issues and I'm not sure how I'd take them. Although I like the double helixes on the cover, the way the girl is lying makes it seem like it's going to be some magic/levitation story. I think I'll wait until the next one is out and reviews have come in before I pick this up. (Also, your love of acronyms is showing ;).

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  17. Oh... this book sounded soo good. It's disappointing to see that it didn't live up to it's unique premise. And damn, I hate it when there's clingy girl syndrome! XD Ha, though I do love Sophie Jordan's books... I might still give this a try, since I've really been wanting to read this.

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  18. Hmmm, this one sounded so good, I still like the sound of it's unique premise, and of course I love romance- keeping it on my tbr list for later. Thanks for the great review :)

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