ARC Review: UNINVITED by Sophie Jordan

I received this book for free from HarperTeen. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: UNINVITED by Sophie Jordan
Uninvited #1

Written by: Sophie Jordan
Published by: HarperTeen
Release date: January 28th 2014
Genres: Romance, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Pages: 384
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

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.


Uninvited was a really interesting read. I went into it expecting to be blown away, and I wasn’t, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t absolutely devour this book, either.

Uninvited is addictively readable, and really really hard to put down once you start it. It begins with a sort of contemporary realistic feel, kind of a thriller, with people being diagnosed with HTS (the “kill gene” that means you’re more likely to murder someone) and being thrown out of their original groups of friends/jobs/etc. The whole book, really, reads like the very beginning to a dystopian society where people with this DNA are pariahs, feared by the community… and it gets increasingly worse for them as the book progresses.

The pacing in the first half was really good — it had enough plot movement to keep things gripping, but wasn’t immensely action-packed. I also really enjoyed the characters (in the first half). Davy was an interesting character who I thought had a lot of potential for growth. She’s pretty sheltered in the beginning, but has worked hard in school and is a gifted musician. But then when she’s diagnosed with HTS, all of her past successes don’t matter – her good friends, her good grades, her acceptance to Julliard – and she’s forced to change schools, while being treated like she’s already committed a horrible crime.

Sean’s character started off as pretty mysterious (and actually, we don’t learn too much about him as the book progresses, either), but I thought he started off with a lot of great potential. But like I said, he’s still a mystery. He does have that bad-boy-but-not-really vibe going for him though, which is a plus.

However, at about the 60% mark, things started going a little downhill for me.

—– Some Spoilers Beyond This Point —–

The pacing, while so great in the first 60%, became a little disjointed and strange after Davy and some other HTS carriers are relocated to a special sort of “boot camp” where their homicidal tendencies are apparently supposed to be redirected. While we’re told about a lot of time passing, and how she’s getting training in different areas, we really don’t see much of that, which made things feel rushed, to me, and like I was missing some key scenes that would’ve helped develop her character some more.

I think the odd pacing in this section also lessened the impact of certain events — if nothing else, it definitely killed the tension, for me. Davy frequently mentions how she wants to play along with the messed-up system at Camp Haven, make them think she’s doing everything they want, and then she could sneakily work her way out of the camp — which I would’ve been SUPER excited to see. But that’s not exactly how things played out, which was disappointing.

I also felt like Davy and Sean didn’t live up to their potential from the first 60%. The rushed pacing in the second half really didn’t lend itself to much (believable) relationship development. They didn’t have much time together before they were sent to camp, and then basically NO time together while they were at the camp because they were kept apart most of the time. So while they were apparently developing these strong feelings for each other while at the camp, I just couldn’t quite understand how (or when) that was happening.

 —– End of Spoilers —–

Finally, I want to address something that I’ve been pondering since I finished Uninvited, and that’s something to do with the idea of HTS (the “kill gene”) and one of Uninvited‘s themes.

The thing about HTS is, it makes people (those who don’t have HTS) view otherwise justifiable behavior as dangerously violent, when this behavior is carried out by someone with HTS. For example, before being diagnosed with HTS, a girl could’ve slapped a guy for wronging her, without horrible repercussions for her. (I mean, violence is never the answer, but bear with me.) However, after being diagnosed, a slap from someone with HTS is just one further sign that they’re actually homicidal and need to be contained. This kind of double standard was interesting to see depicted in this way, and definitely made me think.

However, Davy never really seems to take this double-standard to heart, even though she’s a prime example that the HTS gene doesn’t prove the carrier is a danger to society. Maybe it actually is true that she and only a few other people are outliers… But she never gets over the “all carriers are evil (except for her and Sean)” mentality, which I thought was interesting. Because it seemed like the point was to not jump to conclusions about people based on their genes or whatever. But if those genes/appearances turn out to be correct, doesn’t that kind of negate the message…?

What do you guys think about this? Maybe I’m over-thinking it, but can you have it both ways? Does the “don’t judge based on genes” message still have as much impact, if it actually turns out that 99.9% of HTS carriers are actually bad people? =/ It’s something I’m struggling with wrapping my mind around. Hopefully everything will be cleared up in the next book…



If I were to rate Uninvited based on the first 60% alone, it would’ve been a solid 4 stars, probably 4.5. I loved everything about the pacing and plot and potential of Davy’s and Sean’s relationship. The last 40%, however, lost me because of pacing and relationship issues. If you avoided the spoilers: That section is where a lot of “relationship growth” should’ve happened, but it really didn’t succeed at making me believe any of it.

Anyway, I still really liked Uninvited, and it gets serious points for making me think so hard about human nature and how we all might be guilty of judging people for something they have no control over. I’d definitely recommend picking it up, because even though the relationship was sort of disappointing to me, the plot is excellent. I’m looking forward to seeing how things wrap up in the conclusion to this duology! (BTW can we talk about how awesome it is that this is a duology? I mean really. YAY.)


5 thoughts on “ARC Review: UNINVITED by Sophie Jordan

  1. Deep thoughts about human nature, huh? I’m in! I didn’t read the spoiler section, so I don’t know what sort of trouble this one’ll give me, but the plot does sound pretty interesting. Kind of scared for that last 40% though.

  2. “However, Davy never really seems to take this double-standard to heart,” Omg yes this is the thing that bothered me the most. The whole fact that there wasn’t proof that HTS would 100% make you a violent person made me really want people to realize genes don’t influence everything! It drove me crazy that Davy never addressed this whole element since people were treating her so unfairly, gah.

  3. Hmmm interesting. I’ve seen some people rave about htis one and some that are more like you. I was really interested in it when I first heard about it! I didn’t read your spoiler section but I’m curious what I’ll think. Hopefully I’ll get to pick it up soon! But the thing about the genes really intrigues me — prob because I was a bio major and that kind of thing piques my interest, haha.

  4. I’m with you Nikki on the whole how fast Davy’s and Sean’s relationship developed. When I finished Uninvited, my first thought was that fast? Like, their relationship wasn’t exactly insta-love like, but on the other hand, it felt like insta-love if you know what I mean.
    As for your question double standard question, I think it’s because Davy refuses to consider herself as an evil killer (who would want to unless you’re a psychopath?) and she also refuses to believe that someone she can like can be a psychopath either. Something about Davy’s personality just says that to me.

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