Narrator: Rebecca Gibel
Series: Uninvited #1
Published by Harper Audio, Harper Teen on January 28, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 9 hours 54 minutes
From New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan, Uninvited is a chilling and suspenseful story about a girl whose DNA brands her as a killer, perfect for fans of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and Confessions of a Murder Suspect.Davy had everything—a terrific boyfriend, the homecoming crown, a bright future at Juilliard—but when her genetic tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome, she loses it all. Uninvited from her prestigious school and avoided by her friends and family, she is placed in a special class with other
My Initial Reaction…
Wowzers! It’s been a while since I read a good YA Dystopia and this hit the spot. Great world building and fabulous characters made me stretch out activities just so I could keep listening to Uninvited.
Rebecca Gibel is a new-to-me narrator that I absolutely enjoyed. As usual, I spent a few chapters getting used to her voices, but I quickly got swept away in her reading and forgot that I was being read to. There were a few really shining moments, like when Davy is drugged or when a character had a particularly strong Jersey accent. It’s moments like those that a good narrator makes an audio read a better experience than reading for yourself. Rebecca gave those moments voice in a way that I don’t think I could have done justice in my head. I definitely recommend this as an audio read and I’ll be adding Rebecca to my list of go-to narrators.
Uninvited is told entirely from Davy’s point of view, which I think was perfect for this story. Davy is a prodigy. A genius. At the age of three she sat down at the piano and just started playing. She didn’t have to be taught, she just knew. And music is a big part of how Davy deals with life – there are constant references to music throughout and I think true music lovers would probably really enjoy this element of the book. I’m not a music lover, but it certainly didn’t detract since it helped me understand and see Davy. Anyway, Davy has this perfect life ahead of her – she’s been going to a lux private school and has the boyfriend everyone wants. She’s going to Julliard after graduation. She has no worries. Until she’s identified as an HTS (Homicidal Tendency Syndrome) carrier. Suddenly, she’s not a person anymore, but a dangerous carrier. Seeing her lose everything – school, friends, privileged life, her own sense of self – was brilliantly done (and often infuriating). Who’d have thought a prodigy would have room for personal growth? But Davy grows big time in Uninvited as her HTS classification makes her struggle with who she is.
The rest of the characters I’ll sort into two categories – carriers and non-carriers. At the start of Uninvited we get a glimpse of Davy’s life before HTS and thus the friends and boyfriend she had. Although seeing her relationship with them change is very important, we don’t really get to know these characters that well. I did grow to hate one character pretty intensely, especially considering how little I actually got to see of her. Seeing Davy’s family respond to her HTS classification was particularly well done, even if a wee-bit reliant on stereotypes. You’ve got the workaholic, thinks-he-can-buy-everything father and the weak, yet loving mother. I personally loved Davy’s brother and wished we got to see a bit more of him.
The other HTS carriers are the really exciting characters and the ones we get to know best. I can’t talk about them all, though there were a lot and they were all well-written. Shortly after her classification, Davy gets to know two carriers particularly well – Sean and Gil. Sean is your foster-kid whose had it rough, seems tough, but you think he might just be a good guy. Gil is your computer nerd. I really loved them both, pretty much from the word go. Sean stands out from the start because he’s been imprinted (a tattoo on the neck that warns that a carrier has acted violently) and Davy starts out afraid of him. Her relationship and feelings about Sean were a great mechanism for her wrestling with her own identity as an HTS carrier, and I really enjoyed her struggle to break down stereotypes and misconceptions. If you like a bit of romance, Uninvited delivers, but it’s definitely not a Romance. This is just a back drop (as was appropriate IMHO) and feelings develop at an appropriate pace, complete with confusion and mixed feelings. Yay for no insta-love or love-triangles! As for Gil – For Buffy fans out there, you’ll understand what I mean when I say that Gil was Willow in my head. Seems weak and easy to pick on, but deep down he’s a lot stronger than most would give him credit for. And I loved him.
The concept behind Uninvited is brilliant because it’s scarily believable. And it takes place in 2021- not even 10 years in our future, which makes it that much more eerie. In this future United States (Davy lives in Texas, like I do, which added another eerie dimension for me), scientists have discovered the HTS gene and linked it to a large percentage of homicides. As is typical, people respond in fear and people with HTS – called carriers – have their rights stripped more and more. We see this drastically progress after Davy’s own classification and it’s enough to make you book-hurling mad. I’m thankful I was listening or I might have a damaged hardback book right now.
Each chapter included a brief snippet of a news report, or text messages, or some sort of communication that gives you a glimpse of events outside of Davy’s own personal view, adding just enough to make our own view of events more dynamic and real without making us know much more than Davy. I found the world building and the way that Sophie Jordan told the story utterly convincing and I easily lost myself in it. I love that she actually gave a date for a point in the future, because it helped create a certain level of expectations. For example, I expected some technological advances, but not to the extent that I might if we were talking 2100. All-in-all I felt it was well-executed.
I’m particularly happy that, while Uninvited didn’t end on a cliff-hanger, it’s also not a stand alone. There’s just enough resolution for me to go to bed tonight without stressing about what’s going to happen next, but there’s so much more that really needs to be dealt with. I eagerly await the next book in this series!