Title: Uninvited (#1)
Author: Sophie Jordan
On the Shelves: Young Adult> Sci-fi/Dystopian (maybe?)
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 (Goodreads 2014)
Holy freakin’ moly. Where do I even begin with this? Let me just say, first and foremost that this book surpassed my expectations and is the first book in a while to keep me staying up late to read it to the very end! Also: the criminology geek in me is very happy right now.
Let’s start at the basic plot line, so this is a not-too-distant future (i.e. ten years or so), where scientists have supposedly identified a gene within human DNA, which runs constantly throughout the DNA of violent offenders, they have called this the “HTS gene”. (or Homicidal Tendancy Syndrome). Shortly after, it becomes a requirement for every citizen to have their DNA tested for this gene, be it through school or employment. If you are identified as a carrier, you are treated as thought you are a bomb about to go off. You are isolated and scrapped off as “no good to society”. Now, what makes this theory so realistic is that, surprise surprise, it already technically exists. Not so much in DNA, but certainly within social sciences.
Now I’ve already referred to criminological theory within my review for Hilary Jordan’s When She Woke (what is it with Authors named Jordan and criminological things?!), which was a story built around the idea of notification laws. This is similar, except it regards the concept of “Labelling Theory”. For those who don’t know, Labelling Theory is basically this: if you want respect, treat others with respect. If you “label” someone in a certain way and treat them in accordance to that label, sooner or later they will act in accordance to that label. So if a police officer constantly stops a group of kids to “talk” because they suspect they are being little sods and committing acts of vandalism all the time, sooner or later that group will, theoretically, go on to commit acts of vandalism because hell, they’ve got the blame, so why not do it anyway?
This book mixes this theory with the old and classic “Nature vs Nurture” debate. I was half expecting the granddaddy of criminology, Lombroso, to appear in the documentation and for them to start declaring people will be suspected if “their face looks criminal” i.e. eyes too wide apart, forehead too large, nose too bumpy etc. (Yep. That’s a real theory guys. I shit you not).
In terms of the characters, I mostly really enjoyed them. I enjoyed watching Davy struggle and come to terms with her entire life’s dreams crumbling away because of an unfair societal criminalisation of her. I loved Gil (if anything happens to him in the second book I swear I will be heart broken). I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style throughout this book. Especially the snippets at the end of each chapter which focussed on either pages of legislation issued by the government concerning the new laws, or texts from Davy’s old friends from their perspectives. It just provided a little something extra to the world-building around the issues and I really think the story benefited from those little extras.
My only gripe with this book was the “insta-love”. I enjoyed Davy and Sean and the chemistry between them (for once, it didn’t feel too forced!) but I honestly couldn’t understand why he was so instantly overprotective of her, when he didn’t even know her name, we also didn’t see much of Sean as a character in his own right, just as the love interest. Also, he really wasn’t doing her any favours by constantly defending her in the training camp because it just made her look weak, if he had uses his brains, he would’ve realised that and she should’ve grown more of a backbone. Also, despite constantly fighting against her own branding of criminality, Davy constantly thought of the other HTS-marked as “dangerous” and “lethal” , constantly spewing the propaganda she had been fed for so long. It made her quite hypocritical throughout the last half of the novel because of this.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I read it in one day and can’t wait for the sequel!