by Sophie Jordan

Series: "Uninvited" #1
Genre: YA Dystopian
Published: January 28th, 2014
by HarperTeen




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.


Carriers are like a cancer to this once great nation. And like any disease, sometimes the only way to battle it is with poison.

I have a confession to make: I’m a sucker for anything related to medical thrillers – especially if the medical aspect has anything to do with genetics. Uninvited is no different as I found myself devouring this action-packed novel.

Uninvited is set in a futuristic United States not too far from our own in which the government has discovered a gene that determines the predictability of you becoming a murderer. Named the Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (“HTS”), government officials are soon dragged across the county, instructed to test every citizen for the gene.

17-year-old music prodigy Davy Hamilton is arguably the last person you’d expect to get tested positive for the gene. Yet somehow she does. Forced into a world of prejudice and labeling, Davy must learn to adapt to an entire new world – one where she is considered a culprit.

Before the diagnosis, Davy had a loving family, the perfect boyfriend, a supportive best friend, and a scholarship to Julliard. Her future seemed bright; until it’s all ruined when she tests positive. Now her parents are afraid of her and her boyfriend and best friend have abandoned her. She would have been an easy character to sympathize with – if only she wasn’t so judgmental. Throughout the story, Davy constantly judges and looks down upon other people with HTS, when she has the syndrome herself. I found it hard to care much about her because of that.

I’ll hand it to Mrs. Jordan – the world she has created is so very plausible – almost eerily so. It doesn’t take much imagination to visualize how discovering a gene like the HTS could to do to society; and I feel like Mrs. Jordan portrayed that aspect of the story really well. People’s reactions were just so realistic and I could really see something like that happening in the future if such a scenario played out. The thing is, there were just errors in the science of the story she created that left me with quite a few questions.

So, every human is born with 46 chromosomes – 23 from each parent. On each chromosome are thousands of thousands of genes, which are made up of DNA. Genes and DNA determine everything about us – from our hair color to our eye color and our height.

When chromosomes or genes are altered or “mutated,” that’s what causes a genetic disorder. However, in Uninvited we hardly learn anything about HTS. We don’t know which of the 46 chromosomes was altered to create this syndrome. We don’t know what the cause of this disorder is. Is it hereditary or is it simply something that just happens? And we never learn how this one mutated gene genetically turns people into so called “killers.”

While the world-building and characterization aren’t flawless, I did find myself engrossed in the action of the plotline and am looking forward to seeing what the sequel has in store.


50 thoughts on “Uninvited

  1. I think the idea behind Uninvited is brilliant and it sure stirs up a lot of thinking. I agree with you that Sophie Jordon’s perception of how people would react to such a killing gene is strikingly realistic and somewhat disturbing to imagine. I will need to borrow this book from the library next time!

    1. Yes! I definitely agree! It does stir up a lot of thinking! Yeah, it is almost scary in how realistic it is actually – LOL!

      Definitely! Let me know if you decide to read it, and if you do, I’ll be on the lookout for your review! 😀

  2. I originally had this one confused with Panic by Lauren Oliver. The covers aren’t THAT similar…well, now that I’ve read Panic. Heh. But I really want to read Uninvited! I don’t think the science-problems will be an issue for me, because I’m so brain-science-dead that I’m lucky I know what a gene even is. (I’m kidding…kind of…not.) I like that the characters were really cool! And I’m SO into music so the genius musical part will most likely drive me nuts. 😉 In a good way! Great review, Zoe!!

    1. LOL! Yeah, they are a tad similar in the covers, but, yeah they don’t seem too similar plot-wise (I haven’t read Panic yet, so correct me if I’m wrong – I’m just going by the blurb!)

      Yeah! Glad it sounds like something you’d want to read Cait! If the hardcore science doesn’t bother you very much (yeah…I really am a nerd like that…), than you’ll probably be fine!

      I think you’ll love the music part Cait! It’s not a huge part of the story, but it definitely adds an extra layer. I definitely enjoyed it! (I’m more of a theatre person vs. a musician, but actors in musicals still sing, so I guess that counts, right?)

      Thanks Cait! <3

    1. Boo!

      I was nervous I would be the only one fascinated by genetics to notice the flaws in the world-building, so I’m really glad that I’m not alone! 😉

    1. Yeah! Hopefully the romance stays the way it is, and no love triangle will be added in Book 2!

      Glad you enjoyed it as well Lily! I was the same way…it would have been a 5 star read for me if it wasn’t for the slight lack of world-building and the fact that Davy was quite hypocritical in the beginning of the story.

      Can’t wait for Book 2 and thanks for the lovely comment!

  3. I feel so bad when I see all my friends loving this because I myself DNFed it 🙁 I wonder if it was the mood I was in at the time because you really make it sound so good! I’ll have to give it another go sometime.

    1. Oh…that’s too bad you didn’t enjoy it as much as you hoped you would Alise! Yeah – if you have time, I’d definitely recommend giving it another go! Like you said, you probably just weren’t in the right mood. Let me know if you decide to try reading it again!

  4. I’ve definitely encountered some mixed reviews for this book, but I’m glad you enjoyed it overall. I agree, often authors think that doing a little research and expecting the readers to believe in their ‘new’ world is all it takes. But no! That’s just not enough. Davy’s hypocrisy will definitely grind on my nerves, but it’s good to hear that it didn’t stop you from finishing the book. Great review Zoe! xx

    1. Yeah, I was the same way. I saw everything from 5 star reviews to DNF reviews to “meh” reviews…I didn’t know what to think! I’m really glad I enjoyed it overall though!

      But yes…I definitely agree with you! She definitely had the plausibility for her society, but the in-depth science-y explanations just weren’t there. Maybe I’m being a tad too tough because this is a YA novel, but oh well; what can I say?

      She definitely had the tendency to get on my nerves – and she probably will get on yours as well – but she goes through a great character arc, and by the end of the story, she’s a pretty great protagonist.

      Thanks so much Joy! That means a lot! Thanks for stopping by as well! <3

    1. Yeah! Glad you felt the plot was well done! I definitely agree that while – even though she – without a doubt – had her flaws – that Davy was hypocritical at times, but, like I said, that didn’t really bother me much. But Zac and Tori…gosh, they got on my nerves; but they were really well-developed and realistic characters nonetheless, so I can’t blame Mrs. Jordan for that!

      Thanks Melanie! 😀 That means a lot!

  5. What a fantastic, thorough review Zoe! I’ve heard that the MC can get quite hypocritical and annoying at times, but sadly her friends that abandoned her are actually quite realistic. Definitely can bring out the emotional side! The science and world building actually sound really fascinating. I can’t wait to read this book.

    1. Thanks Jeann! <3

      Yeah…she definitely can be quite hypocritical and annoying, but that didn’t really bother me much. Tori and Zac (the friends that betrayed her) are definitely quite realistic; which definitely brought out the emotional aspect of things – like you said, but good characterization nonetheless.

      The science and world-building are quite fascinating – especially to me, being really interested in genetics. I must say, though, it is slightly lacking in some areas, but I don’t think many people would notice because the nitpicks I had were definitely in the literal science-y department, and not many people are probably as fascinated about genetics as I am, so thus these flaws would probably fly by them. I’m interested in seeing what you think about the world-building though…it is quite plausible!

      Yeah! Glad it sounds like something you’d enjoy Jeann! Definitely let me know when you finish and I’ll be on the lookout for your review for sure soon hopefully!

    1. Haha! Yeah…they are pretty annoying! It’s really sad that they’re so realistic though…I could totally see two teenagers reacting the exact same way if this scenario happened in real life; which is just really sad!

      Thanks Allie – that means a lot to me! I’ll definitely be on the lookout for your review!

  6. So many mixed feelings about this one. I mean, I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve seen jarring reviews that go “I LOVE IT” to “I HATE THIS MESS” lol so I’m on the fence, really :’D But if there’s one thing about me, it’s this: YOU DON’T MESS UP WORLD-BUILDING. NO EXPLANATIONS, NO HAPPY FAYE. x=

    So I’m not sure how I’ll handle the lack of explanation. I hate it when authors simply dump something and then hope we’ll accept it just like that. NO, MADAM/SIR. That sucks in actuality!

    In any case, love this review! Great post!

    Faye @ The Social Potato

    1. Yeah, I was the same way. I saw everything from 5 star reviews to DNF reviews to “meh” reviews…I didn’t know what to think! Actually, I think the only real reason I decided to read this is because of the genetics aspect. I’m a sucker for anything related to medical thrillers – especially if the medical aspect is genetic-related. I’m not sure why, but genetics always fascinate me. And combine that with a dystopian government? Yes, please!

      And yes! Authors please stop assuming we know how the world was formed! We don’t! It’s your world after all! Is it really that difficult to add a paragraph or two explaining how your world was built when you already have written 200+ pages? 😐 We want happy Fayes, don’t we? 😉

      Thanks Faye! <3

        1. Hmm…medical thrillers are so hard to find – especially in the YA genre because they’re so rare. Actually, I think I’ve only read 3 – Uninvited, Partials by Dan Wells, and Broken Symmetry by Dan Rix. Partials wasn’t strictly a medical thriller, but it definitely had some medical thriller aspects in it, and I personally found it to be quite enjoyable; and Broken Symmetry was kind of just “meh.”

          Let me know if you find any others!

  7. What a excellent review, it was done so great that I will surely get this book from the library to enjoy. I too find medical thrillers interesting to read and learn from. As for the characters, from your description of them I agree 100% with your thoughts about them. Thanks again for an outstanding review.

    1. Thanks! Glad it sounds like something you’d enjoy! It’s awesome that you enjoy medical thrillers as well…but it’s a shame that they’re so far and far between in the YA genre. The characters were definitely awesome; even if Davy was a little self-centered sometimes, but I found them enjoyable overall.

      Thank you for the lovely comment! 😀

  8. Great review! I found your blog from a comment you posted on Xpresso Reads, and I’m in love with your review style. I haven’t previously heard of Uninvited, but it looks right up my alley. Thanks! 😀

    1. Aw…thanks so much Jackie! That means a lot to me!

      I’m so glad it seems like Uninvited would be something you’d enjoy! Let me know if you get a copy – I’ll definitely be on the lookout for your review!

      Thank you for the lovely comment and for stopping by!

  9. Glad to hear you enjoyed this one! I found your blog over on Candace’s Book Blog, and hopped on over. My sister loved Uninvited, but I always need my books brimming with world-building, so I’m not sure what my own reaction would have been. Nonetheless, fabulous review!

    1. Glad your sister enjoyed it so much Hafsah! It is quite the novel! Hmm…I’m interested in what you’ll think as well! It’s not necessarily bad world-building, but the problems I had with it were really science-y, so I wonder what you’ll think of it!

      Thanks so much for the lovely comment and for stopping by! 😀

    1. Yeah! So glad you liked it as well Kimba! Wasn’t it amazing? I agree…I’m so excited to see where Jordan takes the series from here…especially with that ending!

      Thanks so much! <3

  10. I definitely agree with everything you said! When I was reading, I was so annoyed at Davy for being judgmental. I mean, if you get unfairly marked as an HTS carrier, what’s to say a bunch of other people marked with HTS aren’t really hostile? I mean, as soon as she gets labeled as a threat to society she should have been like, “Oh now I’m starting to question everything.” But she still went around doing everything the same way. It was so frustrating! I don’t know if I picked up on the world-building, but I can definitely see where that lacked. Fantastic review! <33

    1. Exactly…it’s like saying you did something wrong, but you don’t believe you did, but there’s solid proof; and then another person goes and does the exact same thing. Does that make what you did any better than what they did? She was definitely frustrating; but I guess she got better as the story went on.

      Yeah! Glad I’m not alone in seeing where it lacked!

      Thanks Eileen!

  11. I have to admit, I wasn’t paying much attention to the actual science in this book… I think I was too distracted by Sean! lol

    You should totally check out VITRO by Jessica Khoury and CONTROL by Lydia Kang… They have the genetic, science-y stuff you like!!

    Thanks for stopping by The Hiding Spot!

    1. LOL..I don’t blame you! 😉

      Ooohh…thanks for the recommendation Sara! I just read the descriptions and they sound AWESOME! Definitely going to get a copy ASAP!

      No problem! Thank you for stopping by!

  12. I’ve read pretty good reviews for this. I don’t need my science stuff backed up too much, I believe stuff pretty easily, so that shouldn’t be an issue for me. I think I might have to try to read this one. I think I might like it!

    1. Yeah! Glad it sounds like something you think you’ll like Candace! Let me know if you try it out, and if so, I’ll definitely be on the lookout for your review!

      Thanks for stopping by! <3

  13. Urg, it really makes me sad hearing you have mixed feelings about this one 🙁 when I read the summary on Goodreads I was hooked! But now after this…. I don’t know if I want to give it a shot :/
    thanks for the review! I guess you just saved me from a big disspointment..

    1. You should definitely still give it a shot! I really liked it…it’s just the world building wasn’t as science-y as I would have liked!

      It’s not that I disliked it, it’s just that the world-building wasn’t as specific as I would have liked.

      Let me know whether or not you’re going to try it!

  14. I’ve heard so many things about this book! It’s pretty high upon my TBR pile at the moment. It just seems like such a original story, the premise is pretty damn great.

    Sorry to hear you have mixed feelings about it… 🙁 That makes me sad to hear, because our taste in reading is pretty alike. I always take your reviews in account when deciding to read a book or not.

    I think I’ll still attempt this one though 🙂
    Thanks for another honest review <3

    1. An original story it is! Especially for me because I’m a huge fan of genetics and dystopians!

      It made me really sad too because I was really expecting to LOVE this one, but I just…didn’t…ya know? And thanks so much! That means a lot! I take you reviews into account too – it’s awesome to have someone with such similar tastes in books!

      Yeah! Glad you’re going to try it! Let me know what you think when you finish, okay? 😀

  15. I really love the premise of this one. it sounds so fascinating and very realistic. I’m sorry the world-building didn’t completely work, but I think I could look past it…however, I think Davy would drive me nuts! Regardless, I do want to check this out!

    1. Yes! The premise is just completely epic isn’t it?! I agree – it’s fascinating, but it’s not as far-fetched as some other dystopians; and I guess I really enjoyed the realistic feel it had to it.

      Yeah, if you’re not too big on science than this is probably something you can get past pretty easily. Her world-building is GREAT…it’s just those itty-bitty science details that need a little more work. 😉

      Davy was quite annoying sometimes; but she got better as the story went on!

      Yeah! Glad you’re going to try it! Let me know what you think when you finish, okay? 😀 Especially about the world-building and about Davy!

  16. Based on your description Davy doesn’t seem perfect at all. Being judgmental is clearly her flaw that I’m sure I will have trouble with too when reading her story. I think it’ll depend on my mood whether I find her to be annoying or someone who’s learning not to judge someone based on what another person deems them to be – a killer. I love the whole genetic/medical thriller this has too. It sounds like a great dystopian. Unfortunately you are right that Davy’s friends acted realistically. When you live in that world I would fear for my friend who is supposed to be a killer. Great review (:

    1. She definitely isn’t perfect! I definitely agree with you…it’s definitely a mood thing, so this one is definitely good to read when you’re in a pretty forgivable mood. The genetics definitely makes this a unique dystopian to say the least! If only it had a little more description in the science-y field.

      Thanks Adriana! <3

  17. I’ve seen a few others echo the same points about the world-building – and I imagine I’ll notice them too as I’ve studied genetics! – but the book as a whole sounds really good. I’m glad to hear you’ll be reading the sequel. I bought myself a copy of this a couple weeks back and look forward to reading it now. 🙂 Brilliant review, Zoe!

    1. Yes! It definitely is! This is one of those books where you can kind of get past the world-building (or lack thereof) because the story as a whole is just fantastic, and in the end, that’s what matters most, right?

      Yeah! Glad to hear you’re excited for it! Let me know what you think when you finish, okay? 😉

      Thanks so much Sam! <3

  18. World-building doesn’t seem to be the strong point of this novel, but it seems that the story made up for it. I’ll be purchasing this book to see for myself if I will be emotionally affected by Zac and Tori too. Fab review!

    1. Yes! The story definitely makes up for the slight lack of world-building! I’m interested in seeing what you think of Zac and Tori…let me know when you finish, okay? 😉

      Thanks so much Dre! <3

  19. I haven’t read this book yet, but this is a topic that was actually brought up in an science & ethics class of mine a year or two ago and it is so fascinating! Like you, I am all about science and genetics so I’m a little disappointed to see that this book didn’t do well with it! (Loved your gif with Finn btw!)

    I did read in another review that Davy was intentionally made perfect and hypocritical (meaning, ANNOYING) by Sophie Jordan so you can see her develop throughout the books (which you did say!). As great as character development is, just from reading your review, I can tell I’m gonna be annoyed with Davy a bit.

    I’m glad to see you enjoyed the book overall, I’m sure the strong plot helped with the character and world building issues. Great Review! I will be coming back to this to compare when I get around to reading this!

    Erin @ Something Catchy About Books

    1. Yeah! I’m so glad to find someone as interested in genetics as I am! Yeah…it’s a shame the world wasn’t developed a tad more, but it was still pretty well developed; just some science-y specifics that needed a little brushing up.

      That’s a great point! She definitely did go through a great character arc, but like you said, that doesn’t exactly make up for how irritating she can be.

      Thanks Erin! Looking forward to seeing what you think as well!

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