This review and others are posted at Inspiring Insomnia.
I have no doubt that genetic testing will play a much bigger role in our future, and in Uninvited, Sophie Jordan examines the implications of the testing when it’s used to weed out “bad” individuals from society. Uninvited is set in the near future when there is a major uptick in homicide. Scientists discover a gene called HTS that makes carriers prone to violence, and these carriers are responsible for the majority of murders. The solution seems obvious – separate the carriers from the general population and closely monitor them to prevent them from engaging in violence. For Davy, the protagonist, all of this trouble seems worlds away. She’s wealthy and privileged and from a loving family. She attends the best private school and has the best (on paper, anyway) boyfriend. When she is suddenly pulled out of school and informed that she carries the HTS gene, Davy’s world is upended. She is “uninvited” from her posh private school and enrolled in a public school (the horror!), her boyfriend dumps her, and her friends, including her best friend, shun her. Even her powerful father cannot help her.
At her new school, Davy is segregated from the “normal” students, and she attends class in a basement with a handful of other carriers, at least one of whom seems like a genuine sociopath. But for the most part, they seem like typical teenagers, just like Davy. She quickly befriends one of the carriers. and he tells her that she is in danger every waking moment. Sure, she’s harassed by the sociopath, and the teacher/guard who sits outside the gated classroom is a major lech, but I didn’t get the sense of a terrible, ongoing danger. (Not initially, anyway.)
I wish the ethics and impacts of this kind of genetic testing had been explored more in depth, but those issues are shoved to the side when hot Sean struts onto the scene. I kind of groaned when he showed up, because he is your standard YA bad boy with a heart of gold, and what had been gearing up to be an interesting story instantly turned into a predictable romance. The worst part of this was that Davy, who had started to show the first signs of blossoming from her sheltered life, suddenly became a helpless damsel in distress. She was victimized by numerous awful men in numerous awful situations, and every time, Sean swooped in out of nowhere like Batman to rescue her. There is nothing interesting about Sean, and I’ve read this identical character in YA too many times. Davy becomes less interesting whenever Sean shares the page with her, and it’s hard not to roll your eyes at the pair. It’s a shame, because this is otherwise a solid, engaging story.
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.