cover image Uninvited


Sophie Jordan. HarperTeen, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-223365-3

Merging a contemporary setting with a believable speculative premise, Jordan (the Firelight series) introduces Davy Hamilton, who appears to have it all%E2%80%94a gorgeous boyfriend, a future at Julliard%E2%80%94until she is diagnosed with "Homicidal Tendency Syndrome," a genetic predisposition toward violence. She is "uninvited" from her private high school, assigned an unsympathetic caseworker, and forced to attend school in a "Cage" with other HTS kids. Among them are the sweet, smart Gil, and Sean, a lifetime "carrier" who's more protective than violent. Jordan skillfully hints at a rapidly disintegrating, near-future America, using chilling chapter interstitials%E2%80%94texts, fragments of interviews, lists%E2%80%94that illustrate a society prepared to sacrifice civil rights for an illusion of safety. Are those diagnosed with the HTS gene really destined to kill, or is their behavior the outcome of being treated like criminals? The first half is slow, as Davy feels the impact that the HTS label has on her privileged life, but the action becomes more immediate when Davy, Sean, and Gil are recruited for an elite government school designed to exploit their violent instincts. Ages 13%E2%80%93up. Agent: Maura Kye-Casella, Don Congdon Associates. (Feb.)