May 19, 2012

Review: The Uninvited

By: Tim Wynne-Jones
Published: May 2009 by Candlewick
Format: Hardback, 353 pages
First Reviewed: March 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
Add it on Goodreads

Part gripping thriller, part complex family drama.

Mimi Shapiro had a disturbing freshman year at NYU, thanks to a foolish affair with a professor who still haunts her caller ID. So when her artist father, Marc, offers the use of his remote Canadian cottage, she’s glad to hop in her Mini Cooper and drive up north. The house is fairy-tale quaint, and the key is hidden right where her dad said it would be, so she’s shocked to fi nd someone already living there — Jay, a young musician, who is equally startled to meet Mimi and immediately accuses her of leaving strange and threatening tokens inside: a dead bird, a snakeskin, a cricket sound track embedded in his latest composition. But Mimi has just arrived, so who is responsible? And more alarmingly, what does the intruder want? Part gripping thriller, part family drama, this fast-paced novel plays out in alternating viewpoints, in a pastoral setting that is evocative and eerie — a mysterious character in its own right.

Rating: 1/5

This had been an impulse buy quite a while ago and I'd forgotten about it until recently when I was rearranging my bookshelf. When I re-read the description, I got excited to read it. There aren't enough plain ol' thrillers in YA, so I was hoping for this to be a breath of fresh air. Instead, it was just a hot mess.

The one part I really liked about this was the setting.. It was an eery setting and one that isn't overused. It was described well enough and really set the tone for the story. Best part, in my opinion.

The characters. Eh...they were just that: characters. I never bonded with them, or cared about them. They were pretty bland, even when Wynne-Jones was clearly trying to make them interesting. And for the characters that weren't bland, they were just annoying and/or confusing. Also, some were extremely unrealistic. Some characters didn't seem their age; they'd seem older at times. But I what I did like was that the characters weren't teens. Well, one was 19, but the others were twenty-two or older, and it was nice to see, considering those ages are still in the young adult range. Overall, though, the characters were just "meh." I think Wynne-Jones focused too much on making one character crazy and just whipped together the others. Oh, and he totally took too many things from RENT and/or La Boheme. "Mimi (age nineteen)" and "Joanne (who's a lesbian)." Though, I probably just noticed because I love RENT. :D

The writing wasn't bad, but it just...kind of...drove me nuts a lot of the time. The dialogue, for one, was just not believable. I literally kept wondering if this was supposed to be set in the way back, of course with cell phones somehow transported. I swear I was going to punch a wall if he had someone say "phone them," or "phone me back," or "I'll phone you." Someone please tell me what American 21st century nineteen-year-old says that? If some of you say that, my bad, but I've never heard that and it was driving me up the freaking wall. Mainly because Wynne-Jones had the characters "phone" people too much and also because he'd switch to "call" for sections. It was all over the place. Anyway, I also think Wynne-Jones put in scenes that weren't even needed and connections that were clearly just made up out of the blue. It was just all over the place. Has potential, but needs a lot of tightening.

Excuse the language, but: What in the hell? Really? I think there's a fine line between original and creative and just stupid and over the top. It seemed to me that Wynne-Jones had so many elements and ideas in his head that he wanted to write them all, the problem being that none of them worked too well together. This book would have been so much better with some of the sub-plots ditched. Most of this was just unrealistic and there were some things that really weren't explained too well. And the ending...oh come on! Are you kidding me? Again, it was like Wynne-Jones wanted to do it, so he just did it, even though it didn't work at all. Relationships (won't say what kind) formed that were extremely unrealistic, and nothing was ever creepy, save for a few things in the beginning. For the most part, I was just disturbed at a lot of things. This premise had so much promise, but there were just too many sub-plots that only confused and annoyed me. Instead of a thriller and complex family drama, it was just silly and overly done.

Oh, and...PHONED! Please, please, who uses that?! Who?! (That's American, mind you.) CALL! It's CALL! I'm going to CALL him! -_- Drove me insane! And there was far too much calling in this book.

Overall, it was just eh. I expected so much more from this. I wanted to be scared and have my heart pound and be curious to what was actually happening. Instead, everything was just flat and some things were even flat out silly. Over done, but some people like it.

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