The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones

Friday, July 2, 2010

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?

The Uninvited was interesting in that it was only really what it was described as on the back cover of the book – a thriller – for a few chapters. After that it metamorphosed into something deeper, more of a family drama (with some out-there plotline like you’d see in a thriller), though still with suspenseful elements. It was surprising, and I think some readers might feel a bit ripped off by the fact that the story delivers something so different than what is promised. I quite liked the fact that what seemed as if it was going to be same-old same-old thriller (creepy guy leaves strange artefacts in locked house, stalks pretty girl, suspense!) became something a whole lot different.

I’m not sure whether this novel is classified as YA or not, and to me it didn’t really seem like one. Mimi is a university student, and nineteen years old, and other central characters are only slightly older. There isn’t any content that would make it unsuitable for a YA audience (nothing you wouldn’t find in your average YA, anyway – slight swearing and themes), and it definitely read like a book that could be enjoyed by any reader.

I’m not even sure who to recommend this to, because I haven’t read anything a lot like it (you’ll notice I say this a lot. This is because I don’t read widely enough! I’m always reading in the genre I write). There was a whiff of Jodi Picoult about it – her books, I find, I can never say I exactly enjoy, though I think most of them are fantastic. Hopefully you understand. This book was strange and unexpected, more about family than any creepy intruder, and if you like your books a little bit weird and a little bit different you might want to check it out.

The Uninvited on Amazon / Goodreads
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