Courtney's Reviews > Uninvited
by Amanda Marrone
bookshelves: really-disliked, reviewed, tstl-hero-heroine, ya-paranormal, creepy-jerks, vampires, standalone, own
According to Uninvited's summary, Jordan's life sucks. After she (the summary claims it’s the other way around, but it’s not) dumps summer boyfriend Michael, he becomes a walking one-night-stand, and supposedly takes his own life a few weeks later. If that were not enough, Michael, Jordan's dearly departed ex, begins appearing at her window every night – no explanations, begging to be invited in. As Jordan feels her resistance slipping in every aspect of her life, she drifts closer and closer to letting him in.
The little blurb on the inside the book told me that Michael could only come in with Jordan's permission, and what I wanted to know was why he wanted in. Why was that so important to him? Why, after his clear disinterest in her, did he choose her window to haunt? What was so particular about Jordan? While I can forgive my initial interest in finding these answers, I can't quite forgive this book or even myself for my inability to put Uninvited down and just say, No thanks, go get some sun or something. It would have saved me some time and the hot mess that is this book.
Uninvited was so absurdly plotted that I had to repeatedly stop and make sure that I hadn’t drifted off into a daydream or accidentally skipped ahead. Sometimes it was cliché in all the wrong places and all the wrong ways, and other times I just flat wondered how Uninvited even managed to get published. It was, at times, nothing short of painful.
Another of my problems with Uninvited was, among so many things, the lack of explanation. Michael, back from the dead, haunts Jordan’s window – it was the whys of this that hooked me, but the blatant ignorance of answering them that was the greatest pinch on my nerves. Jordan never seemed coherent or present, never seemed to get anywhere with her questions. I get that she lives in a state of depression and self-medication, but not even those issues were ever paid any attention to. Marrone failed, on every level, to draw any conclusions about Michael or Jordan as individuals.
This is really what irked me most about Uninvited, the fact that the reader never learns anything real about Michael or Jordan; nothing real, period. Michael in particular perplexed me. Marrone gave us two sides to him, which never converge in any way – Jordan’s sociable summer love and the self-absorbed jagweed. Ah, which reminds me!
Okay, back to Michael. So we see him sweetly dating her in the summer but then carelessly hooking up with the next girl to come his way after their breakup. Who Michael really is remains Marrone's greatest unanswered question, and she just didn't seem to care all that much. Meh.
Jordan was also definitely a problem. I was pretty certain that I was indifferent to whatever was going to happen to her, and that’s a shame. I understand grief and sadness and despair, but Jordan felt all of these things while being top of her class at TSTL University. Jordan is the girl of horror movie fame. Yes, that girl. Her sense of self-preservation? Nonexistent. Her common sense? Down for the count, leave a message at the beep. It’s almost seems like she wants to meet a grisly end, for all her barefaced stupidity. And you know this, you know. But you still scream at her, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DO NOT GO INTO THE BATHROOM. NO. STAY PUT. CALL THE POLICE. NO.
While the more interesting aspects of Jordan and Michael’s post-mortem relationship are pointedly ignored, Jordan almost does the thing.
“Don’t do the thing, Jordan!” the reader pleads.
“I’m gonna do the thing!”
“Don’t do the thing, are you an idiot?!”
“I’m doing the thing, I–”
And what stops her? Self-preservation, common sense? Close, oh so close. Just as she finally gives into Michael’s pleas, she gets a whiff of his smell and something about it is not quite right. Because he smells like coconut and dirt, the drunken Jordan rescinds her permission. As he retreats angrily into the night, she decides that perhaps he’s not the same Michael. Whoever in the world the “same Michael” is. That’s fifty shades of ridiculous, my friends. It’s not his tantrums, his cryptic behavior or even her own intuition telling her to reject him that finally snaps her back into reality. No, it’s the fact that he smells just a little bit too much like dirt. I can't even.
Uninvited just didn’t get it. It didn’t make sense, and didn’t even try to – I’m not even really sure what Uninvited was really about, or why it warranted the materials and resources used to produce it. Jordan learning to pick up the pieces of her life and move on?
Hah. A backwards commentary on change and the absolute worst way to react to it? I can’t even fathom what it was trying to say about Michael, who was little more than a caricature. Maybe I missed something, but I’m going to wager that the current 2.95 average says I’m not the only one.
If I can say one thing in favor of Uninvited, it’s that somewhere past the dirt and the rum and the self-pity, Jordan started to
slowly understand that she never loved Michael. She loved the idea of him. And when she let him go, it was because she was afraid. Though a long and really, really, really thankless process, Jordan eventually learned something about herself (view spoiler)[in her quest to vanquish her vampire ex-boyfriend. (hide spoiler)].