The Uninvited

( 21 )

Overview

After a disturbing freshman year at New York University, Mimi is happy to get away to her father's remote Canadian cottage only to discover a stranger living there who has never heard of her or her father and who is convinced that Mimi is responsible for leaving sinister tokens around the property.

2009 Parents' Choice Recommended Seal winner

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The Uninvited

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Overview

After a disturbing freshman year at New York University, Mimi is happy to get away to her father's remote Canadian cottage only to discover a stranger living there who has never heard of her or her father and who is convinced that Mimi is responsible for leaving sinister tokens around the property.

2009 Parents' Choice Recommended Seal winner

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Wynne-Jones (Rex Zero, King of Nothing) creates a tale of twisted family ties that begins with a college coed running from an affair turned sour. Wanting to get as far away as possible from NYU-and the professor who is stalking her-Mimi heads to Canada to stay at her artist father's long-abandoned country cottage. When she arrives, she is startled to find the house occupied by a stranger, Jackson (Jay) Page, a half-brother she didn't know existed. After the siblings agree to temporarily share living quarters, more surprises are in store as personal items go missing and Mimi has the eerie sensation of being watched. In chapters focusing on a local and his mother, readers get hints about the big picture, but suspense remains high as the book races to its climax. The characters have strong voices and personalities-their realness, coupled with the idyllic setting, contrasts starkly (and thrillingly) with the story's dark side. If the number of letches and unbalanced individuals that Mimi attracts appears extreme, readers will probably be too caught up in the action to care. Ages 14-up. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
VOYA - Ruth Cox Clark
When Mimi's attempt to upset her father by bringing her college professor as a date to his New York art gallery backfires, Mimi leaves town. The cabin where she seeks refuge is already occupied, however, by a young musician who accuses her of recent break-ins. When each insists they have the right to be in the idyllic cabin in rural Ontario, they discover they both do—they have the same father. Calling a truce, Mimi and Jay try to get to know each other, unaware they are being watched by reclusive Corbin. When not spying on the siblings or working two jobs, Corbin cares for his mentally unstable mother. Another visit from the break-in artist has Mimi taking her unresponsive laptop to the computer repair shop where Corbin quickly fixes the problem (that he created) and gives Mimi his phone number in case she needs future help. It is the number her father wrote twenty years before on the cabin's studio wall—Corbin knows who his father is. The dark and stormy cover art may attract mystery readers, but all who open this book will stay to vicariously watch these siblings discover details about the father who walked away from them as easily as he did from the old paint-splattered studio. With touches of second person narrative, chapters alternate the focus from one sibling to the other as each responds to their complicated family dynamics unfolding. This suspenseful and deftly crafted family drama will appeal to older teens who are exploring their options beyond high school. Reviewer: Ruth Cox Clark
Children's Literature - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Mimi Shapiro makes arrangements with her father to spend time hidden away in his Canadian cottage. She is not particularly close to her father but has built a relationship with this man who was never really a part of her life. She is looking to avoid a married boyfriend and reassess her college career, but when she arrives at the cottage there is already someone living there, a young local musician, Jackson Page, known as Jay. In the shadows, there is the strange young man, Cramer, who lives with his mother in the backwaters and seems to be stalking Jackson and Mimi. Cramer supports his artistic mother who struggles with emotional and psychological problems. He keeps his distance but is drawn to the cottage and may be responsible for some minor thefts. Jay confides to Mimi his problems with his unwelcome intruder, and Mimi also experiences the uninvited presence, along with the unwanted attention of a local handyman. Mimi and Jay quickly develop a relationship based on the unusual circumstances surrounding the cottage, but Cramer seems to be related to something much more sinister. The interconnectedness of the three and the plot twists of the storyline fill the novel with an eerie suspense that will hook young adult readers; it is a novel that is hard to put down. Adult language and content means that this is a mystery for mature audiences. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up–Mimi Shapiro, film studies major at NYU, leaves her predatory professor lover and escapes to a remote Canadian cottage that belongs to her father, Marc Soto, a prominent artist who walked out on Mimi and her mom years before. She finds the cottage occupied by Jay Page, a music student who is also Marc’s progeny by a local woman. Despite knowing nothing of one another, the half-siblings forge a quick bond and investigate a series of odd occurrences at the cottage. They discover a hidey-hole under a trapdoor in the floor with an escape tunnel, raising alarm that escalates after a break-in. The story unfolds in alternating viewpoints between Mimi and local loner Cramer Lee, yet another secret Marc Soto offspring, who lives nearby with his mentally unstable artist mother. Cramer supports her by working two jobs and spends his spare time working out with weights and spying on Jay and Mimi. Despite the thriller premise, the tension tends to be tepid, bogged down by overly picturesque descriptions of surroundings, clothing, and cuisine. Cramer’s character is well developed and sympathetic in his pathological shyness and twisted maternal relationship. City girl Mimi enthusiastically takes on rural life and travel by kayak, growing past self-absorption, but Wynne-Jones devotes more space to her possessions than her qualities. Jay remains peculiarly flat for a passionate musician. The complications and improbability of suddenly becoming family thrust upon the three are largely untapped.–Joyce Adams Burner, National Archives at Kansas City, MO
Kirkus Reviews
A selfish New York painter fathered three children by different mothers in his reckless youth. Now young adults, the spoiled college coed, the introspective classical composer and the disenfranchised factory worker discover each other when each of them has cause to visit their father's old studio in rural Canada. As their lives begin to intersect, one of them unknowingly introduces a murderous presence into their midst, an action that will have tragic consequences for them all. While the cover and title of Wynne-Jones's latest suggests a supernatural mystery, what emerges from the mist is more suspenseful family drama than haunted-house tale. The mystery of how the trio is linked would have been more satisfying had the author not spelled out their connections so plainly. Still, the three separate viewpoints he incorporates are compelling, the climax is truly heart-pounding and the beautifully evoked bucolic setting comes from behind to play a starring role. Older teen readers looking for something akin to Celia Rees's sensual, brooding The Wish House (2005) will not be disappointed. (Mystery. 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763639846
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 5/12/2009
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 1,403,283
  • Age range: 14 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Wynne-Jones is an award-winning writer of numerous YA novels. He lives in Ontario.

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Read an Excerpt


The Uninvited


By Tim Wynne-Jones
Candlewick
Copyright © 2009

Tim Wynne-Jones
All right reserved.



ISBN: 9780763639846


CHAPTER ONE


MIMI MISSED HER TURN and screeched to a stop.
"Shit!"
She checked the map on the seat beside her, backed up, and squinted through her own dust at the signpost.
Uppe V lenti e Rd.
"Close enough."
A deep-throated bark seized her attention. A gargantuan dog was tearing toward her from the dilapidated house on the corner.
"Shit!"
The animal bounced up and down at her door, brindle and with far too many yellow teeth. She threw the Mini Cooper into reverse again and slewed to the left, almost hitting the ugly mutt.
"Take that, Hellhound!"
Then she thrust the stick shift forward and left the paved road, sending out a rooster tail of gravel.
Undaunted, the dog stayed on her tail - stayed with her for a hundred yards or so - then finally fell behind, his territory no longer in danger.
Mimi took a deep breath and patted the leather-upholstered steering wheel. "Ms. Cooper, we are now officially not in Kansas," she said. And the Mini's horn beeped twice in reply.
The little car was red with a black top, and Mimi had red shades and black hair. She wore a red T-back sports bra and black low-rise capris, as if the car were an accessory. Well, it was small, after all. Like Mimi - small and powerful.
Gripping the wheel tightly in her lefthand, she picked up her digital camcorder from the passenger seat and held it at arm's length, aimed at her face.
"News update," she said. "This is Mimi Shapiro reporting from Nowhere!" She swiveled the wine-red JVC HDD around to take in the countryside: the empty dirt road stretching out before her, the overgrown borders and broken-down fences, the unkempt and empty fields, the desolate forest beyond them.
"Not a Starbucks in sight," she said, returning the camcorder to her face. "What do you think, Chet? Have we actually entered the Land that Time Forgot?"
"Well, Mimi," she replied in a low and amiable TV sidekick kind of voice. "you'd think the officials at the border might have warned us about this, wouldn't you? 'Welcome to Canada. Sorry we're out right now.'"
She put the camcorder down in order to negotiate a long S turn, and there up ahead - just to prove her wrong - two huge mud-stained trucks were pulled over onto the shoulder, nose to nose. Farmer One leaned on the driver's side door of Farmer Two. With both hands on the wheel, Mimi swerved around them, glad to be driv ing such a small and responsive vehicle. Both men wore ball caps, which they tipped as she flew by. They took her all in with their shaded eyes, and she wished she hadn't taken her shirt off back at the rest stop on 401.
"Oh, Ms. Cooper," she muttered. "What have we gotten ourselves into?"
She had left New York City yesterday morning and stayed overnight just outside Albany. Then bright and early this morning - way earlier than she was used to - she had set her compass due north, and here she was, though with every passing mile she wondered if maybe Marc had been lying to her. He was hardly the world's most reliable father.
"Almost there," she told herself, to calm her misgivings.
She glanced into her rearview mirror, half expecting Clem and Jed to be on her tail. She imagined them hopping into their trucks to follow the half-naked girl in the toy car. Yee-haw! But the road was empty behind her. She crested a hill. There was a house ahead, though it was hard to tell if anyone still lived in it.
She whooshed by the driveway, where an old woman with an even older dog was collecting the mail from her mailbox. The woman glanced Mimi's way, clutching a letter to her flat chest, glaring at the girl as she flew by. She was wearing a ball cap, too.
"Got to get me one of those," said Mimi.
The road was climbing now. On her right she caught the odd glimpse through the trees of a river - the Eden, she hoped, though it wasn't as impressive as Marc had led her to believe. She wouldn't put it past him to turn a creek into a river. She wouldn't put anything past him.
Lost Creek. She had seen a piece in the Tate Modern by the American artist Kathy Prendergast. It was called Lost and it was a map of the United States, but the places marked were all lost places: Lost Valley, Lost Hills, Lost Swamp, Lost Creek. All these lost places. She wondered if Prendergast had done a map of the lost places of Canada. She could use it about now. Or GPS.
A magical place, Marc had said. It wasn't the kind of word he used very often. A place to get your thoughts together.
Just then her cell phone started playing "Bohemian Rhapsody." She found it under the map, looked at the number, and threw the cell phone down. It stopped after a while but then started up a few minutes later.
"Fuck off, Lazar Cosic!" she shouted. "What part of 'leave me alone' don't you understand?"
Then she pulled the map out from under the cell phone and laid it on top. Ontario was a big province - seven times bigger than the Empire State. Surely you could escape someone in a place this large? She pressed a little harder on the accelerator.
Now the road began a lazy decline, and soon she was in the bowl of a wooded valley. Towering maples made a tunnel of the road ahead, though she could see late-afternoon sunlight glinting through the canopy, tinting the leaves with gold as if she had traveled right through summer into fall. She shuddered at the thought. Shuddered at the coolness of this leafy tunnel. She tried to reach her shirt on the backseat but swerved dangerously and gave up. There wasn't a lot of road to work with. Then she was out in the open again, and there was a flurry of tilting and rusted-out mailboxes. And then nothing . . .
In all fairness, Marc had described much of this, but he had never really gotten across the isolation of the place. But that's...

Continues...


Excerpted from The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones Copyright © 2009 by Tim Wynne-Jones. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 29, 2012

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    Good Read

    This book was one of the best I have read this year. Reading other reviews, I noticed there were a lot of complaints about it not being horror, or not being quite a mystery. And, frankly, it wasn't. It wasn't an edge-of-my-seat type of read and I took my time with it. However it was highly intriguing and original and I found myself connecting with the characters. The only critique about the writing that I do have is that the character development for Cramer seemed to be a little "off." At first he was creepy, then obsessed, and then accepted everything when he learned what was going on - it didn't seem like a logical progression, especially for the time frame. Either way, I really enjoyed this - it was a refreshing, light "mystery" and I would recommend this to anyone.

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  • Posted August 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Not what I expected

    I am actually just finishing this book and am very disappointed. I am a huge fan of books like this one and this one did not live up to my expectations. For me, the first half of the book was very hard to get through...it was kind of slow and a little boring. I could not make any connection to any of the characters. Speaking of characters, the main character Mimi was written poorly. I understand the author wanted Mimi to come off as young and naive but at the end she seemed ditsy and almost irritating. The only part of this book I really enjoyed was the ending...that is when the book started to get a little more interesting and where the story really picks up. I feel like for the entire book you are just reading about people's conversations with each other...not a great read.

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  • Posted August 23, 2011

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    Good read.

    Interesting tale and quirky characters. It sounded like a ghost tale but it was about a disfunctional family with some nut cases thrown in.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2011

    The uninvited

    Very good book could not put it down the author put a m ix of drama suspence and mystery into this book awesome book to read

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  • Posted August 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Fantastic Story!

    Mimi Shapiro is running. Running away from a disturbing first year at NYU to a small and creepy town in Nowhere, Canada. She hopes that while there for the summer, she can get her first screen play written, while coming to turns with what happened to her in the previous year.

    Though nothing can stay perfect for long. When arriving at her father's deserted old summer house she finds that someone else is living there too. Her long lost half brother, a half brother that has been having his own problems, as of lately. Problems that involve a mysterious stalker who has been leaving him "presents" of dead birds and snake skin.

    Can the two of them make it through the summer? Will they get to know each other the way only siblings can? Will they catch the stalker before their lives come to a crashing halt? Well, I guess you'll have to find out for yourself, in The Uninvited by Tim Wayne- Jones.

    Only one adjective comes to mind after reading this page turning thriller: Wow! The Uninvited is a book that mixes mystery and getting to know long lost siblings in a fresh and fantastic new way. I was constantly trying to figure out how everything tied together. The characters were my favorite part of this story. They were well developed, likable, and funny. Plus, Tim Wayne-Jones' writing was pretty darn good. I loved how he slowly told the past of the characters and the stalker by reveling their secrets one at a time. Overall, The Uninvited is a definite must read for all teens and adults.

    Grade: A+

    * Reviewed For Flamingnet

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  • Posted June 20, 2009

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    Reviewed by Lynn Crow for TeensReadToo.com

    When New Yorker Mimi drives all the way up into the Canadian wilderness to find the little house her artist father once used as a studio, she's just looking to spend some time alone - and away from an affair with a professor that has taken a nasty turn.

    The last thing she expects is to find someone already occupying the house. Jay, a young musician struggling to find his muse, is more connected to Mimi than she first realizes. And so is the shy young man who watches them in secret from the river.

    As Mimi and Jay divide up the house, the idyllic setting in the countryside is disrupted by a series of intrusions that become more and more destructive and apparently hostile. Why would anyone want to disturb them? How can they be stopped? And just how many secrets lie hidden in that long-abandoned house?

    THE UNINVITED is a tense mystery broken by occasional bits of peace and beauty. The three narrators become more and more sympathetic as the reader gets to know them, and all of the supporting characters are well-developed and full of personality as well. Some of the best scenes are when Mimi, Jay, and Jay's girlfriend, Iris, are just hanging out, getting to know one another. But the gripping, suspenseful scenes are equally well done.

    Wynne-Jones does a masterful job of letting certain moments stand as they are, without pushing them into melodrama, like the subtly creepy chapter end when Mimi discovers someone's filmed her on her own camera. Readers will enjoy fitting the pieces together as they learn about each of the characters, but the most important questions will keep them eagerly turning pages right until the end. They may find it a little confusing that Jay's narrative is nearly completely dropped part of the way through the book, and the brief sections in italics don't seem to completely integrate into the story, but those are minor quibbles.

    Highly recommended to all fans of mystery and suspense.

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  • Posted May 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Uninvited

    The Uninvited, by Tim Wynne-Jones, is a mysterious novel about a young girl, student at New York University, named Mimi Shapiro. She goes through many terrorizing events during her freshman year of college that change her life forever. It all begins with an affair she has with one of her professors. After making this terrible mistake, she finds him being strangely obsessive. She decides to move into a little home with her 22 year old half brother, Jackson, in Ontario. Once moved in, she and Jackson begin to suspect there is another presence in the house. They find tokens left in the house such as a dead bird and snake skin. This scares them a bit; however, Mimi wants to get to the bottom of what is going on. Could it be the professor stalking her? Or could it be something supernatural? This haunting thriller keeps the reader intrigued and unable to set the book down. It is full of suspense and keeps you wondering what is going to happen next.

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    Posted December 4, 2009

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    Posted July 30, 2009

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    Posted January 13, 2012

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