The Uninvited

Common Sense Media says

Siblings team up to solve mystery in suspenseful teen read.





What parents need to know

Educational value

Teens who like mysteries will find it easy to get through this book. See our "Families Can Talk About" section for some ideas for delving into the book's plot and themes.

Positive messages

Coming-of-age themes as Mimi finds
strength and wisdom that she didn't know she had. Jay and Mimi learn how to be brother and sister and work together to solve the mystery of the lakehouse stalker.


Positive role models

Mimi and Jay are both relatable and responsible young adults, struggling and persevering in the face of professional and personal challenges. The parents in this book are mostly dysfunctional, but they are on the periphery and their dysfunction adds a bit of depth to the main characters. 


There is a lot of suspense and worry about violence that may happen, but there is very little actual violence -- some shouting and mild scuffles. One character is shot and another commits suicide.


A minor character has children with three different women at around the same time. Cramer watches his half-sister Mimi change her clothes without her knowledge.


Nothing out of the ordinary for the characters' ages. There are a couple of uses each of "s--t," "f--k," "damn," "bitch," and "Jesus." Also, a character is called "faggy."


Mimi's Mini Cooper, MacBook, and JVC HDD camcorder are mentioned quite often and play a part in the plot. Many other brands are mentioned in passing: Molson Canadian, Pennzoil, Ford Taurus, Starbucks, iPod, Doritos, Gibson, Roland, Martin, Stratocaster, OshKosh, Disney, Birkenstocks, 3M, and Honda Element.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Not much to worry about here. Some adults drink responsibly, calling a cab when they feel they shouldn't drive.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this mystery involves some violence and edgy material, but nothing that should shock teen readers. There are a couple of examples of inappropriate/abusive relationships, but the relationships are not glorified. The fallout from the relationships changes the main characters for the better. There is some violence culminating in attempted murder and suicide, but it is not written graphically.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

After breaking off an affair with her college professor, Mimi Shapiro flees to her father's cabin in rural Canada. Upon arrival, she is surprised to find Jay Page, a budding musician, living in the cabin. Jay is just as surprised as she is -- and suspects Mimi was behind a couple of odd happenings at the cabin: a snake skin left on Jay's pillow, a dead bluebird on his table. Soon the pair figure out that they are half-siblings, children of Marc Soto, a famous artist -- and Jay and Mimi eventually are introduced to yet another half-brother, the alienated loner Cramer Lee. Cramer has always known that the popular and talented Jay was his brother, and has followed and watched him with creepy admiration for most of his life, including his time spent at their father's cabin. When Cramer becomes smitten with Mimi -- and the mysterious stalker steps up his game -- Jay and Mimi join together to solve the mystery of The Uninvited.

Is it any good?


This book is a goosebump-inducing page turner. The mystery of the seemingly menacing events that take place at the cabin will keep readers interested, as will the emotional dynamics of the relationship between Mimi, Jay, and Cramer, as well as between Cramer and his emotionally fragile mother. Readers will appreciate Mimi's ability to finds
strength and wisdom that she didn't know she had -- and be pleased when the half-siblings accept each other and become a team. There is some violence -- one character is shot and another commits suicide -- but it is mostly the suspense of what might happen that will grip teens.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the edgy material here. Nothing is very graphic, but this book does feature an inappropriate relationship, a parent who fathers children with various women, and an attempted murder and suicide. Is reading about violence and other gritty stuff the same as seeing it in movies or on television shows?

  • What is appealing about a mystery? How does this one compare to others that you've read? Did you find that the author was following a formula -- or were there surprises along the way?

Book details

Author:Tim Wynne-Jones
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Candlewick Press
Publication date:May 12, 2009
Number of pages:368
Publisher's recommended age(s):14 - 17

This review of The Uninvited was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous July 26, 2011

Really Good, Bad Role Models :P

Really good!! It's a little violent, and the sexual behavior isn't ALL that bad, but the role models weren't very good. The main character swears a lot, and the main character's dad had kids with 3 different women, one of them is flat out crazy and shoots her son. Other than that, loved it!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Kid, 10 years old November 26, 2010
love it.
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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