Monday, June 17, 2013

REVIEW: UNDECLARED BY JEN FREDERICK (WOODLANDS #1)

For four years, Grace Sullivan wrote to a Marine she never met, and fell in love. But when his deployment ended, so did the letters. Ever since that day, Grace has been coasting, academically and emotionally. The one thing she’s decided? No way is Noah Jackson — or any man — ever going to break her heart again.

Noah has always known exactly what he wants out of life. Success. Stability. Control. That’s why he joined the Marines and that’s why he’s fighting his way — literally — through college. Now that he’s got the rest of his life on track, he has one last conquest: Grace Sullivan. But since he was the one who stopped writing, he knows that winning her back will be his biggest battle yet.

This is a mature New Adult book. I see that it is classified as YA - not sure how to change that - but I wanted to be clear that it has explicit love scenes in the story.

Kindle Edition, 260 pages
Published April 28th 2013 by Jen Frederick

Where to Find Undeclared

Where to Find Jen Frederick:

First off, I would like to say that I am a big fan of this cover! And then I was crazy wanting to read it because it has a marine + fighter all in the same book. Since he did have a tattoo, he is the trifecta of my ultimate book boyfriend so I was beyond thrilled! Haha, Courtney. We are so much alike--hot guy + tattoo =mustread.

Grace was very interesting to me, because she goes through the motions of being a normal girl but it is obvious early that she is doing just that..going through the motions. She put herself out there emotionally with this one guy, that she had never met and then just never gets back into the swing of things. As the blurb says, she is coasting through life and even when this mysterious guy that she exchanged letters with all that time just happens to show up, she is reluctant to take another chance on him. I thought she took way too dang much crap and bad advice from her cousin (who has probably more emotional baggage than Grace does) and really needed Noah. 

Yeah, I thought that her cousin was well meaning but sticking her advice in where it wasn't always appropriate or needed (as many friends and family members tend to do--so very real in that respect). My take on Grace is that her past, especially with Noah, has made her extremely resistant to failure so she never takes a risk. She does what she's expected to do and is always looking for the safe way to do things...she's so scared of rejection that she never puts herself out there. She loves Noah, listens too much to Lana, and not enough to her own self.

Since we get to see Noah's point of view (which I love) and therefore his motivations for the choices he has made (which I also love) I did a little yelling for them just to communicate! Another one of those where each of their stubbornness gets way, way, way in the way and derails things on more than one occasion. Noah took (almost) too much time getting his stuff in order, but on the other hand I loved that about him because it showed how determined and dedicated he was to making something of himself. While we all know that money doesn't determine anyone's worth or that Grace would have cared, it was still nice that he had a plan and goals for himself and after he decided not to be in the Marines forever he found a way to put himself through college. 

Agreed, Court. Noah is a really great guy. He's a gentleman--opens doors for her, carries her stuff, makes sure she's home safely, AND! even looks after her cousin when she's too drunk to look after herself. His flaw, I think, is that he sees her as perfect and so he thinks that HE needs to be perfect for her. No one is perfect and showing your flaws (especially in a relationship) is important for a relationship to work. Also, by telling someone that she is perfect you're kinda setting them up for failure...not good. But of course, they get past all of that. To his credit, Noah does not give up on Grace and he patiently and persistently waits for her to come around to the idea of them being together. He loves her and while some may say it borders on stalkerish...others may say his love is swoonworthy. 

Little known fact about my family: my dad was drafted to serve in the Vietnam War and while he was there he and my mother wrote letters to each other daily. My mom even kept the letters. So when I began reading and saw that Grace and Noah exchanged letters (and only letters while he served), I was completely hooked into reading more. I just found it so old fashioned and romantic. 

Since we always, always want more I too could have used even more of the letters. I loved everything we did see though and that is what endeared me to the story even more. He found one person who he could talk to, when if it hadn't been for her he probably wouldn't have gotten anything, and instead of being a typical young guy he cherished those letters. Noah's vulnerable side was very attractive, as was his never give up attitude to win her over once he figured out his life. 

The crew! Obvs, we always love a great supporting cast and we weren't disappointed here. Lana has her moments, and probably a little more than half of the time I wanted to choke her for her bad advice giving skills, but it is clear that she loves Grace like a real sister. She definitely didn't help her feel more secure in her feelings being as inexperienced as she was, but poor Lana was looking for her experiences in all of the wrong places so she was lovingly misguided. Bo was a favorite because he is Noah's best friend and Marine partner. He didn't get their relationship AT ALL but he is the bestest best friend ever, because he supported them anyways. I also loved Josh. He's around a little bit and almost overdose the protective brother bit, but by the end he really stepped up and I loved him!(Yes, the advice he gives at the end is priceless for Grace!) These three and the rest of the guys that Noah and Bo live with all could potentially be great companion stories, and since those are my favorite, I cannot wait! Alas, I will patiently wait for more Bo, but a girl can hope since we always want more! So since I never have less than 15 tabs going while blogging, I stumbled upon a tentative release schedule which confirms that the roommates Finn, Adam, and Mal will get their own stories! YAY! Find this info HERE! Courtney...I don't want to bore our readers by repeating exactly everything you just said..so I'll just say that I absolutely concur everything you've just said. 

I really liked this one, because while their actual together relationship was not that long, it wasn't a turn off because they got to know each other emotionally for four years. It was the most fun seeing Grace realize that this person that really knew her innermost thoughts and fears best is someone she really didn't know even day to day things about. That was confusing for her, and like I said a lot of fun for me! I do wish we had gotten a little more on how their future, but I am hopeful that we get that in Bo's book too. I enjoyed this one too. My biggest complaint--if you can call it that-- was that I wanted to know more about their back stories, especially Grace's. I guess I thought if I knew more about her past that I might understand more about why she was the way that she was. And, of course I'd love to know more about how things end up for them in the future-- but knowing that companion novels are in the works, I'm hoping she'll include Noah and Grace and how they are doing in those.


Shelley - 4 stars
Courtney - 5 Stars

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