Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Undeclared Review

Book Review May 29
by: Jen Frederick
★★★★ 4 Stars 

Blurb: 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.


I’ll admit the description of this book drew me in. It was intriguing, romantic and the book did not disappoint. It’s swoon-worthy just thinking about it. It has Lifetime movie written all over it. Anyway…. I had this book on my TBR list and couldn’t wait to get ahold of it. Thanks to the author I was given a free copy to review and it’s time like this that even my honest review does nothing to truly portray the awesomeness of the story. Maybe I’ve just been craving a more original concept recently, which this most definitely had, or I just managed to find the perfect book to expel me from my reading funk.  

First let me just say I loved the dual POV’s in the book. They really flowed from one person to the next and we were able to get a true glimpse into who Noah and Grace are. There’s nothing worse than getting to a new chapter and pages in realizing your reading a different character’s POV. IT’s so simple and thankfully the names are listed at the top of the new chapter…

 For four years Grace wrote to Noah while he was stationed in Afghanistan. What started as a school assignment quickly turned into more for Grace. Over time obviously the two bonded and Grace fell in love, Noah as well. Considering where Noah was, when he decided to leave the military he knew he needed time to get his head on straight and become a person more deserving of Grace. However, he sends her a Dear John letter telling her they are friends and it’s silly to think any more of it. To say Grace falls into a pit of despair is pretty accurate. Though, the two have never met, their correspondence allowed them to be bond in a more WWII Lifetime movie moment.  The only communication these two had was through the letters, no phone calls, Skyping, texting etc. Grace was Noah’s savior in the times of war and pain. Though by pushing her away he only made his job that much harder two years later when he decides to go get his girl. Noah’s plan, “Get out of the Marines, get a degree, get Grace.”

What’s the inevitable action of two ‘friends’ with an immense attraction to one another….? 
For some reason, when they meet up again, both are hesitant to be honest. Grace is still nursing a shattered heart when Noah pretty much broke up with her. She had so many plans of them meeting and falling in love in person that when he denied her, she lost it. Her faith in men and relationships also suffered and she does not believe that suddenly two years later Noah is there because of her. Did I mention he followed her to college? It may sound stalkerish but Noah is beyond sweet and he really only wants to do right by her. It takes him quite awhile to even get the nerve to approach her, though he has no qualms about learning her class schedule, daily routine and home address.  

Grace is rather mad because she felt shafted when he sent her the Dear John letter saying how they would never be more than friends. As Noah calls it, he ‘friend-zoned’ her.  Needless to say she holds a grudge for a lot of the time, but I think any female would do the same. Self-preservation people!!! After four years of talking Noah’s letter brings on two years of complete silence and disconnect. She does not believe they can or will be more, so the two begin a merry dance of your my friend, blah, blah blah. In fact I’m surprised how long these two were able to hold off and continue the charade of being friends. After almost six years the sexual tension is off the charts and both are too afraid to admit the truth because they don’t want to lost one another all over again.
Since corresponding with Noah, Grace closed herself off from men. She thought Noah was ‘the one’ but then he disappeared and she is still recovering when he steps back in. She tries so hard to not look pathetic and does not want him to think she was pining away for him for the past two years. It’s rather funny and cute at times how she will make flippant comments or become more brazen as if she’s hiding another person inside of her. And somehow she is. Noah manages to bring Grace out of her shell.

Grace has a passion for photography. In fact she is so amazing she gets paid to shoot professional photos for her brothers University nearby. Yet, she is too afraid to enter the art program because she fears failure. Thus the title, Undeclared, because not only is Grace undeclared as a major, she is also unsure of life. She loves photography and her camera is practically another limb for her, but she does not think she will be able to make a career of doing what she loves. Noah gives her a push and though the first time it doesn’t work out, she manages to come out stronger in the end and of course, no longer be Undeclared. 

”Getting advice from another Marine on how to handle a relationship was like asking another orphan how to handle your parents.”-Noah

Noah and Grace’s friends, Bo and Lana were a great addition. Lana was fun, carefree and helped bring Grace out of her hidey hole. Bo on the other hand, is more mysterious. We don’t get a complete grasp of him, as if there’s more waiting to be uncovered. (His story is book 2 so the wait won’t be long.) For most of the book, he is unsure of the relationship between Grace and Noah. He often tells Noah to move on and get over it. Though he’s there emotionally and literally helping Noah with his fighting, there’s still more to him than meets the eye. Whereas Noah is a romantic teddy bear, Bo is a provocative mystery. 

When Noah and Grace finally get together you can hear church bells ringing and exclamations of, “it’s about time…””I’m going to make you feel so good the first time we make love that you’ll want to jump my bones every second afterward. If you don’t remember it, my plan will fail.”-Noah I’m sick of characters having sex for the first time drunk and of course regretting it in the morning, not Noah however, he puts the breaks on things because he knows how it will turn out. THANK GOD!!
Since everything that happened between the two Grace is weary of everything. More so she thinks Noah will end up leaving her again and breaking her heart for good this time. So what’s she do??? Push him away of course. And obviously, this climatic moment was necessary near the end but what I didn’t like was how quickly it all wrapped up. I know I was more mad in general that it was ending, but even the epilogue felt super rushed and took away some of the love I achieved from the start. It made me feel a little confused as if something was missing. Aside from the end the only thing I didn’t like was Noah’s “I'm not good enough,” ideals, it’s like a male lead prerequisite in almost every story.
To Noah UFC fighter, Marine and all around good guy I say: 

Overall this book was amazing. It was beautiful, romantic, sweet and so many more unnecessarily named adjectives I could go on all day. Also New Adult if that’s your thing… Read Undeclared you will not be disappointed.


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