REVIEW: Undeclared by Jen Frederick (Woodlands #1)

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Undeclared (Woodlands #1)
Author: Jen Frederick
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult
Release Date: April 28th 2013
Published By: Jen Frederick
AISN: B00CKEG8S2

★ SYNOPSIS ★

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.

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★ MY REVIEW ★

Undeclared is one of those HEA’s that I really enjoyed. There were moments when reading it that I didn’t even want to put it down and eyeballed people like they had the plague when they’d ask me to do something. This book also tugged on my heart strings pretty vigorously. It’s one of those stories that I personally sigh over and feel like my insides are squishy.. and I might even need to hug myself.

Grace is a bundle of confidence issues, but yet has a spine at the same time. This almost made me boggle at first, but then you understand where they stem from. She has been writing to a guy for years, sending care packages and taking care of him from afar. She doesn’t date, doesn’t go out, she doesn’t look at other guys, nothing. It wasn’t planned that way, that is just how it happened. After four years, she gets a Dear Jane letter, which throws her into a spiral of grief, for lack of a better way to put it. Fast forward two years, she’s in college, an amazing photographer, who is basically trying to get on with her life but can’t choose a path. Through it all, Noah is still always in the back of her head, and she still hasn’t truly moved on.

Noah is that strong, steady guy. I -love- him! He comes off to me as solid, someone you can lean on if you need to. He falls in love with Grace via their letters. It’s not a sudden thing, its a slow one that builds and seems to burn brighter the longer they go on. Then after his third tour, he decides to leave the Marines. This throws him from military life, to civilian life and trying to figure out how to make it work, and what to do after the military. He’s not prepared for that, nor is he prepared mentally for living without the adrenaline rush that he’s come to recognize as normal. He’s trying to deal with all of that, and a case of PTSD and doesn’t want Grace involved. He doesn’t think he’s good enough for her, so instead of meeting her, he sends a Dear Jane, and then goes out and tries his damnedest to make something of himself so that he can be worthy of her. This leads him to MMA, which he turns out extremely good at, and it gives him the adrenaline rush that he’d come to enjoy.

Again, jump ahead two years to the present. Noah intentionally goes out of his way to end up at the same college as Grace, then he avoids her. I found that amusing, because it shows his nerves and how much she actually means to him. They do finally meet up, for the very first time and I can’t even call it magic, it’s awkward. Grace is .. ticked. Minor spoiler here: I’d be pretty ticked off too if the guy I’ve been writing to for years, flirting with, etc, sent me a Dear Jane, telling me I’m like his little sister and that we are better off friends. I can’t blame Grace at all for her reaction, or for not letting him close. This however, means Noah works for it. He goes out of his way, he shows her what she means to him and he does it in such a way that it allows the story to continue to develop.

I decided on a four star rating because of a few things. The main thing that really threw me off, was the age timeline. Grace starts writing to Noah in high school, it’s made clear it’s high school, however, that’s where it gets confusing until you figure out his age when he went into the Marines. Through the first half of the book that didn’t make sense to me, so it wasn’t adding up and I had a moment of, “Wait what!? Is she twelve or something?”. Thankfully, that’s not the case, you just have to read closer to the end to figure that out. It threw me for a loop though and I spent a good deal of the book trying to piece out ages.

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I would definitely recommend this book to pretty much anyone who likes romance and a HEA (Happily Ever After). It’s a bit different, but yet the characters are very well done, as well as the supporting characters. I cannot -wait- to read Bo’s book and I’m kissing the ground that it’s already out.

MY RATING:

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