Author: Jen Frederick
Publisher: 260 Pages (April 28th, 2013)
From: the Author
Format: eARC & Paperback
Add to: Goodreads
Order a copy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository, Amazon UK
NOTE: This is a "New Adult" novel. Due to mature content this title is recommended for ages 17+
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.
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.
Review: 4 Stars - Undeclared is the first title in the Woodlands series by author Jen Fredrick and being her debut title she jumps in with both feet to make a big splash in the “New Adult” category.
Grace and Noah have history. When he was stationed overseas they had an old fashioned friendship via letters sent back and forth. That is until his deployment ended and he simply vanished from her life after she took a risk and asked about meeting. They might have only had a relationship in the letters back and forth to each other but the emotions were a lot stronger than either would or could have ever imagined.
Noah needs to have the stability and control in his life that the Marines gave him. He needed to find it once he left the service. He has goals and plans and wants to complete certain things before going to reconnect with Grace. He know he did wrong by her and this story is about him taking a chance and making things right again. It’s about Grace growing and questioning if she’s willing to put her heart on the line again for someone she was so hurt by.
I felt for and swooned over Noah from the beginning. My heart broke for Grace yet I understood his reasons for the things that he did. I just wished for both of them there would have been better communication between the two because it would have saved them both so much hurt.
While I loved the story and the characters, the secondary characters were also interesting and not only held my attention but also helped the story move along, helped the characters through troubles and were a key aspect to the overall story. I found myself highly enjoying any and all interaction with all the characters and was also pleasantly surprised by just how much I loved everyone in the story. I mean, I might not have agreed with everything that was said or done, but that’s the part of the characters that make them different, unique, flawed and often realistic.
When I finished reading I wished the book had been a bit longer. This is why the 4 star review instead of a 5. Ever read a book and you wish there was just a bit more background or understanding behind certain parts of the story or a character? And if you had these things it would make the book polished to a high shine? That’s what I felt here. While there’s so much to love, I felt Fredrick could have taken the fantastic book she had and made this beyond epic! At the end, I was happy with where the characters were at. I couldn't wait to get my hands on the next installment and get to know some of those secondary characters up close and personal. While I liked where the story ended I could totally see Fredrick revisiting Grace and Noah further down the line in a continuation of their story. *hint, hint Jen!*
All in all, this is wonderful from the story to the characters and from beginning to end. I loved it! Full of characters, main and secondary to make you swoon and then some, I highly recommend this title! Fans of “New Adult” shouldn't pass this one OR this author by. I can’t wait for more and I know other readers will feel the same.