Review originally posted here: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/05/03/review-undeclared-by-jen-frederick/
I was so intrigued by the idea of falling for a pen pal that I knew I needed to request this book. Also, given it was another book to add to my growing collection of new adult reads, I was extra excited about it.
Grace started writing a Marine while in high school for a school project. The last thing she expected was to hear back from him, start a friendship via his letters, and find herself falling in love with a man she’d never met. Now that she’s in college and trying to get over the fact that Noah cut all ties, she is trying to find her place.
Noah always wanted Grace, but he knew he wasn’t in a good place when he got out of the Marines. Now that he’s ready for her, he knows he will have to fight to get through the walls his dismissal of her built. As they navigate through college and growing up, they will try to find a way back to each other.
I loved the concept of this book, and I thought the execution was so well done! Grace’s crush on Noah based off their letters was so sweet. However, as they meet in college, they both got the chance to see that their time as pen pals was the best kind of foundation to build their relationship. Writing letters gave them a chance to share their fears, desires and goals without the worry of what the other would think. I just love that idea.
At times, it seemed as if Grace was more of a YA character than an NA character. She was so young and naive and sweet; she had an air of innocence about her that made her seem younger than she was. But I liked that she was also given the chance to grow up quite a bit throughout the story. She realized she had to be the one to stand up for herself, to take life by the horns and go for exactly what she wanted out of life. I liked watching her develop and mature on the pages of the book, and liked the way Frederick developed her character.
While I liked Noah, I wasn’t absolutely ga-ga over him. I enjoyed the fact that he had enough knowledge of himself to know that as much as he wanted Grace, he wasn’t in a good place after getting out of the military. He had enough self awareness to know that he needed to get a better hold on himself and his life before he could be good enough for her. I respected him so much for that. At the same time, he also seemed to have a chip on his shoulder, and as much as I can see wanting to “make it” on your own, it wouldn’t have hurt him to accept that he needed help every now and then as well.
I thought their relationship was great. I liked that each chapter started with one of the letters from their past, as it gave us a beautiful glimpse into the stories they shared with one another. After they reconnected, Grace was hesitant to start something with Noah because she knew she could get her heart broken all over again. I liked that they took things slow, that Noah took the time to woo Grace and show that he could be reliable and dependable.
I liked a lot of the secondary characters as well. Noah’s best friend Bo and Grace’s cousin Lana were great supporting figures. I hope that Frederick will write a story for each of them, because they are both exciting characters and have some interesting back stories to tell.
All in all I enjoyed this book. There were a few editing mishaps that I can only hope were caught in the final rounds of edits, but I was impressed by the high quality editing that this self-published book had. I hope to see more from this set of characters in the future, as they were all fun to read. I am glad that I picked this book up, and I hope to see more of Frederick in the future.
I give Undeclared a B