This is the first novel in the Woodlands series by Jen Frederick.
*I received this as an eARC by the author in exchange for a review.*
During the four years of high school, Grace Sullivan wrote to Noah Jackson, a Marine in combat. What started out as a class assignment lead into a close relationship where Grace and Noah told each other things they never talk about to anyone else.
But when Noah left the Marines, Grace thought that she would finally meet the man that she fell in love with during the four years. However, Noah stopped communicating with her for two years.
So Grace was thrown when she saw Noah at Central College during her junior year. Even though she was excited to finally meet him, her anger came out at him for ignoring her for two years. Two years in which she expected him to call, write, or come see her.
She already had enough of her plate at school, not knowing what to major in and knowing if she didn't find something soon, her uncle would stop paying for her education. But she was too scared to go to the Fine Arts program to show them her photography. Adding Noah into the mix was going to be a lot to handle right now.
And Noah knew that he would not be in Grace's good favors. In fact, Noah knew that even though he'd been in the Marines, which is hard work, getting Grace to talk to him again would be 10 times harder than what he endured in the Marines.
But Noah has a life long goal. And Grace is the last thing on his list. He doesn't want to be her friend. He fell for her and thought of her so often during his being a Marine. He knew no one would ever be like Grace and didn't want to try to find anyone else.
So when they first see each other, things are difficult. Noah has perfected the art of covering his feelings. And Grace has no idea what Noah wants, so they try to be friends. But that doesn't work well and they finally let the other in, seeing that they both want to be in a relationship because the feelings from two years ago didn't fade. Not really.
But can Grace let Noah back in? She doesn't want to get hurt again by Noah; it took her a long time to get over Noah when she was talking to him via snail mail. How hard would it be if he broke her heart after she left him in in person?
Can they re-salvage their relationship and gain the trust back? Read Undeclared by Jen Frederick to find out!
Just a forewarning, this is a NEW ADULT novel, which means that it's a little bit more mature and graphic than a YA novel but not too racy like an adult novel. Mainly, New Adult (NA) novels are set in college and are about characters who are starting to grow up, but still do things that are immature.
I LOVED this book! It is so much more than the New Adult novels that I've been reading, yet exactly the same!
One thing that I absolutely loved was that Noah was in the Marines. When he came back to go to school and see Grace, he knew he had to get himself back as a civilian and not a soldier, which took a lot of time and patience. He learned to contain his emotions and appearance, except when he was around Grace.
And even though Grace was financially stable because of her rich uncle, she had no clue where she was going in life. She couldn't even pick a major; how could she decide if she wanted to give Noah another chance?
Another thing that I loved was Bo, Noah's best friend and fellow Marine soldier. Bo didn't think Grace was good enough for Noah, and made his thoughts very clear. Bo was usually very silent, but when he wanted to say something, he made it clear what his thoughts were.
I think Frederick nailed it about being a college student. It's hard figuring out what one wants to do for the rest of their life. I remember a lot of students going to their senior year and realizing they don't want to do the career they've been majoring in for the duration of their college years. So I can completely understand Grace's struggle with career/major options.
A third thing I loved about this book was that Grace was a student worker in a library. I did that for four years and that's why I became a librarian. Reading the scenes where she was at work brought me back to those years and made me smile.
And snail mail. Who does snail mail anymore? And who would keep contacting one person whom they've never met for four years with snail mail? That alone should be given an award, because most lose the time, patience, and ambition to keep up with that!
I was lucky enough to get an eARC by Frederick after being introduced to her work via Twitter. (And thank you so much for letting me read it! So glad I didn't have to wait longer!) This eBook will be released May 1 - under a month! - and I think it will be a really big hit among New Adult book lovers. It's very edgy, but also realistic.
I would most definitely urge other NA readers to grab this book when it becomes available! And I want more by Frederick already! Her writing kept me reading into the middle of the night and I was very sad when the book had to end.
So, May 1. Just a little under 3 weeks. Mark it on your calendar and buy this eBook!