Undeclared (Woodlands, #1) by Jen Frederick
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.
Currently FREE on Amazon
What makes up love? Is it the chemistry of the connection? Which comes first? Does it matter?
So many stories start with the chemistry and build the connection after that. This story is the opposite. These two wrote to each other for four years while Noah was in the Marines. Their connection was strong despite having never met each other. But that's not enough. I think that's why some people dislike insta-love stories. Too one sided on attraction. It can't work the other way either. But when Noah was home, he wasn't in a state to meet Grace in person. He needed time to recover from what he had to deal with in war. He handled that badly but he is a guy. I forgave him. Does Grace? Check the book to find out.
Books fall down to characters, story and writing for me. So here's how this one breaks down.
Characters - I adore Noah. I respect how he wanted to heal before presenting himself to Grace. I love that he gives her space but doesn't give up. I adore his sweet southern charm. The boy opens doors and takes care of her even though he knows she can do it herself easily. He cares for her and wants to show it. So sweet. I love his passion and his desire to please Grace. Sexy boy who can hold his own in a fight and bed. I really enjoyed the parts of the story that were his POV.
Grace took a little more for me to like. She's undeclared and feels guilty about it. While she grew up with money, her family is definitely got it's problems. She's the result. But her unwillingness to explore her options in college had me wanting to smack her. When she pushes Noah away, I wanted to double smack her. I get it though. She needs to grow and she does. That's why I kept reading (well listening actually) and I grew to love her. She loves to take pictures and she's good at it. It's her passion but she doesn't see it as her future. I might see a little of me in her - which could be a lot of why I was not as tolerate of her as I should have been. But I did learn to love her just as Noah already did.
The secondary characters are great. Gotta love Bo and his dedication to his friend. Can't wait for his story. All the guys living in the Woodlands are fun.
Story - I was frustrated here a bit. It seemed like a lot of the reason these two were apart could have been avoided with some communication. Guess that's true for a lot of books. I found myself yelling to Noah to just tell her. But, of course, he didn't...yet. And in the end, I saw why it was needed. It's a lesson in holding on through a book. Because I really did enjoy this story.
Writing - Good...it's good. This is the first book I've read by this author and it won't be the last. The words painted pictures in mind and didn't give me pause. Can't ask for more than that.
For this one, I need to add a word about the narrators. Both are great. There's a guy for Noah and a girl for Grace. I enjoyed them but I will say that I liked the male voice better. You should not be surprised by THAT at all.
Those who enjoy the sexy New Adult genre will enjoy this one for sure.