Review: Undeclared by Jen Frederick


Title: Undeclared (Woodlands #1)
Author: Jen Frederick
Date of publication: 28 April 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Author links: Website / Goodreads

My rating: 2.5 stars

Goodreads Blurb

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.

My Review 

ARC provided by the author in exchange of an honest review.

I was intrigued by the blurb of this book - an ex-Marine and MMA fighter, a shy college girl and their friendship-to-love story which started the old-fashioned way - writing letters to each other while he was stationed in Afghanistan. It sounded like a book that I would enjoy. And I did enjoy some of it but there were too many things I really did not like.

I liked the Hero, Noah. He was was well developed as a character and seemed really believable to me. I could relate to him and his struggle to succeed in everything, including in getting Grace. I enjoyed his confidence and determination, even his awkwardness/inexperience in pursuing a romantic relationship. through his letters to Grace and in his interactions with the others we gain a thorough glimpse into his mind and soul.

I also liked his mates, Bo especially, and I felt they worked well as supporting characters in the book. Here, I have to say that I am excited that Bo is getting his own book which I will be glad to read.

I did not like the heroine, Grace, though. She acted childish and outright stupid for most part of the book, both in her relationship with Noah and also with regard to her studies and overall attitude towards life. I am aware of how young she is (only 19), yet I found her lack of confidence in any aspect of her life really annoying.

I also had some concerns regarding the age difference between Grace and Noah (if my calculations are correct, she must have started her correspondence with Noah when she was just 13!!!). It seems to me she was far too young to be a pen pal with 17 years old guy who is a Marine in Afghanistan.

I think the inclusion of the letters Noah and Grace wrote to each other was a great idea but I wish we were given more of them. They would have given a much needed background to the love story. I would love to see how their feelings for one another actually developed through their correspondence. It is a pity that we were not given their final letters to one another, as well. After all, these letters are at the bottom of the situation provoking the whole story in the book.

I also had some issues with the author's writing style. It seemed simplistic and flat at times. There are also some plot lines, like Noah's business venture and his fighting career, which were just left opened and underdeveloped.

Despite the happy end, I did not particularly like the ending. I did not really understand the final scene with the costumes.

Overall, I feel the story had great potential but I feel it was not sufficiently developed.

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