Monday, July 6, 2015

Undeclared by Jen Frederick (Woodlands #1)

  • Release Date: April 28th 2013
  • Pages: 260
  • Genre: New Adult
  • Publisher: Self-Published

When I discovered Sarah Wendell and the rest of the Bitchery I also discovered Jane Litte from Dear, Author. While I was familiar with her from various bookternet goings ons I didn’t get to really know her until I started listening to the podcast. I really admire Jane’s unfiltered-ness and willingness to stand up for her own opinions. So, when she  revealed she had written some books under a penname I was excited to read them--despite some of the controversy surrounding it.

This book was recently  listed for free on Amazon and for 1.99 I upgraded to Whispersync--which is a feature that allows you to switch between the Audible audiobook and Kindle book across multiple devices. I know AMAZON IS EVUL, but I really like this feature. I could switch between my e-ink Kindle and the audiobook on my phone seamlessly.

The heroine  is 19-year-old college sophomore Grace Sullivan who is both undeclared in her major and in life. The hero  is Noah Jackson a Marine that Grace has been corresponding with since she was in high school. When Noah ends his tour goes ghost on her despite promises of them being together leaving Grace brokenhearted. Just when she thinks she is over him he shows up out of the blue, enrolls at her college and is ready to win back her heart.

In retrospect I get major Great Gatsby vibes from this book. Noah is from a lower class town and wants to do nothing more than to impress Grace and be worthy of her. Also he lives with these 4 other guys who (because of reason) share a nice mansion in a nice part of town (The Woodlands) and host crazy parties that everyone wants to be invited to.

Right off the page Noah sounds kind of trope-y because not only is he an ex-Marine, an aspiring Mixed Martial Arts fighter...he’s using his GI benefits to get a finance degree--so he’s got the potential to be an MMA fighting ex-marine millionaire--but I think Frederick reigns the tropes in and he comes off more realistic.

I hate to say this about a heroine, but as a character nothing about Grace was particularly memorable. I liked that she had an ability to get along with everyone from her cousin’s sorority sisters to her brother’s football teammates without it turning into a slut shaming thing. Grace is a hobbyist. photographer and Frederick does some great competency porn. I do think Grace comes into her own later on in the book.

This is the first romance audiobook I've really liked. It is narrated by  Connor Kelly-Eiding, and  Adam Eiden. They work well together and are able to match each others tones and both manage to make Noah's Texan accent  non- cringe-wrothy. These two work together in Noelle August’s Bounce series, so I may check that out.

I’ve actually started the second book (SCRIBD 4EVA) and it is about Noah’s Marine buddy, Beau. This book seems to have some more interesting dynamics because the heroine was basically slut-shamed off campus. Also it wheels out ALL the diversity (literally in like one scene) that this book didn’t.

Side Note

There is also companion book The Charlotte Chronicles,  about Noah and Grace’s kids that I think is YA that I stared reading (No seriously...SCRIBD 4EVA !) was soooo weird seeing the characters as parents...but I’m into it.

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