The Marines made me a man, but Grace had made me human. No matter what I told her in my letters, she accepted it and wrote me back something funny or sweet. She made me realize I could have more if I wanted it. And I wanted more bad.
Grace Sullivan and Noah Jackson started out as pen pals. What began as a high school English project writing G.I.s in Afghanistan turned into a four-year long friendship. But when Noah sends Grace a Dear John letter telling her he just thinks of her as a younger sister he breaks her heart and sends her into a depression. Two years later Grace is attending college and she sees Noah everywhere she turns, even the cute guy at the library counter just might be him. What she doesn’t know is Noah has followed her all the way to college and is trying to find a way to get back into her good graces.
Undeclared tells the story of Noah and Grace. Each chapter starts off with a letter Noah sent to Grace during the time they spent corresponding. Before the story starts they have an established friendship, one where they think they’ve gotten to know each other. Grace is a young nineteen year old college student afraid of living life. She takes beautiful pictures, but is afraid of putting herself out there and entering into the fine arts program. She has had a few drunken make out sessions, but never any real relationship other than the long distance one with Noah. When he reenters her life and tries to win her back she doesn’t really know what to do. Is he going to break her heart again? Her best friend Lana thinks so. Does she even really know him at all? She thought she did, but Noah is so much more than she thought he was. After the military he’s at odds, trying to acclimate back into a regular life after four tours in Afghanistan. He wants to be worthy of her so he takes some time off to figure out how to make something of himself. Now he’s a smooth talking gentlemen, a finance major, living in a gated community with four other guys and fighting in the MMA to save money to invest in his own business. Now all he has to do is get the girl.
When I first read the blurb I liked the idea of pen pals turned to lovers. I also liked the idea of Noah being a soldier turned MMA fighter. It sounds exciting and angsty, but for some reason this story moved very slowly for me. The plot isn’t complicated, the whole book is about Noah trying to get Grace to let him back in and Grace deciding if she can trust him with her heart a second time. Grace is nineteen, but she’s a very inexperienced, naïve nineteen year old. She’s also very indecisive. I understood their taking it slow, I even understood her hesitancy to place any trust in him, but as the book dragged on I kept hoping they would move a little faster. Does that sound odd? I started to get frustrated toward the end with the decisions these two make. They were so blatantly stupid that it began to bother me. Noah bases his entire excuse on blowing Grace off two years earlier on the fact that he wanted to make himself better for her, yet he couldn’t understand Grace’s need to do the same. Grace isn’t willing to go to Vegas with Noah for his fight because she has to cover at work for a friend, that is until something with her photos comes up. Then she has no problem getting someone to cover for her. Because of these things this couple doesn’t consummate their relationship until almost 85% in. I was beyond ready by the time it finally happened. Beyond. Ready.
The very best part of this book is Noah’s letters to Grace at the beginning of every chapter. You really get to know his character while reading them, I kept thinking it would be nice to see Grace’s response to those letters. Maybe we could have gotten to know her a little better also. I think this could have built a better understanding of them as a couple from the beginning, and how their relationship grew and evolved over letter writing. I believe this is Ms. Frederick’s debut, and it was enjoyable, I would have liked it to be a little faster paced, but all in all I enjoyed the storyline. Bo’s story, Unspoken, is up next and I’ll be adding it to my TBR list. Final Grade: C
I was putting together the final piece of my overall plan. Get out of the Marines, get a degree, get Grace.
It was all going to work out fine. I pulled out my phone to text her, only to realize that I still hadn’t gotten her number.
Item number one. Get Grace’s number.