Monday, February 27, 2017

Undeclared by Julianna Keyes - Review

Kellan McVey is Burnham College’s most prolific athlete, partier, and ladies’ man—and that’s just how he likes it. Returning to reign for his third year, he wants nothing to change. Then Andrea Walsh shows up.

It wasn’t too long ago that Andi and Kellan were lifelong friends, mortal enemies, and, for one hot summer, more. Then Kellan left and Andi stayed behind.

Kellan thought he’d moved past that last summer’s heartbreak, but with Andi sitting next to him in class, befriending his friends, and battling for the same once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity, he’s starting to remember why he hated her…and why he loved her.

Kellan has a long list of reasons that falling for Andi again is a terrible idea, though every new moment together challenges that theory. But Andi’s all too familiar with Kellan’s love ’em and leave ’em approach—and she’s found someone else to get serious about.

Burnham’s campus king has never had to fight for a girl, but if he wants Andi to give him another chance, he’ll have to do the one thing he’s never had the nerve to do: admit it.

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The first book in this series, Undecided, was an incredible find. I fell in love with the characters and Julianna's writing and I was so excited to see the sequel on NetGalley! Undeclared, while having a different tone and pace than Undecided, did not disappoint.

I liked Kellan a lot in the first book, and for a good portion of it was actually hoping that he and Nora might kick it off instead of her and Crosby (this view-point changed, obviously. Nora and Crosby are adorable). I was so excited to follow Kellan and see how he faired in his journey to become a more mature, responsible guy. There are a lot of new adult books that play with this idea of changing your image and trying to remake yourself, but I think that Julianna did a particularly good job with Kellan in this book. I loved that he still remained himself while also trying to right his wrongs (all of the bathroom scenes are HILARIOUS). I loved that while his relationship to his childhood best friend, Andi, gave him the motivation to make these changes while not overtaking his own personal journey. I also liked the fact that the narrator being a guy didn't affect my enjoyment while reading, which sometimes happens when I'm reading a contemporary male character. All the characters in this series, down to even Jackie...ahem...Jazzy, are so unique and shine on their own while also building Kellan and Andi's characters.

This book has two main themes, for me, one being Kellan's personal goal to remake himself and the other being Kellan and Andi finally discussing the status of their relationship, romantic or otherwise. I think that the balance between Kellan figuring out what kind of person he wants to be and his romantic tension with Andi is great. Their story never seemed too unrealistic, never too romantic or too platonic. It actually felt pretty strained and awkward most of the time, which I appreciated because I don't think it would've worked any other way. The situations seemed realistic, even in the most romantic, awkward, or absurd of times. There were times where I thought the pacing lagged a little bit and Kellan and Andi's time together seemed prolonged or didn't move along the plot. However, the story as a whole was great and includes all of your favorite characters from Undecided.

Julianna's books read like the best kind of romantic comedy - funny, dramatic, and full of heart - and I found it thorougly enjoyable. If you like hilarious, character driven stories filled with plenty of swearing and sexy times, I highly recommend this series.
* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review *
Find out more about Julianna and her books here: http://www.juliannakeyes.com/about-us.html

Julianna Keyes is a Canadian writer who has lived on both coasts and several places in between. She's been skydiving, bungee jumping and white water rafting, but nothing thrills - or terrifies - her as much as the blank page. She loves Chinese food, foreign languages, baseball and television, not necessarily in that order, and will go to her grave swearing that "ain't" is not a word. She has volunteered in Zambia, taught English in China, and dreams of seeing pink dolphins in the Amazon. It'll happen.

Happy Reading!

Jasmine

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