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Friday, April 15, 2016

*Grabby Hands* Release & Review - Undecided by Julianna Keyes

Image and blurb from Goodreads

Title: Undecided
Author: Julianna Keyes
Publication Date: April 4th, 2016
Category/Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Nora Kincaid has one goal for her second year of college: be invisible. Last year’s all-party-no-study strategy resulted in three failed classes and two criminal charges, and if she messes up again she’ll lose her scholarship. But there’s one problem with her plan for invisibility, and his name is Crosbie Lucas: infamous party king, general hellraiser…and her new roommate’s best friend.

Crosbie’s reckless reputation and well-known sexcapades aren’t part of Nora’s studious new strategy, but as she’s quickly learning, her new plan is also really boring. When Crosbie’s unexpected gestures of friendship pull her head out of her books long enough to see past his cocky veneer, she’s surprised to find a flawed and funny guy beneath it all. The muscles don’t hurt, either.

But as Nora starts to fall for Crosbie, the weight of one of last year’s bad decisions grows even heavier. Because three failing grades and two misdemeanors are nothing compared to the one big secret she’s hiding…

Pre-Order: Amazon 

I would:
  • Befriend: Nora
  • Go out on a date & kiss: Kellan
  • Take to a desert island and leave behind: Celestia
  • Travel to Vegas and let Elvis Presley marry us: Crosbie

If I turned on the TV, I'd find Nora, Crosbie and their friends on:
  • Greek (I miss this show!)

If I took them out, we'd go to a/an:
  • Frat party, then grab some brownies on our way home to play video game.

Started: April 13th
Finished: April 13th

4.5 “Friendship triangle” Stars

ARC via NetGalley

Thank you, Julianna Keyes!

The moment you look at the cover and read the blurb for “Undecided”, the words “love triangle” will pop in your head. If you’re like me and don’t mind it, it won’t keep you from buying the book. But if you simply can’t stand that famous trope, you risk turning down one of the coolest, sweetest and hottest NA romances out there. And you’ll do it for no valid reason because, contrary to what the cover might indicate, “Undecided” doesn’t feature a triangle.

Not a love one, at least.

Maybe a friendship triangle.

Wanna know what else you’ll find here? Old tropes that feel fresh because of great writing and great character development.

Our MC, Nora is starting her second year in college with a new plan that can be basically summed up in one idea: forget last year happened and be responsible. That’s the first little spin on the “good girl meets bad boy” typical NA story, because our good girl isn’t that good/pure. She has a past, a recent one that involves drinking a lot, sleeping with random guys at frat parties and failing two of her classes. Oh, don’t forget getting arrested in the process. These are all things Nora, an extremely likable character, swears she won’t do again. This new year will be all about responsible choices, good grades and great behavior. First step is finding an apartment off campus, where she can avoid temptation (a.k.a parties). Good thing she’s found the perfect roommate.

At least that’s what she believes until she stops by the apartment and the guy opens the door – or better yet, his best friend does.

Kellan (the roommate) and Crosbie (his best friend) are two of the hottest guys on campus, and they’re known for their “love-em-and-leave-em" attitude. Nora is no stranger to that since *gasp* she hooked up with Keelan once. Not that he remembers her.

*double gasps*

That’s the story of Nora’s life – being invisible.

Like I said before, Nora in all her “I’m either hot or cold” glory quickly won me over. She was extremely easy to relate and like. I thought she was mature even in her immaturity and, unlike many of the MCs in this same category and genre, she didn’t play the innocent card. She knew she was capable of screwing up big time, but she chose to get her life in order and do everything she could to have a better future. Was it extreme? Sure, and it’s one of the things I liked most about her, because it showed me she’s flawed (and a bit like me. I also have a tough time finding the “gray” areas in life). Did it also show she was a mature college student? Yep. Not easy to quit drinking and partying when everyone around you is doing the same, and when you were going hard at it just a couple months earlier.

Most of all, I liked how Nora’s rebel attitude also showed her vulnerable side. All that hard partying was as much a way to make up for all the lost years as it was to get herself seen. She was invisible as a goody two shoes in high school, but drinking and acting like everyone else didn’t make her stand out in college. The fact that the guy who slept with her didn't even remember her face later was more than enough to prove that point.

How can you not relate to that, huh? In the world we live today, I think it’s pretty easy to feel invisible. Just another crazy person. Just another working body/mind. It definitely isn’t easy to feel special.

Lucky for her, Crosbie is there to show Nora that while a lot of other people might not see her, he does. And oh, boy, he does it well.

Crosbie is another character who, despite being the “hot player”, doesn’t exactly fit the role. Yes, he slept around and he was extremely sexy. Yes, girls threw themselves at his feet. And, yes, he changed a bit when he met Nora. But everything happened in way that felt different. Fresh. Delicate, even. It’s hard to explain it without giving away spoilers, but Crosbie didn’t read like just another bad boy. Just like Nora wasn’t simplu another good girl.

Their romance? It wasn’t just like any other. I loved how they went from strangers to friends to more. I loved how Crosbie’s insecurities played a huge role on the way their relationship developed, and how Nora got over her fear because she saw he was worth the risks. They were adorable (and HOT) together.

So, where does this leave Kellan, right?

If you’re expecting Nora to fall in love with both guys, lead them on or get into this super messy situation where she destroys their friendship so she can choose one of them in the end, you better think again.

Like I said, this is a friendship triangle story and that’s where Kellan enters. He’s an important character to the story. He’s Crosbie’s best friend and Nora’s roommate and former one-night stand. Watching Kellan and Nora’s friendship grow was a pleasure, and while there were moments that hinted at a possible romance, they didn’t last long enough to annoy the “love triangle” haters. It became clear early on that Crosbie was the love interest and Kellan was the sidekick (ha! *inside joke moment* You’ll understand when you read it).

The truth is, I enjoyed every scene with the three of them because it was like watching the growth of a friendship that was meant to last. There were some pretty adorable moments between Nora & Kellan, Kellan & Crosbie, and obviously the three of them together.

If you’re undecided about picking up that title (see what I did there?) because of the threat of a love triangle, don’t be silly! You’ll get to meet a great, strong MC, fall in love with a hot and sweet guy, and become a part of a friendship triangle that will make you laugh. What else could you want?

Maybe a sequel with Kellan’s story, right? Yep. I want that too.

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