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Monday, February 27, 2017

*Grabby Hands* Release & Review - Undeclared (Burnham College #2) by Julianna Keyes

Image and blurb from Goodreads
Title: Undeclared
(Burnham College #2)
Author: Julianna Keyes
Publication Date: February 27th, 2017
Age Category/Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
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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4 “Player, Friends, Lists & Love” Stars

ARC provided by the author

Thank you!!

I just want to put it out there that while I’m not a fan of shirtless people on book covers, this one looks really beautiful. I like what the cover artist did here—it’s tasteful, romantic and sexy at the same time. *insert heart eyes emoji*

You know what else deserves a heart eyes emoji? This story. Damn, I really enjoyed this.

This is my second Julianna Keyes’ book and it definitely won’t be my last. I guess I can’t really say it was as stellar as her first book (which I absolutely LOVED), but Undeclared still kept me hooked from beginning to end.

I met Kellan last year when I read Undecidedand dude won me over then. Kellan was exactly who he needed to be for the friendship triangle to work in Undecided, but it’s in Undeclared that he has his chance to shine.

I’ll warn you from the start that Kellan isn’t the easiest character to fall for. He’s flawed, like really, really flawed, and sometimes he says things that make you go: “Dude, no. Just no.” But the thing with Kellan is that he still manages to be likable no matter what. At least that’s how I felt about him.

Flawed characters like Kellan can either work or go down in flames. Thankfully, it worked for me here. I enjoyed the emotional ride as I went from wanting to strangle him at times to wanting to hug him. Why all that? Because Kellan makes falling in love harder than it already is.

Here we have the former Romeo who couldn’t keep it in his pants trying to build a new life. Kellan 2.0, a guy who’s trying to be a better person, and by that he means trying not to fall in bed with any willing girl in the perimeter. A task that turns near impossible when the girl who broke his heart in the first place comes back into the picture.

See, Kellan had a “friends with benefits” relationship with this closest girl friend/nemesis, Andi. The night before he had to leave for college, Andi stopped talking to him. So he left without asking for an explanation as to why she was mad. Typical Kellan as you’ll soon learn. Dude avoids dealing with his and other people’s feelings for as long as possible. Anyway, Andi’s dismissal breaks his heart, so when he gets to Burnham, he starts sleeping around to forget the pain. That’s how he turns into the Kellan we met in Undecided. But something happens during the first book and Kellan decides to start his third year as a new man, and leave his past where it belongs. Except his past is coming to his present, because Andi is attending Burnham this year.

We have Kellan and Andi thrown together as they try to figure out a way to deal with each other and the feelings (good and bad) that are still very much alive.

Since this is told only from Kellan’s POV (more about that soon), his was the biggest arc. Which means I got one theme from this: Kellan learning how to be a grown up. It almost felt like a coming of age story with Kellan going from the “boy who slept around” to the “man who figured out he could deal with his feelings in a more productive/adult way”. Some people might have a problem with this because it means you get to watch Kellan make some pretty silly choices for a while, but, like I said before, I liked watching this flawed character grow. This is probably the result of my affection for him since the previous books—people who didn’t like Kellan then might have a harder time warming up to him. I didn’t. I was rooting for him. I wanted him to learn how to approach Andi and talk about the things that happened in the past. I wanted him to realize Andi was the woman for him. I wanted him to be less afraid of taking a chance and falling in love again. It isn’t a spoiler when I say I got what I wanted in the end, and I enjoyed watching him get there.

Despite liking how the story progressed, I missed having a more powerful presence on Andi’s part. I wish we had had a few chapters in her POV so we could get to know her better, because Andi was a likable and interesting on her own. I liked how she wasn’t the typical girly-girl and how she was unafraid to put Kellan in his place. I wish we’d seen more of her.

But getting chapters only from Kellan means we got to see more of the people in his life. We got a few scenes with Crosby and Nora (YAY!!!) and the other guys. I can’t say I got enough of Crosby, Nora and Kellan, though. There was something different about their dynamic as a trio, and I preferred the way they interacted in the first book. Having said that, I loved when all the boys were together. I thought they were fun and brought a much lighter tone to the book. And then we have Marcela. She’s just hilarious and all her desperate attempts to get Kellan to help her make her crush jealous made me laugh. I loved every scene between Marcela and Kellan, and how he came to see her as a friend in the end.

So, for me, Undeclared was a great sequel to an amazing debut, and I’m definitely interested in reading more stories from this author.
*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

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