Ever since I finished Undecided by Julianna Keyes last summer, I’ve been anxiously waiting for Kellan’s book. When Julianna Keyes started writing on her FB page about her writing process for this book, well, it made me even more excited! (I definitely recommend those posts by the way. They are a fun behind-the-scenes development of a book.) I was wondering how Kellan would be redeemed because in the first book, while he seems like a nice enough guy, he was pretty wild and committed to not settling down.
Summer is coming to an end Kellan is back in his hometown for a short time. While visiting the local pool, he sees his neighbor and childhood best friend, Andi Walsh. She also happens to be the women who he lost his virginity with. It almost seemed like something might be developing between them when all of a sudden, Andi stopped speaking to him. Kellan was hurt but didn’t know how to make an overture to her to ask for forgiveness. He left and went to college in Oregon, while Andi was stuck in their small hometown.
Finally, Kellan is getting the chance to talk with Andi again, to maybe make things right between them. But somehow, even after a shared moment before Kellan leaves for his third year at Burnham, things don’t seem quite right. Kellan has quite a few unresolved feelings and when he sees Andi on campus, those feelings loom large in his mind.
Andi accepted a volleyball scholarship to Burnham but did not tell Kellan. He cannot believe how bad things between them truly are if Andi cannot even tell him that she is now going to the same school. And when she tells Kellan that what she wants is the same thing he wanted his first year, a chance to be someone new, to live and experience different things, well, Kellan is a bit jealous. Andi has always been his in some way.
As the school year gets underway, Kellan has some hard truths to face about what he wants for his future (including how he can avoid his annoying school counselor, Bertrand), what he wants with Andi, and if he can reconcile the playboy college guy of the past two years with who he truly is.
I really was not sure what my reaction to Kellan would be as the story started. I didn’t dislike him in the first book but I am also a bit over the big man on campus college storyline, so I was very pleased that Undeclared did not veer in that direction. It is in fact quite clear in the other direction as Kellan does a hard examination of his own life. Kellan matures throughout the course of the book. It’s a gradual thing so you won’t be surprised by some of the dumb things he does initially but I really liked that he was trying to be someone he himself would like.
The story is told solely through Kellan’s point of view but I didn’t find that to be a detraction in terms of understanding Andi. She’s always been the tomboy, the second-class person compared to Kellan’s star persona. She wants something different and she deserves something different. Even Kellan recognizes that. I think it was difficult for him to accept that at first though because Andi has always been so much his, the champion of his life. It is superbly selfish of him but then, he’s a twenty-one year old and I accepted that he would still have some selfishness about him.
I really liked Andi. Despite her athletic ways, I connected to her quieter personality, her need for deep connections with those closest to her, and her need to make a life for herself outside of her hometown. I also thoroughly approved of an action she took late in the book. I mentally gave a fist pump in fact. I think in the beginning she was perhaps too easy on Kellan but she wised up quickly and was able to convey that his treatment of her better improve, NOW, or there would not even be a friendship to salvage.
Undeclared is another shining effort from Julianna Keyes. I loved seeing Nora and Crosbie again (he’s still up to his illusions!) but I fully loved getting to know Kellan better. There is a lot of depth and heart to him, if only he isn’t afraid to show it. I’d hate for Julianna Keyes to give up writing contemporary romance but man oh man, there is no doubt in my mind that she has really mastered New Adult. I just plain love her books and Undeclared joins that list.
Undeclared is available today!
ARC provided by author.