Unspoken by Jen Frederick
Series: Woodlands #2
Also in this series: Undeclared, Unraveled, Unraveled, Unrequited
Publication Date: September 16th 2013
Genres: Fiction, Romance, General, Contemporary, Coming of Age
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Whore. Slut. Typhoid Mary.
I’ve been called all these at Central College. One drunken night, one act of irresponsible behavior, and my reputation was ruined. Guys labeled me as easy and girls shied away. To cope, I stayed away from Central social life and away from Central men, so why is it that my new biology lab partner is so irresistible to me?
He’s everything I shouldn’t want. A former Marine involved in illegal fighting with a quick trigger temper and an easy smile for all the women. His fists aren’t the danger to me, though, it’s his charm. He’s sliding his way into my heart and I’m afraid that he’s going to be the one to break me.
Impulsive. Unthinking. Hot tempered.
I allow instinct to rule my behavior. If it feels good, do it, has been my motto because if I spend too much time thinking, I’ll begin to remember exactly where I came from. At Central College, I’ve got fighting and I’ve got women and I thought I was satisfied until I met her.
She’s everything I didn’t realize I wanted and the more time I spend with her, the more I want her. But she’s been hurt too much in the past and I don’t want to be the one to break her. I know I should walk away, but I just can’t.
This is the second book in Frederick’s Woodlands series. I had some problems with Undeclared, the first book, that I feel were cleared up in this book. Though it isn’t perfect, it was a solid read with emotionally compelling characters.
AnneMarie (AM) had a fun first few months at college. Then she had sex with the wrong boy and turned down an even worse one, and her life has been hell ever since. Central College is smaller than many high schools, which means the same kind of ridiculous cliques and dramas exist there. She expected a different experience when she signed up for the school. Now she lives off campus and mostly keeps to herself or her best friends, to keep from being harassed by the lacrosse team.
When Bo signs them up as partners in science, she’s leery of him. He has a bad reputation and she isn’t interested in being harassed by someone new. But Bo isn’t what she expected. He’s kind, compassionate and caring. All her preconceived notions are blown out of the water the more time they spend together. Lucky for her he isn’t looking for a relationship, because she won’t settle for less and Bo isn’t good for her heart.
Bo has been kind of skating by since he left the Marine Corps. He followed his best friend Noah to college, but he gets his kicks in the underground fights he participates in. He doesn’t generally do relationships, but the more time he spends with AM, the more he rethinks his stance on them. She’s independent and fierce..and just a little bit broken. Which means they have a lot more in common than she thinks.
These two are…pretty freaking awesome. I loved how they each found something in the other they didn’t even realize they were missing. Bo struggles with a fear he’ll turn abusive like his alcoholic father. AM calms him and brings forth a protective streak he didn’t realize he had. Bo is refreshingly light-hearted most of the time. He had his dark, broody moments, but his interactions with AM were mostly light-hearted and sweet. They had a great rapport and their sarcastic and witty responses to each other spoke to me on a level we probably shouldn’t discuss.
There’s no doubt AM was damaged by what happened to her. More because she felt like she couldn’t trust her judgement, I think, than the actual experience (though the way she was treated by the lacrosse team was pretty horrible). Still, I had to admire her for working hard to get over it. I really like how Frederick dealt with the issue of AM being bullied. She really came into her own as the novel progressed and I like how the situation was dealt with at the end.
Frederick built a college setting that was believable and easy to imagine. I felt like I was there with AM and Bo. I did struggle with how juvenile the actions of the students were, though. At times it felt more like high school than college.
The real draw here, despite the great world-building, is the relationship between AM and Bo. The friendship they developed was solid, which made their fall into love so much sweeter. They faced their demons together, but grew individually. I loved them.
4.5 out of 5