Book Review – Undecided by Julianna Keyes

by Maryse on May 15, 2016 · 38 comments

in My Book Reviews

I absolutely LOVED this fun book! It’s freaking fantastic and for all of the reasons that we once fell head-over-heels in love with “New Adult” books. It’s got the “new adult” college insecurities, but with the engaging, smart and witty, yet VERY human characters. The mistakes made in search of having a good time, the consequences dictating their current outlook, their pasts that they are trying to overcome (but in this case… nothing TOO dark – just… “stuff” ya know? Stuff that we have ALL contended with). But best of all, it’s the awesome connection between all of the characters (old friends and new…). Lots of merging going on, but in a very organic, realistic way.

It’s a recent release that was recommended by a few of our fellow readers here, and OMG were they ever right!

The new cover!

bev: …I do want to read Undecided by Julianna Keyes. Lots of positive reviews. NA.

MichelleS: Bev – do you mean Undecided, by Keyes? I read the first amazon review and that reviewer said it was her favorite NA book ever – better than Beautiful Disaster and The Deal…. them’s some powerful words right there, I tell ya’…… I may just take you up on that offer. Okay. When are we going in? Who else is with us?

bev: Finished. I really liked it, loved Crosbie.

Grace: Freaking loving Undecided! It’s got such delicious buildup! Which seems to only continue building. 54% in and enjoying every second of it.

Nadia: Loved this one !!

This is right up our alley my friends, and the minute I started reading it, I knew… this is on par with our favorites. To me? If you love Elle Kennedy’s “The Deal” and subsequent books in that series, you will love this one, too. It has that “feel” and that calibre of writing.

Maryse: Okay I just one-clicked Undecided. You guys have absolutely decided for me.

Amy: I’m going to squirrel to either Evil or Undecided. I’m undecided right now. *snort* Yeah, yeah, I know. That was bad. :P

Maryse: Undecided Amy!!!!! Let’s be Undecided together!!! :D

bev: Undecided was a really good, I read it in like a day.

Amy: …Maryse, we’ll be Undecided together! I’m starting it tonight. :D Michelle…you know, you could always join us. ;) And MichelleS is reading it as well right now. Come on, ya know ya wanna! We have yummy martinis in our Undecided tent. *peeks around for Maryse* Unless she flew the coop again… *snort*

MichelleS: I’m still reading Undecided & loving it. It is s really good NA book, I think that was the comparison, Bev, just the genre, not so much the plot. And sex scenes don’t do it for me so much anymore, but I didn’t skim this one… And I LOVE a slow build.

Cheryl: Finished Undecided- which I LOVED …. it had all the “feels” from the start, although I wanted MORE at the end

Maryse: I’m reading Undecided right now and I’m already loving it. Great writing style, and I hope we stay in Nora’s head the whole way through. OH PLEASE OH PLEASE let it be so!!!!

Cheryl: Maryse, it is all from Nora’s pov.

Maryse: *phew* Okay I can read in ease. I get to be one person the whole way through and stress and feel like she does. MY FAVORITE!!! :D

Fabi: Help. I don’t usually have this much trouble picking my next read. I seem to be on a nice romance roll so I should probably stay on that track for now.

Maryse: Fabi! Undecided – just the title alone should decide for you. And if you ask me, I’d say it has an “Elle Kennedy” feel to it (you know like… “The Deal”). The witty, easy-flow writing, and the inner dialogue. You’ll love her! VERY GOOD so far… let’s buddy read. Come on!!! Please??!

Amy: I am really, really, REALLY enjoying it. :D The banter, the h’s narration “voice” and her thoughts, Crosbie and Kellan’s interactions…it’s all FUN!! Even though I was a bit jarred by the name Kellan…there’s only one “Kellan” in my mind. ;) But the big “secret” from that could cause a big problem…*squeals and bites fist* Just say something already and get it over with!! (if it is what I think it is) Then again, if she DID say it then the story would be over that much quicker. Boo. OR it’s a totally different secret and YAY DRAMA!!!!

Fabi: I LOVE you ladies. Maryse! I’m only a few pages in but I swear I haven’t loved a book like this since The Deal. “…telling people I live with Kellan McVey is like telling them I live in a candy store or a bank vault…” I love her! Her internal dialogue is perfect. And his “foot in mouth” problem is hilarious . and…“…it’s a cardigan, not a chastity belt…” rotfl

Maryse: YAY!!!! I KNEW it, the minute I started… this was one of “those”. ;) Thank you to everyone that pointed it out to me (us). This was exactly what I was in the mood for.

Fabi: Yes, it has that BD, The Deal, etc. feel. Loving the snot out of it.

Amy: Fabi, right?? Her inner commentary is hilarious. This one for whatever reason made me snort out loud last night…“Paired with her bleached hair and signature red lipstick, she looks like a cross between a fifties movie star and a naughty schoolgirl who hates me.” The last three words of that line were so unexpected and it just hit me as funny.

Amy: Okay, it’s official…I’m absolutely loving Undecided. LOVING it. The feels…holy moly the feels. …This book, I swear…SO fun.

Amy: Oh sh!t…oh sh!t…oh SH!T!!!!! I just hopped off the couch and my iPad fell on the ground. Not kidding. True story and all that crap. I knew it was coming and I figured I wouldn’t react because I just KNEW it would happen, but…but…but…I’m attached to them now and just NOOOOOOOOO! I don’t want it to happen!! *falls on tummy and screams into pillow* Alright, I’m okay. I’m okay. Deep breath. Here goes. *picks up iPad and goes back to Undecided*

Michelle: You guys are always right :D really enjoying Undecided. Didn’t get too far since kept getting distracted yesterday but hope to finish today.

Rebecca: Read it today and LOVED it!!!

Amy: *sighs and cradles iPad to chest* THAT was perfect. So, so perfect. Honestly? No complaints from me about this one. Like, at all. And as far as the ending/epilogue goes, I personally don’t need a long, drawn-out ending or epilogue. Truth be told, I actually end up skimming those lovey-dovey, ewey-gooey epilogues, so this one? Yeah, it was perfect for me. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a book put me in a book-love fog like this. Gah, I’ve missed it. ;)

Maryse: Right there with you Amy. This is what I’m looking for, when I’m not looking to “tear my heart out”. ;) THIS.

So what’s it about?

Nora is in her second year of college, and while she was Miss “Studious-Don’t-Notice-Me-Please” in high school (and received a scholarship for her amazing focus), she lost her way in college. Meeting a sort of “bad-girl” best friend, the two partied hard (promiscuous behavior and all!), and got in some trouble (leading to an arrest!! Tee hee <— that story ends up being kind of cute!). But on the spot? Nora finds herself on a failing slope (losing half of her scholarship).

Year two of college equals buckling up. No more parties, dropping her best-friend (and roommate) Marcela from her roster, therefore having to find a new studious roommate, to tame down and study-study-study!

And she does. A new roommate she chats with for some time (all he wants is to be far from the college-party ways) because he too, is looking to buckle down (and demands NO distractions in the residence). No parties, no “hook-ups”, no temptations. A tranquil, studious environment is what they’re both looking for.

But when she finally meets him (not realizing exactly “who” she was talking to), not only does she realize he’s the most popular guy (and player) in college, but she’s hooked up with her potential “new roommate” herself!!! eek *gasp*

I recognize the voice of Kellan McVey, Crosbie’s best friend, campus stud, and my one-time drunken closet hookup. Oh f*ckity f*ck.

Yikes! And he doesn’t even recognizer her. DOUBLE YIKES!!

…his expression remains wholly pleasant, not a trace of recognition dawning on his handsome features. He has no idea who I am. Sure, I was wearing a shiny red corset and a leather mini-skirt during our… interlude at the Alpha Sigma Phi frat party last spring, but I’m wearing a cardigan now, not a mask.

He just doesn’t remember me.

However, the “roommate arrangements” are too good to refuse, (even though his best friend, Crosbie, is also a known college superstar-player, and always around) but she figures as long as she keeps her head down, and her nose in the books, the rest doesn’t matter.

I should leave. He lied to me, he has a stupid friend, and he doesn’t remember that we had sex. If I’d been having any doubts about the wisdom of that hookup, they were cemented forty-five minutes later when I spotted him getting a very public bl** job from a very willing blonde.

The mortification of that moment should be enough to send me running. And I swear I would, if only I hadn’t met with four other potential roommates yesterday and failed to click with any of them. And if only I didn’t need to move out of my cramped room in summer residence by the end of the week.

And he’s pretty thrilled that she’d be perfect as his roommate, ’cause… you know. She’s all “nerdy” and stuff:

He laughs a little then, and I realize it’s the idea of me partying that he finds amusing.

Ha ha, Kellan, it’s a freaking cardigan, not a chastity belt.

“Sorry,” he says, reading the irritation on my face. “I, uh… I just thought it would make things easier for me and my roommate if there was no… temptation. Like, you know. To complicate things.”

I try not to let my jaw drop. Did he just call me ugly? Or at the very least, un-tempting?

But you know… close proximity and all that. People become friends. And stuff. :P

OH EM GEE YOU GUYS!!! It’s SO much fun!! PLEASE PLEASE if you like these kinds of stories, THIS IS FOR YOU!

The writing, the whole “college-figuring-myself-out” sweet story telling, the super-steaminess, the slow build-up. Absolute perfection (to me). This is not insta-love, and the author does a GREAT job delightfully confusing us on the potential love-interest angle. It’s the whole “new adult” shebang, and I mean WHOLE ’cause the awesome story-flow, the writing, the funny moments,

His eyes are wide with shock and then they crinkle at the corners as he starts to laugh. I worm my way out of his grasp and flop onto the floor and start to laugh too.

Sh!t,” he gasps. “Nora, I’m so sorry.”

“This is what happens when people have fun!” I say, sticking a stern finger in the air. “Never again.”

the OH NO moments, the angsty stuff. It’s all there, and best of all? The realistic dialogue (amongst the characters – HILARIOUS!!! SO REAL as if I’m watching an awesome sitcom about friends, and soon-to-be friends), and especially the internal dialogue.

A soft tap on my bedroom door has my head whipping around like the girl in The Exorcist, and even though I planned to ignore him, I still call out, “What?”

“I ordered pizza.” His voice is muffled by the door, but he doesn’t turn the knob.

My stomach jumps joyfully at the news. Food! Sustenance! And then it sinks, because Crosbie and Kellan order in their fair share of pizza, and they load it up with ground beef, anchovies and olives, all of which I find revolting.

“I don’t want your disgusting pizza,” I mutter. “Thanks anyway.”

“It’s only half disgusting,” he replies. “The other half is boring.”

My stomach perks up again. We’ve had this discussion before: I like pepperoni and extra cheese, which Crosbie and Kellan unanimously declared the dullest pizza on earth.

I get up and pull open the door, making Crosbie jump back like he’s been zapped. I look around suspiciously. “Is there really pizza?”

“Yeah.” He points at the coffee table where a closed box awaits.

“Are you lying about the boring half?”

“I wish.”

Awwwwwww!!!  I love friends. LOL!!!! So sweeeeeeet and funny and endearing, and goofy. GAH I LOVED THIS BOOK!

We GET to be her the entire way through, so you get to worry, and pine along with her, without having a clue what anyone else is thinking. Fun private realizations, panic attacks, secrets, and drama-causing assumptions abound, and I empathized and thrilled, throughout.

…the quiet words bring me to a halt. There’s no vehemence there, no anger, only sadness. Exhaustion. As though being angry has left him wrung out and raw. I know the feeling.

*sniff sniff*

It’s SO GOOD you guys. I promise! Nothing too crazy, nothing too angsty, nothing really… eye-rolling, but everything in just enough quantities to make it SO good! Everything… and everybody.

5 stars of pure “new adult” satisfaction in every way!

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy May 15, 2016 at 9:51 PM

I’ve gushed so much already about loving this book, but I have to say one more time…

This book was GREAT!!! :D

bev May 15, 2016 at 10:04 PM

Awesome review Maryse.
It was just really really fun. It kind of surprised me as the others I’ve read, CR, are more serious. I really hope she revisits this world.
Oh, that scene after she was dressed up for the restaurant. *sigh*

Maryse May 15, 2016 at 10:36 PM

I know it, bev… ahhhhhhhh my heart!!!!!

Maryse May 15, 2016 at 10:38 PM

I agree Amy!!! I love when we get to read a book together that is of this caliber. There was no squirreling in sight… :P

Fabi May 16, 2016 at 1:15 AM

Fantastic review Maryse, as always.

Crosbie *goofy grin sigh*

Bev, and ladies, y’all realize we did a pretty big BR? That was awesome!

Maryse May 16, 2016 at 7:18 AM

And the one who chose it and started it was bev! YAY bev!!!!! LOL!!!

We ended up with YOUR buddy-read after all. No death book! hahahah!

bev May 16, 2016 at 7:47 AM

Cry babies for the win.

Kim l May 16, 2016 at 8:55 AM

I enjoyed this one too. Loved Crosbie.

Brenda DUNLOP May 16, 2016 at 8:59 AM

I found this book the BEST of her work so far and sure there’s more to come. Once I started reading it I couldn’t stop ,sure hope there’s more like it to come.

Jen May 16, 2016 at 1:36 PM

Thanks for the recommendation! I downloaded the sample started to read and didn’t get into so I deleted it. Saw your review and so I tried it again and loved it!5 stars! Sometimes you have to give a book another chance!

Maryse May 16, 2016 at 2:00 PM

YAY Jen!!!!!!! I’m thrilled you gave it another go. It was SO worth the read. :D

Maryse May 16, 2016 at 2:00 PM

LOL bev!!!!! :P

Maryse May 16, 2016 at 2:01 PM

Kim…. Crosbie was a heart-melter!

Amy May 16, 2016 at 7:13 PM

“Oh, that scene after she was dressed up for the restaurant.” <—– YES! Be still my heart. *puts back of hand to forehead and falls back on fainting couch*

Cheryl May 16, 2016 at 7:16 PM

Lved, loved, loved this one. Crosbie, Kellan, and Nora- the best!!!

MichelleS May 16, 2016 at 7:18 PM

Great review! Great book! Great recommendation, Bev… So glad we didn’t go with a “death book”… Lol. See? A big ole’ buddy read reminds me that we are really all a bunch of suckers for romance! Bev never lets me down! She always casually sticks them in her posts! Unless it’s WiR or Sherlock… Nothing subtle there!

MichelleS May 16, 2016 at 7:21 PM

Amy – what about that scene where “someone” walks in on the “candles & dinner”…. I was like “no no no no”…. i love the simple very REAL feel and plot. No one got kidnapped. Just normal stuff. Really nice for a change.

Maryse May 16, 2016 at 7:28 PM

LOL MichelleS!!!!!

Maryse May 16, 2016 at 7:28 PM

And agreed… I may love some of the crazy-angst and psycho-stuff… but this book proves I’m still into sweet, normal love. This one was SO real.

It’s all in the writing… and the storytelling.

Amy May 16, 2016 at 7:29 PM

OMG MichelleS, that’s exactly what I was thinking at that part!

“Oh no no no no no” while I was reading through my fingers. Like that was going to make it any easier to read that part, LOL!!

Amy May 16, 2016 at 7:30 PM

Yes, VERY real and believable and nothing over the top.

Hush up PG. Even *I* need “sweet, normal love” sometimes, too. :P

bev May 16, 2016 at 7:37 PM

MichelleS, Fabi said I’m not always vocal enough either, lol. I gave her an are you crazy look.

The votive candles, lol. He was so clueless.

Maryse May 16, 2016 at 7:46 PM

It was CUTE!!!!!

What a dork. I hearted him…

bev May 16, 2016 at 7:56 PM

He really was. Like when he was going to say Bros before…..
But that one scene when the one realized the difference with the “witch hunt.”

Amy May 16, 2016 at 8:21 PM

Yes, clueless is the perfect word for what he was at that part. And you know what? I was SO happy with how quickly that scene wrapped up after “someone” had to chase “someone else” down. I just loved them so much and didn’t want it to be long and drawn out. THIS time and in this story only. ;)

And oh yes…that realization about the witch hunt and that whole New Year’s Eve scene and…oh, just the whole damn book! :D

Maryse May 16, 2016 at 8:42 PM


Not fair… and I loved that it was realized.

And I was SO mad at the … er… umm… okay I can’t say.

‘Cause it’s a spoilerish, but Nate wasn’t the only one I was fuming at… you know… end-ish-wise.

You know. The whole bros thing.

Fabi May 16, 2016 at 8:58 PM

Grrrr Nate – and his gf – get a clue. Ugh

And so with you on the bros comment – kinda ticked me off -

Amy May 16, 2016 at 9:20 PM

I *think* I know what you’re talking about?

Are you talking about…um…what she was doing on a certain celebratory holiday?

Amy May 16, 2016 at 9:20 PM

Wow, can I be any more vague? :?

Fabi May 16, 2016 at 10:07 PM

yes and no ;-)

bev May 16, 2016 at 10:09 PM

Wait are you asking Fabi or Maryse?

Amy May 16, 2016 at 10:17 PM

Asking either/or. ;)

bev May 16, 2016 at 10:19 PM

The Bros comment? Yes after that stupid phone.

bev May 16, 2016 at 10:25 PM

LMAO. I’m confused over whatever we are talking about.
The Bros comment was after the stupid phone.
Or are we talking about fur coat, cause she didn’t make me angry, though she was clueless.
Like me right now.

bev May 16, 2016 at 10:26 PM

And now posting is confusing me, time for the pjs.

Maryse May 16, 2016 at 10:38 PM
bev May 16, 2016 at 10:59 PM


Amy May 16, 2016 at 11:09 PM


That was so fitting. ;)

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