Make sure to check out the rest of the tour stops to see other reviews!
By Melissa Marr
Published on September 16th 2014
Published by HarperCollins
Source: Blog tour
Published by HarperCollins
Source: Blog tour
Bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely books Melissa Marr’s first contemporary YA novel is a twisted southern gothic tale of obsession, romance, and murder. A killer is obsessed with Eva Tilling. Can she stop him, or will he claim her?
When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.
For the first time, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr has applied her extraordinary talent to contemporary realism. Chilling twists, unrequited obsession, and high-stakes romance drive this Gothic, racy thriller—a story of small-town oppression and salvation. Melissa’s fans, and every YA reader, will find its wild ride enthralling.
I jumped at the chance to read Made for You whenever I heard about the blog tour. While I haven't read much of Marr's other work, I liked what I've seen, and I know Amanda's loved her stuff. So if there was anyone I would trust with a new contemporary/mystery YA story, it was Melissa Marr, and I absolutely wasn't disappointed.
The story does start off a bit slow as we are introduced to Eva and her friends. Eva is at the top of the social ladder, the daughter of a prominent family, so her world often revolves around having the right friends, being at the right party, dating the right boy, etc. Despite all that, though, she doesn't come off as your typical snobby rich girl. She's got a bit of attitude and is very aware of the way "society" works, but overall she was easy to like. The cast of supporting characters around her was equally great, especially Grace, Eva's best friend.
I loved trying to solve the mystery of who tried to kill Eva. I had a few guesses but I was definitely wrong, and it wasn't until the story pretty much gift-wraps the culprit that I actually clued into who had done it. I'm always glad to see that, honestly, because I hate feeling like I figured out the mystery before the characters did.
The sections involving "Judge", the person behind Eva's accident, are creepy as all get-out. This person is seriously, seriously disturbed. It's a little over the top, but, I don't know, those sections really worked for me, because you know how much danger Eva is in, even while she's still oblivious, and the creep-factor just keeps ratcheting up and up as the story goes on.
There is a paranormal element to the story in the way that Eva starts to see people's deaths which adds both an additional layer of creepy, as well as more urgency to the story. I do wish this element had been fleshed out a little more, particularly by the end of the story, but overall I liked it.
Also worth mentioning is the transformation of Eva's parents after the accident. Her parents were previously pretty distant, but started getting more involved in Eva's life, but not in a way that felt too cliche or overbearing. It was nice to see a character who didn't have a perfect relationship with her parents, but where the whole family was making the best of a bad situation and trying to become closer as a result of it. It would have been really easy to have Eva's parents be total non-entities, but Marr didn't take that route and I appreciated it.
I also really enjoyed the slow blossoming romance between Eva and Nate. They've been friends since they were little, so there's history there. Watching them renew their friendship first, and then have it blossom into something else, was a treat to read. And their budding relationship never overshadowed the main plotlines, or turn Eva into a totally different character or anything. This was maybe one of my favorite book relationships I've read in a long while.
There are some disturbing/mature elements to the story, including murder/attempted murder, sexual content, manipulation/coercion, alcohol use, kidnapping, etc., so this is best for older readers. (If the characters were out of high school, this would very easily be a New Adult book.) That said, I really recommend this book for anyone looking for a solidly creepy contemporary mystery.
Melissa lives in Virginia with her family. You can visit her online at www.melissamarrbooks.com or on Twitter (@melissa_marr), Tumblr, or Facebook.
We had the most excellent opportunity to ask Melissa some questions! Check out our interview:
Do you have any special writing habits or rituals? (For example, I used to eat Swedish Fish whenever I was writing. I'm sure my dentist loved me!)
Music. I have playlists for every book, sometimes for individual characters, and I have a few go-to lists for moods.
Keeping with the theme of our blog name, The Best Books Ever, I've got to ask: what is your absolute favorite book? (Any genre/age range/etc.)
I don’t do absolutes. There are books I recommend regularly and new discoveries in every category I read (which includes most categories), but I don’t like best/favourite. It’s a question I tend to fail.
You have written young adult, adult, and middle grade fiction (and I hear there is a picture book in the works too) that have all been successful. Some authors find transitioning from one type of an audience to another to be difficult, but you seem to do it effortlessly. When you began writing did you imagine that you would write in multiple genres and for a vast variety of audiences?
That’s very sweet of you! Unfortunately, it’s far from effortless. Sometimes I suspect I’m sabotaging myself terribly because I’m unable to stick to one genre or age group. I get ideas. I follow them. It’s really that simple. I never set out to be a “____ writer.” I don’t know that I can stick to just one thing. Sometimes I want to, but I tend to write what strikes me . . . which is also how I read. I’m as likely to read a MG book as a Regency romance, as New Adult, as classic lit, as mystery, etc. etc. I get on kicks, of course, where I devour one type of books, but then I switch.
It’s a mindset that doesn’t steer me towards sticking to one genre in writing either. I do, however, return to some more than others. Fantasy still comes to me the easiest, so I suspect that may be the closest to a genre that I can go: I will probably tend towards fantasy more often than other genres.
For some writers there is one book or author they can look back on and say, "That was the point that made me want to write books". Do you have a book or author that made that happen with you?
No. I’ve always wanted to write. I grew up in a family where storytelling was important, and I love reading. My plan for many years was to write my first book when I turned 40. Then my spouse deployed into a combat zone, and I ended up writing my first (the one that’s unpublished) in 2003 when I was 31, and immediately after that, I wrote Wicked Lovely. That’s my closest epiphany point: my husband was away, and I couldn’t sleep, so I wrote a couple books—even though it wasn’t on my schedule yet.
You have had so many successful books and short stories. Have you written anything unpublished that you deemed a complete failure or mistake?
I don’t believe in regrets. Everything we do leads us to where we are, so it all serves a purpose. I happen to love where I am in life, so all of those pieces are valuable because they sent me to NOW. I’ve written one novel that is unpublished. I have a few partials (one co-authored with a friend, one thriller, and one faery book) that aren’t quite market-ready, but they aren’t failures. They’ll either evolve, or they were exercises.