by Melissa Marr
Published by: HarperCollins
Publication date: September 16th 2014
Genres: Southern Gothic, Young Adult
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.
This was didn’t-want-to-put-it-down-even-to-scoop-up-a-bowl-of-ice-cream good!
Made for You is a creepy look into the mind of a killer, but its look into life in the Good Ol’ South is just as chilling.
Eva Tilling is the top of the heap at Jessup High, due in large part to the fact that her family is practically local royalty. It certainly doesn’t hurt that she’s pretty either. She doesn’t dislike her life, exactly–in fact there’s parts she likes a whole lot–but she can’t help but feel as if other parts of it just don’t live up to the hype. Her best friend Grace is the truest friend she has had since her childhood bestie, Nate, publicly snubbed her a few years before. With Grace, an outspoken girl who just doesn’t care what Jessup thinks of her, Eva feels more herself than with any of the rest of the crowd she runs with. Even her boyfriend Robert feels more like a sort-of-friend-with-benefits than a guy she’s truly close to.
When Eva wakes up in the hospital, it never occurs to her that she might be the victim of a hit-and-run with intent. Who could want to hurt her? Almost as disturbing are the vivid visions she’s having when people touch her–visions of their death. Is it side effects of her brain injury, or something else?
As the body count increases, though–and Eva realizes that a few words to her friends will subtly change the visions she sees of their deaths–Eva discovers that her visions are real, and so is her stalker. Can she stop people she cares about from being killed? Will she uncover the stalker before it’s too late?
The different POVs in this novel were nicely done. We see events from Eva’s, Grace’s, and Eva’s stalker’s (AKA “Judge”, his “soul name”) point of view. Marr is very careful not to give away Judge’s identity in his scenes–by the time you have enough to figure it out, it’s being revealed. (I had it narrowed down to the group of people he was a part of, but guessed the wrong one up until just before the reveal, darn it!) Things move pretty quickly once the killer reveals himself, and the reader just has to hang on and keep turning the pages.
Up until that point, we see him justify his actions (“I would never drug a girl to get her naked. That’s wrong.” But supposedly-divinely-sanctioned murder is okay) and send Eva a series of “messages” just for her. Some are subtle–the meanings of flowers a laHamlet, for example, and a dead cicada–and others, not so much. They all are aimed at showing Eva that she and Judge are MFEO, to quote one of my favorite movies (made for each other).
Through Eva and Judge’s POV, we see that the social structure of Jessup High closely mirrors that of the town itself. Eva struggles with the burden of being “that Cooper-Tilling girl” and contemplates what will happen if she steps outside their rigid rules. Judge, on the other hand, appears to have been created in large part because of society’s rules and norms. An avid churchgoer, he believes that God is sending him messages and approves of his actions toward and “for” Eva. He reflects on things told to him by his grandmother (“failures don’t deserve happiness”) and father (“there are girls you **ck, and girls you marry, and it’s best not to confuse the two”) that clearly helped shape him into the (truly terrifying) guy he is today.
Eva’s romance with an old friend is a nice component of the story, as is his ability to make her see her beauty beyond the scars from the accident. Watching Eva and her parents become closer as the Judge drama continues was also a satisfying side plot.
All together this was a thoroughly enjoyable read. The pacing was good, the suspense taut, and the characters were believable. Sign me up for Ms. Marr’s next book, please!
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A-
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.